While most albums face a series of challenges, soundtrack albums face an additional hurdle: preconception. Regardless of how enjoyable the music, the casual listener will only remember if the film was any good. It's a shame that Freedom Writers was so generic, because the soundtrack is a surpringly listenable, if flawed, collection.
Featuring such old-school hip-hop scholars as Cypress Hill and 2Pac intermingled with newer artists Common and Gang Starr, Freedom Writers is a groove-inducing batch of songs. Unfortunately, the album has no continuity whatsoever.
Despite procuring some big-name talent, the album producers seemingly had no idea what to do with them, putting zero thought into song order. The resultant listening experience is, at best, erratic, and at worst, painful. The placement of the film's original music, performed by Mark Isham and will.i.am, at the end of the album serves as an invitation to turn it off with five songs left. It doesn't help that these tracks are completely forgettable.
There's no rule that says soundtracks have to be bad. It's a shame that Freedom Writers sounds like 15 tracks vomited onto a cd, because parts of it are excellent. Unfortunately, the sum is a disorganized mess.