You’re no one in TV these days, it seems, without your own soundtrack — and a little boldfaced bait, whether it be a folk-rock icon or the umpteenth revival of a deathless ’80s power ballad.
NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack, Vol. 2 begins, wisely, with its big get: Bob Dylan’s previously unreleased ”California,” a wry vagabond lament dating from his 1965 Bringing It All Back Home sessions. Norah Jones practically purrs on the surprisingly sexy R&B shuffle ”That’s What I Said,” and Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, and show star Michael Weatherly follow with earthy, solid originals for the adult-contemporary set. Earnest Aussie rockers Sick Puppies and lite-metal angsters Saosin, alas, feel much more CW than CBS.
In fact, they could have escaped from the teen-targeted Soundtrack 90210, a collection of enjoyable-enough throwaways from MTV second-stringers (the All-American Rejects, OK Go, Jet) and mall-alt upstarts (Owl City, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) alike. More than a few years out of homeroom? Stay for Adele’s pairing with the Raconteurs, the aching blues-waltz torcher ”Many Shades of Black.”
Glee: The Music, Volume 1 trucks in no such darkness. The show’s subversive wit is confined to the areas outside its unapologetically sincere musical numbers: Broadway-baby takes on both Velveeta rock ballads (Journey’s ”Don’t Stop Believin’,” REO Speedwagon’s ”Can’t Fight This Feeling”) and more recent pop hits (Rihanna’s ”Take a Bow,” Kanye West’s ”Gold Digger”). In context, it all has a giddy sort of ”let’s put on a show” charm; ? on record, it’s basically fancy (albeit fun) ? karaoke. NCIS: B 90210: B? Glee: B