Nightmares on Wax
The Charmed Ones power up a disc of would-be P3 performers
Back in the day, before her interdimensional marriage to a Whitelighter and the resulting arrival of a baby boy, Piper Halliwell was quite the swinging sister. While Prue stalked the halls of Buckland’s auction house like a couture gothic raven, Piper was dating the aw shucks bachelor next door, cowing the hippie tendencies of her college-going sister Phoebe, and holding down management of a Bay Area nightclub called, naturally, P3. All the Wiccan weirdness in the world couldn’t stop this witchy woman from huddling with her sisters at a comfy corner table lit by the purple light of P3’s curious airport lounge décor. It was a nice device for the Warner Bros. Each week, the Charmed Ones would wrap up the witching hour with a few minutes to spare, allowing for a brief appearance by a demographic-friendly musical guest like Michelle Branch, Dishwalla, or Barenaked Ladies. Once, a leprechaun helped Piper book Pat Benatar into the club! Nowadays, in the sixth season of Charmed, Piper has given up P3 to watch over Wyatt, her son with Leo, the sisters’ Whitelighter, who has now become an Elder, and bequeathed his position to Chris, a junior Whitelighter who has darkworld machinations of his own. (Pay attention – there’s a quiz later).
Beyond the typically pleasant adult alternative number floating over each episode’s initial San Franciscan exteriors, the WB has no surefire way to insert its musical arm through the front door of the Manor. Short of having Wayne Coyne appear as a rambunctious, precocious confetti cannon demon dedicated to saving the girls from Chris’ evil ways (wait, that’s a pretty good idea – alert Aaron Spelling!), Charmed must rely on this cheesecake soundtrack to attach the fortunes of a few lucky Hot AC rockers to the fates of three way hot witchy sisters. Coyne and his Flaming Lips contribute the irresistible “Do You Realize?” here – they’re joined by the likes of Smash Mouth, Third Eye Blind (the surprisingly good “Danger Zone”), and Stereophonics, who continue their bizarre downward spiral with the atrocious “Maybe Tomorrow.” Goldfrapp supplies a little grit to the package with the fashioned-up electroclash blurt of “Strict Machine”, while the up-and-comers table is occupied by beguiling ex-Bumpus vocalist Rachael Yamagata, the lush electronic pop of Balligomingo, and a track from the perennially underlooked Andy Stochansky.
The soundtrack closes with Love Spit Love’s cover of “How Soon is Now”. Clunky and embarrassing, the song has found some footing as the Charmed theme song, accompanied as it is each week by gratuitous reaction shots of Alyssa Milano. And fans of the show will likely be happy it’s included here, since no one really wants to scraw for a cut-out bin copy of the Craft soundtrack, where it originally appeared in 1996. But Richard Butler’s death rattle aside, this collection does a pretty good job of replacing those happy-go-lucky show-ending moments that made Piper so proud of P3. Now, how about that Wayne Coyne guest appearance?
Glorious Noise is giving away an iPod loaded with the Charmed soundtrack. Enter by November 30, 2003, for your chance to win!