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As a big Basketball fan growing up in the 90s I was interested in seeing this film with the great Michael Jordan in and as a big fan of R&B I was pleasantly surprised by some of the great tracks on the album. I remember buying the soundtrack in Games Exchange a few years ago and for the next few months it was firmly amongst my most listened to CDs. Looking back on the album now here is my review of the soundtrack, How do things stack up now?
1.) Fly Like an Eagle - Seal
This is a fine track to open the album with, It's a very well recorded track which has some funky guitar licks and some excellent drums with a real punch. Seal's distinctive vocals shine on this one as he sings with emotion. The track was originally recorded by the songwriter Steve Miller but Seal's version for me is the best version. It's an excellent track which is a terrific recording. When you think of Michael Jordan dunking you think of him flying so this is an apt song.
2.) The Winner - Coolio
Coolio would later release the classic "Gangsta's Paradise" but it was with tracks like this particular release that he developed a fan base to build on. It's a catchy almost soulful track which has a much more chilled sound than what he'd later be known for. This is a flowing up tempo track with relaxed beats and some nice hooks. There's a Curtis Mayfield influence here which works pretty well. Coolio's fluid rap vocals are well performed too.
3.) Space Jam - Quad City Dj's
You may not be familiar with this artist and to be honest this is the only track I really know from them. It's a fast paced track with some catchy hooks and beats and the rapid fire vocal melodies work well. This is the kind of track that would go down well with some cheerleaders on the court in between timeouts. It's not the most sophisticated track but works well as a catchy and energetic track which is designed to motivate and get people up dancing. It certainly might do that.
4.) I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly
This is undoubtedly the iconic track of the album, It's a classic ballad about believing in yourself. R Kelly's vocals are excellent and the Gospel choir adds a fine touch. As a fan of R Kelly this is one of my favourite songs from him and it is a hugely popular track. I love everything about this wonderful track. It builds perfectly and the vocals from R Kelly are amongst the best he's ever done. This is one of my favourite songs of all time.
5.) Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem) - B Real
This track was the Monstars Anthem. It features Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Ll Cool J & Method Man but is a B Real track. It's a catchy hip hop joint with some fluid rap vocals and some catchy beats. The Monstars were the team that Michael Jordan et al played against in the movie. This is not one of the best tracks on the album but there are tracks which are worse than this one.
6.) I Found My Smile Again - D'Angelo
I'm a big fan of D'Angelo and whilst he hasn't released much he still has some great tracks which still stand the test of time. This is a dreamy neo soul moment which opens with gentle keys and guitar then the beats kick in. The sound is reminiscent of the start of a live performance. The track then develops with a new jack swing like beat and D'Angelo's smooth vocals come in with a fine sound.
7.) For You I Will - Monica
If Monica is most famous for her duet with Brandy "The Boy Is Mine" then this must be her second most well known track. This is another excellent ballad, It's about what you will do for someone you love. Her vocals are heartfelt and the music adds a lovely touch with some punchy beats and some nice keys and strings. I really like the way the song develops and the punch of the drums really give a nice touch too. Monica's vocals are amongst the best of her career here. It's another fine Diane Warren penned ballad.
8.) Upside Down (Round-N-Round) - Salt-N-Pepa
This is not one of their most well known tracks but Salt-N-Pepa provide an example of their female hip hop with some catchy beats and hooks. They combine fairly well vocally and the chorus is catchy and adds something to the track. For me the track is slightly lacking in something extra though which lowers the overall quality of the track. It doesn't stand out alongside the best tracks on this collection.
9.) Givin' U All That I've Got - The Robins
This is a catchy track which has a fairly dated mid nineties feel. It's a club track with some catchy keyboard tones and hooks. The female vocals are fairly well performed but are bettered by the backing vocalists. It's not a memorable track and works for a shade over four minutes but it's not a track that would be a favourite as it doesn't have that something extra. Not bad but could have been a lot better and more memorable.
10.) Basketball Jones - Barry White
This is an interesting collaboration indeed. The falsetto of Chris Rock and the Bass vocal of Barry White. White's relaxed vocals are joined by the excited, stunned vocals of Rock. The track is about the love of Basketball. Somehow this track kind of works. The lovely female backing vocals really add a nice touch to the song and the shuffling soulful music works well throughout. Once you get away from the novelty of the track you might just get it.
