The main reason I bought the Beavis and Butt-Head Do America soundtrack a few years ago was for the track "Love Rollercoaster" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After listening through the entire thing, I was shocked at how good the rest of the album was. The Beavis and Butt-Head soundtrack is one of the most well balanced soundtracks I've listened to. There are almost no songs that feel like they're out of place for the soundtrack.
The album begins with the late Isaac Hayes performing a "Shaft"-style parody called "Two Cool Guys," which is used at the very beginning of the film. This track is intentionally cheesy, but that's its appeal, so to speak. It has some funky moments and of course includes all of those "Shaft Theme"-isms (e.g. "know what I'm sayin'?"). It's an unorthodox way to begin, but like I said, even tracks like these don't feel lost in the long run. The next track is the reason why I bought the album. "Love Rollercoaster" is a cover of the Ohio Players hit from the 70's and the Red Hot Chili Peppers do a great job of creating a new take on the song (the horn section is replaced with kazoos). There are also some extra lyrics added during the verse, which are a little weak. However, the rest of the song is a very enjoyable listen. It's a fitting tribute to the original, but it still has the Red Hot Chili Peppers' distinctive feel to it.
Another cover, "Ain't Nobody" (performed by LL Cool J), hits not quite as hard as the previous track, but is still a pretty enjoyable song. Even though this version is by a rapper, the track still retains a lot of the soulful edge that the original was known for. Like the Peppers' cover, this song isn't ruining the original, but is instead a fitting tribute with some newer elements thrown in. The fourth track is White Zombie's "Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls," a song that was used during Beavis and Butt-Head's desert hallucination sequence (a sequence that was animated by Rob Zombie himself). This is one of my least favorites on the album, but it is still okay. If you're a fan of White Zombie's more industrial-metal tracks, this is most likely for you. Me? I still prefer the groove metal stuff, like "Thunderkiss '65."
The fifth track is possibly my favorite track on the whole album, and that is "I Wanna Riot" by ska punk bands Rancid and Stubborn All-Stars. This track sounds very ska. It is instrumental for the first minute and a half of the song, which I really liked. You get a feeling of how different all the instruments' music is from each other. After the instrumental part is done, it's not nearly as good. But like I said, it is my favorite track, so it obviously can't be too bad to me.
Next is the prince of darkness with the song "Walk On Water." It has a very interesting and captivating feel to it. It sounds both dark (like all Ozzy songs should be) and kind of soothing to some degree. There is an ambience surrounding the song that sounds almost as if you are being hypnotized by the dissonant guitar riffage going on. It may take a few listens to get into, but now I love this song. Keeping in the ska-punk tradition is No Doubt with the song "Snakes," which was originally on their album "The Beacon Street Collection." I connected with this song just as I had with the previous Rancid song: I really like it (which is surprising because I'm not a huge fan of ska-punk). It's got a slower, but equally driving rhythm to it and some strong vocals by Gwen Stefani. Also for a punk song, this has a very good guitar solo and a dream-sequence-sounding breakdown both at the middle and at the end.
Let's skip ahead a little to "White Trash," a rockabilly (or psychobilly?) number by Southern Culture on the Skids. This song has arguably the biggest role in the movie itself, as it's heard often in the background of certain scenes. It is a very short song, but it works somewhat effectively at getting your attention. The main riff is pretty memorable and can even get stuck in your head from time to time (okay, maybe just with me). It ranks somewhere in the middle of good and bad tracks on the album.
Finally, the album wraps up with a wildcard. "Lesbian Seagull" by easy-listening singer Engelbert Humperdinck has surprisingly tame lyrics considering the title, which was concocted out of the governmental study of lesbian behavior in seagulls. Beavis and Butt-Head's hippie teacher, Mr. Van Dreissen, sang the song in the movie. Even though no other songs match the genre that this song is, the song itself does not feel too disconnected to the rest of the album. It probably ranks closer to the bottom of my favorite tracks, but it is still alright for a listen.
If you happen to come across this album in a used music store, I'll tell you right now that it is worth a listen from fans of any type of music from the 90's. The Beavis and Butt-Head soundtrack offers enough variety to please most people who listen to music. While I may not be a fan of rap, I still enjoyed the rap tracks that they did include. The album may not include enough heavy metal to please Beavis and Butt-Head themselves, but don't worry...this soundtrack doesn't suck.
Top 3: Love Rollercoaster, I Wanna Riot, Snakes