At one point over “Ally McBeal’s” five seasons, the title character exclaims, “There is no sin in loving men. Only pain!” This is the theme that most often reverberates through Vonda Shepard’s soulful voice in her recently released collection of songs, “The Best of Ally McBeal.”
Shepard was the musical persona of Ally McBeal, appearing often in the show as a club singer at a haunt frequented by the series’s characters. Her CD was released Oct. 6 to coincide with the release of “Ally McBeal: The Complete Series” on DVD. Most of the songs are covers of classics or originals written by Shephard for individual episodes.
The compilation makes me feel nostalgic for a time I can barely remember: the late 90s/early 2000s. It sounds just a bit outdated and smells a tiny bit off (kind of like that sweater in your closet that you haven’t touched since ’99) to my electronic-musically-conditioned ear. That, however, is also the beauty of the album. It makes me yearn for a love that I have never had. But yearning for a love that will ultimately result in pain? Weird. However, this feeling could also be due to the dramatic head-thrashing I did during “Baby, Don’t You Break.”
Ally McBeal taught my prepubescent self that a woman could have a high-powered position (lawyer, in her case), still look really sexy and not be a bitch. She was supreme role model material.
“Maryland,” with its dreamy vocals, Congo drums and acoustic guitar, embodies this spirit. Shephard coos, “I am just working for a living … As I cast my dreams to the wind.” Warning: this song may result in inadvertent swaying of the body.
Other highlights include the original theme song: “Searchin’ for You,” the previously unreleased “Something About You” and a song with Robert Downey Jr. (a whole lot of deep, hot sex voice).
The album may not have a whole lot of substance and sort of blends together into one sultry fusion of acoustic guitar and Vonda’s emotional voice. However, it still makes me want to put on a suit with a short skirt, go listen to Caffe Bottega’s dueling pianos and find a sultry lover of my own. Only for the mindfuck of course.