various artists,
Ali: The Original Soundtrack II
(Universal Classics, 2002)

Following in the footsteps of Ali: The Original Soundtrack released by Interscope Records, Ali: The Original Soundtrack II features more music from the motion picture starring Will Smith. Not having had the opportunity to listen to Ali, I'm not sure if this represents the best or the worst of the soundtrack (containing the Golden Globe-nominated score by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke, as well as additional tracks by Mighty Joe Young, Salif Keita, Soul Clan and other artists).

Judging the follow-up disc on its own merits, Ali II (comprised of more music by Mighty Joe Young, Soul Clan, Salif Kieta, as well as Martin Tillman, Dungeon East and Whild Peach) turns out to be far from a knock-out. The musical soundtrack got in one or two good jabs via the instrumentals -- still, nothing to throw in the towel over. Perhaps the original compositions of Gerrard and Bourke might have found the target, if not obstructed by the lyrics and vocals.

Primarily comprised of "world music" with lyrics sung in languages other than English, Ali II didn't provide the expected punch. In fact, the impact of the disc proved slight. Not one of the tunes reached out and grabbed me. Only a Soul Clan tune (reminiscent of Motown oldies) came close to the mark.

The great boxer Muhammad Ali may float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, but unfortunately, the soundtrack to Ali II hardly even hops.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 25 May 2002