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VARIOUS - Feeling Minnesota - Music From The Motion Picture

Feelings, nothing more than…nothing more than your standard ’90s soundtrack mix of new songs, old songs, and new covers of old songs, but an above average variation on the theme, at least. No Prince, Bob Mould, or Jayhawks, but enough local heroes to lend some shred of credibility to the title and theme.

"I Will Dare" follows in the footsteps of Say Anything’s "Within Your Reach" to become the second Replacements song to gain big exposure in a movie. It’s about time. With any luck there’ll be a movie called Kiss Me On The Bus sometime in the early ’00s; in the meantime, if the use here of the galloping "I Will Dare" featuring guest Peter Buck wins even a few ’Mats converts, it has more than done its job. Seguing it out of "In My Mind," a centerpiece of midwesterner Jonny Polonsky’s instant classic debut LP from earlier this year, shows someone putting this soundtrack together actually gave a crap about sequencing it.

The man from Hibbing, Bob Dylan, croons his way through Johnny Cash’s "Ring Of Fire" to lead off the disc. It marks the U. of Minnesota dropout’s first use of questionable female backing vocals since 1988’s hodgepodge Down In The Groove. It also may be the unfunkiest thing produced by Nile Rodgers ever, or at least since Let’s Dance. But it’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it. Dick, I give it an 84.

Wilco’s "Blasting Fonda" is just the kind of Neil Youngian ballad they excel at, complete with a slight psychedelic tinge to keep the sound away from Genericsville. A contribution by fellow ex-Uncle Tupelo offshoot Son Volt (how many times have you read that phrase in the last year and a half?) is much more of a trifle. Non-Minnesotans Los Lobos’ instrumental "Minnesota Medley" is more a montage of unfinished riffs that together don’t approach the greatness of the band’s fine ’96 album Colossal Head but will make an interesting bonus track when the album is re-released in 25 years on whatever format replaces CDs. The funky Noam Chomsky of hip-hop, Michael Franti & Spearhead, passably cover Sly & The Family Stone’s "Family Affair." The original bubbled with such danger and energy that anyone covering it would have inevitably fell short, but any exposure is good exposure for Franti, who between his work with Spearhead and The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy is the greatest politically-oriented genius in hip-hop since the glory days of Chuck D., and the most overlooked one ever.

Helmet and Joe Henry check in with unmemorable new songs, while fine old stuff is included from The Temptations (in vintage mid-’70s post-Puzzle People funk mode), The Righteous Brothers, and Nancy Sinatra—none of it in the form of overplayed signature songs. Maybe there is something more than feelings. Yeah—more than a feeling. Now there’s an idea.