11.) I Turn to You - All-4-One
This was recorded before the Christina Aguilera version that received more airplay. I love both versions. The All-4-One version is slower and smoother. The vocals are particularly heartfelt. I remember making a cdr of tracks and including this one before the days of MP3 Players. The track shows the opposite side of the Monica track with the way you are treated by your partner and how you can get through anything with them by your side. It's a lovely ballad. It's another Diane Warren penned classic.
12.) All of My Days - R. Kelly
This is a collaboration with Jay-Z which opens with him on rap vocals. R Kelly joins later with a relaxed vocal but not before Changing Faces appear with a nice relaxed female vocal. This is a nice collaboration that works well alongside the other tracks on the album. It's a chilled slice of Hip Hop which may bring a new audience to the style.
13.) That's the Way (I Like It) - Spin Doctors
This track opens with a Michael Jackson like vocal effect and you soon hear that the song is indeed a cover of the original from KC & The Sunshine Band. The catchy beats and catchy guitar licks combine well with the vocals. This is a surprisingly good cover version which is a real toe tapper and gets you up on your feet with it's dynamic sound and catchy feel. It's a well put together collaboration too. Good stuff.
14.) Buggin' - Bugs Bunny
Yes that does say Bugs Bunny. The track opens with Elmer Fudd looking for "Wabbits" Bugs comes in with a surprisingly well performed rap vocal. Bugs raps about the signing of Michael Jordan and the task in hand when they have to play the Monstars. If you take this track with a pinch of salt you may just be surprised that it is fairly decent. Just have a listen and make your own judgement.
There are three or four classics on this album which I still love fifteen+ years on and the other tracks are serviceable enough that they don't affect the overall score too much. The best tracks on the album are undoubtedly "I Believe I Can Fly", "For you I will" & of course "I turn to you" with "Fly like an eagle" arguably the next best track. This may not be an altogether serious soundtrack but the serious tracks more than make up for a few novelty tracks. Give it a listen and see what you think.
Space Jam came out back in 1996. It was hardly a classic but I really enjoyed some of the music on here. I think this is one of the only Soundtracks I've ever bought. There are some really good tracks on here I as I listen to this for the first time in ten years I realise its actually quite good. So here is my little review of the album and what I think of each song.
1. Seal - Fly Like An Eagle - A really funky little intro to this song starts us off. Then Seal starts singing. This is not a great song really, some nice vocals from Seal give it some class but the lyrics are pretty ordinary and it lacks any real class. 3/5
2. Coolio - The Winner - Remember Coolio? What a guy, and what awesome hair! This is a pretty funky little song, a nice little riff and a cheerful beat. The lyrics are good and Coolio is excellent on vocals. A good song. 4/5
3. Quad City DJs - Space Jam - A strange song this one. Just some poor music and bad rap! The lyrics are lousy and the sound is just rubbish. 2/5
4. R Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly - This song needs no intro! Its a real classic. R Kelly's biggest song by a distance. Its beautiful, great lyrics, magical sound and a real pure feeling. I must admit I ended up hating this as it got played so much, but listening to it again now I can see that it's a really good song. 5/5
5. B Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J & Method Man - What a line up! They do the song justice, this has a really dirty sound to it! Good lyrics that fit the film well and a great sound. Some quality vocals on this one and a great song. 5/5
6. D'Angelo - I Found My Smile Again - A really soulful song. Got to be honest, I hate this one! Not my style of music and its just trash. The vocals are weak and the lyrics lack and style. 2/5
7. Monica - For You I Will - I slow soft song. I used to really like this one. The lyrics are pretty naff but the vocals are excellent. A nice song that has some great sounds in it. 4/5
8. Salt-N-Pepa - Upside Down - A class little song. Some nice vocals and a strong sound. Its not really my style of music but I can see its a good song. 3/5
9. Robin S - Givin U All That I've Got - A dance song. Not one I'm to keen on, the rhythm is weak and the vocals irritate me. The words are not great and it just sounds pretty weak overall. 2/5
10. Barry White & Chris Rock - Basketball Jones - Pure class! Its Barry White with Chris Rock talking in the background. There are some really funny bits in this one that crack me up. Michael Jordan also appears in this one. The music is nothing special but Chris Rock just makes this song class! 5/5
11. All-4-One - I Turn To You -Another slow soppy one. Not a classic, some nice vocals but the lyrics are pretty drab. The music is very ordinary and feels very manufactured. Not a classic. 3/5
12. R Kelly feat Changing Faces & Jay Z - All Of My Days - Jay Z makes this a decent song but to be honest there is not much to rave about on this one. Some decent lyrics but I don't really like the music. 3/5
13. Spin Doctors feat Biz Markle - Thats The Way I Like It - They cover a classic here but don't really do it justice. Some awful vocals and some pretty bad music. Not a great effort. 2/5
14. Bugs Bunny - Buggin' - A fun little song to finish off the album. This is a rap featuring a few funny characters. Its pretty poor to be honest but its a bit of fun. 2/5
Overall a pretty decent album. There are some really good songs on here and some instant classics. There are also some shockers to be honest but for what it is its a decent listen. Not one I would say dash out and buy but worth a listen for the memories.
