Streep Rocks the Room in ‘Ricki’

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Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield star in Ricki and the Flash (Photo by Bob Vergara)

Sondheim fans know Meryl Streep can sing — she earned raves for her performance on 2014’s Into the Woods. And in Mama Mia! (2008), “She sings! She dances! She does the splits!”  But who knew she could rock? She can, as everyone is discovering with Ricki and the Flash. Streep is Ricki Rendazzo, a mother of three who refused to be domesticated, fleeing Indianapolis to pursue her rock star dreams in California, where she winds up fronting a cover band whose turf is the San Fernando Valley (changing her name from Linda Brummell didn’t do much for her career) .

“She’s like your favorite beat-up guitar that can still play the hits,” writes Consequence of Sound reviewer Blake Goble, who goes on to describe the Flash as “a ship of old souls and runaways, but they’ve mastered ‘American Girl’ and ‘Bad Romance’ in bar band fashion.” The New York Times’ A.O. Scott credits her with belting out the lyrics “with perfect credibility, landing somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Bonnie Raitt on the spectrum of available reference points.”

The film closes with a wringing version of Bruce Springsteen’s “My Love Will Not Let You Down.” (And while it’s apparently churlish to give away the aural climax of the movie, if it wasn’t so deliciously hinted at, yet unspecified, in one of the reviews, I wouldn’t have scurried down the Google path to look it up, and stumbled upon the extremely startling Springsteen-Springfield association.)

Soundtrack list:

“American Girl” (2:31) Ricki and the Flash
“Keep Playing That Rock & Roll” (2:15) Ricki and the Flash
“Wooly Bully” (2:27) Ricki and the Flash
“Drift Away” (3:35) Ricki and the Flash
“My Love Will Not Let You Down” (4:09) Ricki and the Flash
“Cold One” (2:54) Ricki and the Flash
“Let’s Work Together” (3:24) Ricki and the Flash
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (3:56) Ricki and the Flash
“Bad Romance” (2:11) Ricki and the Flash
“Get the Party Started” (3:51) Ricki and the Flash
“Walk On” (4:09) Lucinda Williams
“Here I Am” (3:48) Emmylou Harris
“For the Turnstiles” (6:10) Henry Wolfe
“Paint It Black” (2:53) The Feelies

 

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