Like any soundtrack with aspirations of being hip, the soundtrack to the heart-warming Brit comedy-drama Billy Elliot is peppered with dialogue from the film -- a tactic that was entertaining in 1993, when Reservoir Dogs popularized it, but it had lost its charm by 2000. But, if you can ignore that dialogue and concentrate on the music, you have a real nice disc of British pop. There are a couple of stragglers here -- Stephen Gately, Eagle-Eye Cherry, and the Clash have a song a piece -- but for the most part, this is devoted to two great British pop stars, Marc Bolan and Paul Weller. It's a pair that doesn't seem to work well together on paper -- the Slider and the Modfather share a fondness for Northern soul and nice clothes, but their boogie and sophisti-pop appear to be polar opposites -- but it all works well here, since they're both terrific singles artists. Weller is represented by the Jam's "Town Called Malice" and two from the Style Council, "Shout to the Top" and "Walls Come Tumbling Down." It's a classic paired with two period pieces, and he comes off well all the same. Still, Marc Bolan and T Rex are where the heart of the soundtrack lie, and there's a great selection of tunes from him, including not just the omnipresent "Get It On" and "Cosmic Dancer," but the non-LP singles "I Love to Boogie," "Children of the Revolution," and the wonderful "Ride a White Swan." These great songs, when paired with Weller and "London Calling," make the soundtrack to Billy Elliot more infectious than the film itself. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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