I have had this album for many years now, since the film first came out back in the 90s. It's a very well constructed album, despite it needing to follow the music used in the film. It has a nice combo of slower and soulful tracks, as well as some heavier, faster and more intense rap sounds. There's also a little bit of comedy injected into it.
Space Jam is a film that is part cartoon, part real world in its filming, as basketball star Michael Jordan must team up with a bunch of Looney Toons to face the Monstars team trying to capture the Toons for their amusement park.
The music reflects the mood, as everything is rather hip and cool, and the basketball theme comes into it a lot. In fact, the whole film is based around the sport, and the music actually references it the whole way through. Seal kicks us off with Fly Like An Eagle, a soothing soft paced track from the artist, which sort of indicates the levels to which MJ wants his team to reach - the feeling and effects of actually flyinf out there on the court.
The title track, Space Jam, is a funky beat, one of my favourites on the album, and gets you wanting to get up and dance. There's a bit of rap, a bit of song and a lot of jam in the track, and it paves the way for R Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly, again referring to the feats MJ wants them to achieve. However, I didn't really like this track, didn't like it in the charts and I suppose this affects how I see it in the film. I like the soothing horns and strings it has when used within the film, but not so much a fan of the actual track itself.
Hit 'Em High is the Monstars theme song, and it features an awesome lineup of rappers in this hard hitting track with awesome lyrics, and indeed, it's the lyrics that attract me, as they couple with the beat perfectly. This track has some build up to it, with B-Real and LL Cool J's parts more soothing as Coolio, Method Man and Busta Rhymes hit us with some harsh and intense lyrics, pushing the track on us almost. It's brilliant.
D'Angelo and Monica give us a couple of more soothing and relaxing tracks with I Found My Smile Again and For You I Will respectively, and the comedic elements of Chris Rock and Barry White in Basketball Jones made me chuckle. This is also a soothing track. The remainder of the tracks just seem like fillers to me. They are, however, all star fillers, with All-4-One, Jay Z, Salt'n'Pepa and Robin S all showcasing their talents, albeit in subtle and less commercial ways than a lot of us have experienced. The Spin Doctors give us a good rendition of That's The Way I Like It, and the soundtrack finishes with the Looney Toons themselves giving us a boppy track in Buggin', which focuses mainly on Bugs Bunny.
Overall, it's a well constructed album, mixing the tracks up very well and providing an album that would probably have done well without a film attached to it. A lot of soundtracks often have the majority of tracks recognisable but nothing special. Here, they have gone all out and got some big names to do some big tracks, and I regard it as one of my favourite original soundtracks. It gets me in the mood to go out, it picks me up when I am down, and it has music that, although over 10 years old, could have been released yesterday without knowing any different. An excellent OST, and one I recommend without hesitation. It's currently available from amazon.co.uk for £9.98, although I'm sure you can pick it up for a lot cheaper elsewhere.
Here is the soundtrack to the 1996 Warner Brothers, basketball-related film "Space Jam", which starred Michael Jordan. This too was released in '96. The film was partly animated and included many of the Looney Tunes, including Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck, some of whom appear during this R&B and Hip Hop-dominated album.
I didn't specifically buy this at the time, it was a special offer with the "Space Jam" video at the time as it came free with it, and to be honest, without this I probably wouldn't have picked it up.
1. "Fly Like an Eagle" - Seal
Here is a Steve Miller cover by the UK soul singer Seal. It fits in very well with the theme of the film and it is extremely inspirational. I found that the dramatically improved the song by making it more universal to the listener.
