Compliation album featuring 34 Sony artists from the Eighties. Featuring Bangles, Cyndi Lauper, Toto. ELO & more.
The soundtrack for first-time director Jason Reitman's satire of Big Tobacco spin plays like an amiable, city slicker sequel to O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Tex Williams' western swing standard "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette!" kicks things off with a mischievous grin, laying the groundwork for classics from Patsy Cline ("Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray"), Otis Redding ("Cigarettes and Coffee"), the Mills Brothers ("Smoke Rings"), and the Platters ("Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"). The thread is obvious, but the selections sound handpicked rather than researched solely on the basis of their subject matter. Composer Rolfe Kent, who brought such an excellent sense of place to 2004's Sideways, manages to echo the hipster swing of the Mancini-era '60s without sounding regressive, providing Thank You for Smoking with a cheerful brevity that keeps the spin more balanced than fair.
The film received a pasting from UK critics but as the soundtrack chooses from a vast archive of great performances, it’s possible to retrieve something from the experience. The opening track, the Grosse Fuge, is a bold choice given the wider audience for whom this soundtrack is aiming. It receives a magnificent performance from the Takács Quartet which is as finely attuned to the music’s jagged outcrops as its sheltered byways. The uninterrupted flow of the sweet and soulful second movement of the third Razumovsky is pure poetry in their hands. Ashkenazy gives a brilliant but never rushed performance of the finale to the early Sonata in C minor and his straightforward manner in the Arietta from Beethoven’s last sonata is illuminated by the very clear Decca recording. Haitink’s performance of the finale of the Ninth Symphony with the Royal Concertgebouw and a quartet of soloists led by Lucia Popp does not storm the heavens and I don’t ever recall being so aware of this movement’s proceeding by paragraphs. However, it would seem to have found a comfortable place in a well planned and wide-ranging celebration of Beethoven’s genius.
The soundtrack to director Ron Howard's 1995 blockbuster Apollo 13 effectively blends dialogue, actual audio clips from newscasts, classic songs, and portions of conductor James Horner's original score, creating a worthy aural companion. Included are songs from the period of the titular spacecraft's peril-fraught mission, such as the Young Rascals' "Groovin'," Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," the Who's "I Can See for Miles," and a classy version of the oft-covered "Blue Moon" by the Mavericks (produced by Nick Lowe). The orchestrated score manages to capture the drama of the events in a manner that ranges from quietly stirring to sweepingly epic, with Eurythmic Annie Lennox adding her distinctive, ethereal vocal accompaniment to several of the cuts.
Joel Schumacher's 1987 film The Lost Boys capitalized on a temporary lull in horror movies in the late '80s and created a heavily music-video-influenced vampire homage with enough campy humor, heavy metal costumes, and hunky stars to put a fresh spin on the genre. An amusing piece of eye candy spiked by a few creepy moments, the movie, in typical '80s style, relies heavily on the soundtrack to bolster its emotional core. The soundtrack, like the film, works great on the surface – but don't go much deeper. A mix of covers and bombastic '80s pop originals, the songs work best when they concentrate on the horror factor. Echo & the Bunnymen turn in an excellent cover of the Doors' "People Are Strange" that has a bouncier, more melodic touch than the original. Jimmy Barnes and INXS' "Good Times" is an energetic rocker used to personify the party-hardy SoCal atmosphere of the film. The strongest song is the movie's theme, "Cry Little Sister," a goth-influenced midtempo ballad.
THE ANALOGUE YEARS presents a 50-Album overview across 54 CDs, in original jackets, of the celebrated international recordings that emerged from the London-based record label in that pre-digital era.