The soundtrack album is a neat little thing. Music used in the film that you can listen to outside of the movie. I always liked soundtrack albums because sometimes you’d find cool songs on there you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It’s one of those things that I tend to grab when I find them in a thrift store because there’s some good songs on there.
Then there’s the “music inspired by the film” soundtracks. Usually made when there’s only a handful of songs that play in the film, yet they have to fill up a CD, so they get a bunch of songs that fit the film for padding. These are a bit less inspired, but can be still interesting based on the song selection. Not particularly my favorites, but if the song selection’s good I can forgive it.
I had recently acquired an “inspired by” soundtrack, and it’s kind of a wild one. It’s not of a hit movie, or a teen drama. It’s… a soundtrack inspired by a game show.
Who Wants to be a Millionaire: The Album is one of those “music inspired by” albums. Released in 2000 during peak Millionaire mania in the United States, the album features a myriad of songs that are, as mentioned on the album cover featuring host Regis Philbin, “inspired by the hit ABC television show.”
Normally, there wouldn’t be a whole lot to say about this kind of album. Since it’s inspired by the TV show, it’s a bunch of licensed songs. But the album does put its own spin on the formula, with not only licensed songs, but two new songs, both themed after the big quiz show.
We start with a rather insipid Millionaire song homage called “I Want to Be a Millionaire,” performed by Jack & Jemma. Jack is one Jack D. Elliot, a remixer/producer of pop artists like The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. Jemma is his wife, so they were probably trying to see if they could make success as a pop producer/singer duo. As far as I can tell, this didn’t get very far on the music charts anywhere. Even with having veteran music producer David Foster co-producing the record.
“I Want to Be a Millionaire” is a fairly unremarkable dance hit where Jack raps about the show: “Is it A or B or C or D / So I could win a million dollars on TV.” After the verses, Jemma sings the chorus: “I Want to Be a Millionaire / So I can buy anything, never work another day / Ask me nicely, I might share because / I’m gonna be a Millionaire.” That’s all she contributes to the track outside of an occasional “oh oh oh oh,” it’s more Jack than Jemma in this case.
Surprisingly, Regis Philbin appears in the song as well, asking Jack the toughest $1,000,000 question: “What is the name of controversial rapper Eminem?” with Jack making jabs at bands like Sugar Ray while name-dropping Eminem’s real name. I get it’s supposed to be a bit like conventional hip-hop sketches, but this is just… lame. (As far as I can tell, Jack did not got the opportunity to remix/produce something with Eminem. Probably for good reason!)
“I Want to be a Millionaire” is like when you hear a radio station’s morning zoo crew try to perform songs of their own, usually themed on the city or the sports team. It’s kitschy, yes, but it’s not good. Definitely a terrible god damn earworm, that’s for sure.Continue reading…