Romantic love is the focus of “Your Song” (a remake of Elton John’s ballad), the Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor duet “Come What May,” and “Nature Boy,” which finds David Bowie crooning Nat King Cole’s chart-topper from 1948. Adapting an early hit by The Police, “El Tango De Roxanne” encourages a streetwalker to switch careers. Kidman looks toward a brighter tomorrow on “One Day I’ll Fly Away.” A pastiche of pop lyrics doubles as heartfelt dialogue between people in love (“Elephant Love Medley”), but . . .
A brief exchange finds the man asking for one night of passion from the woman he adores (a prostitute) and being told that he can’t afford her. On a hip-hop-enhanced version of Patti LaBelle’s 1975 smash “Lady Marmalade,” Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim give voice to Parisian hookers (“bada– chicks from Moulin Rouge”) and describe an illicit, alcohol-rich rendezvous.
Moulin Rouge!—the movie—is a love story that uses the world’s oldest profession as a backdrop, so it’s no surprise to find the soundtrack peppered with sexual overtones and references to prostitution. Sadly, that lurid context makes even the innocuous love songs on this dynamic, wildly eclectic release feel tainted.