The hit TV series "Ally McBeal" is known as much for its music - a mixed bag of 60s and 70s classics as well as contemporary pop - as for the histrionics of its star characters. In "For Once In My Life", some of the best tracks from past episodes, as well as some original compositions, have been compiled into a single collection, one which definitely bears a look.
The album starts out with the title track, a soft pop ballad, and quickly moves into familiar territory with "Home Again" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right", well executed by Vonda Shepard. Then comes the first real surprise - a duet between Robert Downey Jr. and Sting on "Every Breath You Take", followed by a Downey Jr. solo, "Snakes", neither of which suggest that he should consider a career change.
While the first half of the album is entirely Vonda Shepard's baby, and soon gets monotonous, the second half wakes things up with Barry White's superb "You're The First, The Last, My Everything", immediately followed by Tina Turner ("When The Heartache Is Over"), Anastacia ("Love Is Alive") and Chayanne ("Boom Boom"). And even though the established names tend to overpower both Shepard and Downey's best efforts, this still remains a collection to purchase, if only because it also includes the immortal Al Green crooning "How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?"This article was first published on 26 Jun 2001.