David Browne
July 31, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: The Album

Current Status
In Season
Various Artists

We gave it a F

For one hundred dollars: What kind of music on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: The Album could possibly be ”inspired” (as its subtitle claims) by the game show?

(A) A bouncy, ersatz new wave jingle called ”I Want to Be a Millionaire” by Jack & Jemma. With its rap section (”Is A or B or C or D/ So I can win a million dollars on TV!”) and an au courant reference to Eminem, the track tries hard to be topical but still comes off as a Toni Basil reject.

(B) Songs about phone calls and cash — get it? — like Blondie’s ”Call Me” and Barrett Strong’s ”Money (That’s What I Want).” Okay, give them cleverness points for following a snippet of host Regis Philbin inquiring about a contestant’s lifeline with ELO’s ”Telephone Line,” but Shirley Bassey’s ”Goldfinger” and Roy Orbison’s ”You Got It” are a BIT of a stretch. And did the compilers of this profit-maximizing collection realize that, with lyrics like ”People will steal from their mother,” the O’Jays’ ”For the Love of Money” is a bitter indictment of greed?

(C) The dulcet tones of Reege himself, crooning a banal ”Pennies From Heaven” off a 1968 recording. Between songs, you can catch his overheated reactions to correct answers. For anyone who wants ”You now have $250,000! Oh, I LOVE it!” digitally preserved, your prayers have been answered.

(D) A ”Final Answer Remix,” which alternates use of the show’s trademark Goth-synth musical motif with cheesy, squiggly synthesizers and, in doing so, gives new meaning to the word ”chintzy.” Where’s Puffy when you need him?

Final answer: All of the above.

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