Buffy the Vampire Slayer Official Soundtrack "Once More With Feeling"
Grade
B+
 

Fans of the oft-humourous supernatural action drama, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, were in for a treat as Joss Whedon crafted a concept episode (along the lines of Cop Rock) in which the characters were breaking out into song as part of a demon's curse. Whedon played out the story in Broadway-like fashion, much like Rocky Horror Picture Show or Grease, with the cast members belting out songs that share their deepest feelings. While not all of the cast glows vocally, they do manage to carry themselves well and certain cast, like Anthony Steward Head and James Marsters, who already dabble in music get this opportunity to show off in front of a larger audience. This is not to say there were any bad performances, but you could immediately tell who was strong vocally (Amber Benson immediately comes to mind).

During the episode, a lot of these tracks are really helped by the physical presense of a fine cast. Some of the songs are just a joy to listen to, like I've Got a Theory/Bunnies/If We're Together, which really plays up some of the cast's quirks, like Anya's irrational fear of bunnies. The music ranges from traditional Broadway to a more rock-influenced style, as in Rest In Peace. A lot of the charm about the album is that most listeners will find something they like in body of work. While there are certain tracks that I obviously enjoy over others, and found some, like Where Do We Go From Here? and Walk Through the Fire to be immediately catchy (to the point of humming it subconsciously for days), I can admit others that I wasn't drawn to are still good in their own right.

Along with some fine music work is some really well done lyrics. Joss Whedon really flexes his literary muscles with lyrics that both have good pace and are even interesting while sticking with the cynical and sarcastic tone that the show has managed to set for itself over the years. The characters remain true to themselves and the episode doesn't stray from the already established ongoing dramas.

As an added bonus to the entire body of music from the show, this album includes some extra tracks, including pieces from Restless, Hush and "Sacrifice" from The Gift, all of which might have never seen the light of day without an album like this to be attached to. All are fine musical pieces and are a welcome addition to the album.

This is not the kind of album that will appeal to the casual listener, as it's strength lies in the concept. Fans of the series, and especially ones who enjoyed the show will want to nab it as it embodies the music well. Listening to the album is a great alternative to breaking out your VCR recorded copy of the episode when it originally appeared. While Once More, with Feeling may not be the most stellar piece of classical Broadway, it still is put together well and stands out as something that Buffy fans should get for themselves.

- - Kinderfeld

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