2. "The Winner" - Coolio
This is a funky Hip Hop joint from the West Coast MC Coolio,, famed for "Gangsta's Paradise" the year before this soundtrack came out. This acts as a form of motivation as the beat is uplifting and the lyrics are all about succeeding in this world, the combination makes you want to strive for better things.
3. "Space Jam" - Quad City DJ's
Here is a typical dance Hip hop track from the mid-nineties, full of energy and very exciting. This one comes from a little known Miami duo, Quad City DJ's, who didn't really get too much exposure, but blow up big with this single.The track is all about the fast-paced sport of basketball, and all the girls, money and dunk associated with it.
4. "I Believe I Can Fly" - R. Kelly
Everyone knows this inspirational song which stood out as the best song from the film. I feel that it dramatically boosted R. Kelly's career,despite the fact was was doing very well before it was released. This reminds you of the emotional times during the film which were very infrequent, so it highlights parts of the film which you may have otherwise forgotten about.
5. "Hit 'Em High" - B Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Method Man
This as the Monstars' theme in the film and it features some rap all-stars of the time from West (B- Real and Coolio) to East (Method Man, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes) all on the theme of ballin'. This is an amazing Hip Hop record with a big beat which really gets exciting as the five artist chant to hype you up, perfect for a warm up for playing sports.
6. "I Found My Smile Again" - D'Angelo
There quite annoying minute-long introduction to this track before any speech is heard, and it made me lose interest, so by the time D'Angelo, R&B musician, comes into the tune you've already lost concentration on the lyrics. However as the song is six minutes long, at some point, you will remember to listen again.
7. "For You I Will" - Monica
This is a song about the length this R&B songstress will go to in the name of love, which is apparently very far. To be honest it's just like the rest of the love songs on this album and you don't get anything new from this, but it's always nice o listen to, so you can't really complain about it.
8. "Upside Down ('Round-N-'Round)" - Salt-N-Pepa
This is a big rap from the Queens, New York duo of female MCs. They certainly brought a big record hear with a hell of a lot of energy to get you on your feet. The subject of the track is love, but they're presentation of it is very original, and it works very well with they're style of rap, so everything compliments each other to create a all-round great track.
9. "Givin' U All That I've Got" - Robin S.
This is a rather typical example of club R&B in the mid-nineties, although you may not think that there was a distinct sound of this time, this will definitely remind you of it. I have to say that I didn't particularly like it, but the overall sound goes with the film well.
10. "Basketball Jones" - Barry White and Chris Rock
This is a very soulful track by Barry White with the hilarious Chris Rock who completes the track about having a love for basketball. Chris tells us about the source of his the game and how it has effected his life in a funny way. There is also a hard Hip Hop beat on of this to make it perfect.
11. "I Turn To You" - All-4-One
I hadn't heard of this R&B group prior to listening to the album and I liked what I found on hear as the belted out a fitting song which takes you into a dream-like state as you attempt to find your feet and try to succeed, but you it won't be possible without that special someone.
12. "All of My Days" - Changing Faces featuring R. Kelly and Jay-Z
Here is a big collaboration featuring the best in R&B with R. Kelly, and rap, Jay-Z, alongside a short-live R&B female duo who when by the name of Changing Faces. This is a nice little love song for the soundtrack, and although it isn't really that relevant, it suits the main theme of the album.
13. "That's the Way (I Like It)" - Spin Doctors featuring Biz Markie
Biz Markie kicks this record off with his trademarked beatboxing before covering the KC & The Sunshine Band's classic song "That's The Way". The funk rock band, Spin Doctors' really completes the record as they come out with everything in order to recreate the hype and excitement that the original 1975 recording brought.
14. "Buggin'" - Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
Well I haven't got much to say about this, because it really annoys me when people attempt to rap and just ruin the look of the Hip Hop in general. You aren't likely to stick this on your iPod, it's not funny (apart from a Disney diss) and the quality just isn't there.
In conclusion, when a song is good on this album, it's amazing, when it's not too good, it's terrible, so it's your choice on whether you think the balance is worth the cost of the CD. I probably wouldn't buy this if you don't enjoy urban musical genres, because these completely dominate the album, but if you do, you'll probably enjoy it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fly Like An Eagle
3 Space Jam
4 I Believe I Can Fly
5 Hit 'em High
6 I Found My Smile Again
7 For You I Will
8 Upside Down
9 Givin' U All That I've Got
10 Basketball Jones
11 I Turn To You
12 All Of My Days
13 That's The Way (I Like It)