Rhythm & Views

Various Artists

Much of the time, the bonus tracks and DVD additions packaged in "special-edition" CDs are simply tools for marketers to sell consumers the same music a second time around, albeit several months or years later. And, yes, maybe that's the case with the new "collector's edition" of the soundtrack album from the wonderful movie musical Once.

However, if you don't already have the original album (released last May), the extras on this December re-release are worth paying a few more bucks.

A low-budget indie from Ireland, Once stars Glen Hansard (of The Frames) and Markéta Irglová as two singer-songwriters in Dublin who maybe could've fallen in love. Because each drags some emotional baggage, they end up living out their love through the heart-wrenching songs they write and sing to and with each other. It's an amazing example of music and plot melting into one joyful expression, right up there with Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Once More, With Feeling."

In addition to all the tunes from the original CD, this edition includes two bonus tracks originally penned by unofficial Irish songwriter laureate Van Morrison. Hansard's duet with Irglová on "Into the Mystic" boasts beguiling harmonies, and his stripped-down solo version of "And the Healing Has Begun" is so passionate, it's plain scary.

The DVD has the requisite "making-of" documentary, which is quite nice, but it's made essential by devastating live performances of four Hansard-Irglová duets. Lovers of the film's music will cherish these versions.

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