The Original Soundtrack Volume 2

At their worst, soundtrack records sound like an ill-conceived playlist, or an iPod shuffle that doesn't hesitate to send up a Slayer track immediately following something from Amy Grant. This second offering of music from the much-buzzed-about ABC television musical drama Nashville mostly avoids that problem if only because, as is the case with modern country in general, so much of it sounds the same. There are different types of songs—melodramatic ballads, humorous romps, proclamations about "getting over you and you done me wrong," etc.—but all fit neatly into established boxes.

The only time this record approaches anything like Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt or Patsy Cline is with slower selections, like "We Are Water," "Stronger Than Me" and "Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again." Even then, the music is so polished that the heart and depth are sucked right out of it. The cast—primarily lead stars Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton—can certainly deliver the vocal goods, but they lack the grit and heart-worn authenticity that only comes from piloting a station wagon a few thousand miles from sketchy watering hole to watering hole.

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