The Book of Life

Songs By: Various

Distributed by: Sony Classical

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In The Book of Life, a 3D computer animated adventure comedy, Diego Luna is the voice of Manolo Sanchez, a young bullfighter torn between duty to his family and following the calling of his own heart.  The love of his life is Maria (Zoe Saldana), but Maria is no ordinary woman.  She is also pursued by the legendary charmer Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and scorns both suitors equally.  The spirits La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) bet on who will win Maria's heart, but, seeing that he just might lose the bet, Xibalba takes matters into his own hands, sending a snake to kill Manolo.  Can Manolo survive the journey that spans three fantastical worlds in an effort to make it back to his Maria?

                Set in Mexico, it is no surprise that the music featured in The Book of Life would have a decidedly Latin American flare.  But that doesn't mean that the music is simply Latino alone.  The album begins with the inspiring song Live Life, performed by the Mexican duo Jesse & Joy.  The following track, The Apology Song, written by award-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla and award-winning songwriter Paul Williams and performed by La Santa Cecilia, is a rousing Latin track with a beautiful message.  The song is later reprised in Spanish in a much slower, more romantic style by Diego Luna accompanied by only an acoustic guitar.

                Then there are the hysterical snippets of songs from our time as performed by characters in the film, such as I Will Wait, Can't Help Falling in Love, Creep, Just a Friend and Do You Think I'm Sexy.  Interspersed are more original music by Gustavo Santaolalla, the classic Mexican tune Cielito Lindo, the beautiful love song entitled I Love You Too Much (reprised in Spanish later on the album) and rousingly fun tracks like Mas and No Matter Where You Are.

                I had a great deal of fun listening to, and eventually singing along with, The Book of Life Soundtrack.  Having watched the television promos for the film, I really had no idea what this movie was about, but now that I have listened to the soundtrack, I see it is a movie about a love that someone is willing to do anything in their power to achieve.  The Book of Life Soundtrack contains infectious music and songs that both the kids and the parents accompanying them to the movie will enjoy.  I can't wait to listen to the album again, and I've already listened to it three times!


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