Monday, March 12, 2018

Score Some Soundtracks

A slew of wonderful new soundtracks are out now and worth discovering. I also caught the airing of a new documentary on Queen over the weekend and share thoughts on that special...

Title: Charlotte's Web (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Sherman Brothers, Debbie Reynolds, Agnes Moorehead
Tell me more: Forty-five years after its release, the 1973 animated film version of E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" remains a favorite of children of all ages. A large part of the enduring magic of the film is the soundtrack with its wonderful music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman (The Sherman Brothers' outstanding work includes Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "The Jungle Book"). Having just been released for the first time on audio CD, Charlotte's Web endures as a joyous set of tuneful and lovingly-delivered songs by the fabled likes of Henry Gibson, Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde and Agnes Moorehead. The range of material ranges from funny and light-hearted tunes ("A Veritable Smorgasbord," "End Title") to decidedly more probing material ("There Must Be Something More," "Deep In The Dark/Charlotte's Web"). Particularly stirring is "Charlotte's Farewell (Mother Earth and Father Time)" that continues to resonate as powerfully as ever. A true classic. Information:

Title: 21 Jump Street: Original Television Soundtrack (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Composer Peter Bernstein, 21 Jump Street, Peter Gabriel
Tell me more: The latest installment of Varèse Sarabande Records' ongoing series of soundtracks, 21 Jump Street: Original Television Soundtrack features more than 80 minutes of music from the popular police procedural starring Johnny Depp that originally ran from 1987 to 1991. In addition to the buoyant '80s-styled theme song (sung by Holly Robinson), the wealth of tracks composed by Peter Bernstein captures the dramatic span of groundbreaking music used across the series' 100+ episodes. While synthesizers are typically the most prominent sound heard, the use of acoustic instruments adds flavor and depth to the material. The moody "Holly," rhythmic "Riffing," luxurious "Christmas Day" and catchy blues-meets-synth gem "Date With An Angel" are among the infectious selections that grace the winning title. Fans of "21 Jump Street" are advised to move quickly. Released in late February, only 1,200 copies of the limited edition 2CD set will be sold. Information:

Title: The Commuter  Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Composer Roque Banos, Hans Zimmer
Tell me more: Spanish composer Roque Banos' ethereal and stirring score is the perfect fit for the action thriller The Commuter. The 2018 movie (which stars actor Liam Neeson) is enhanced by Banos' compositions, which all work even apart from the film as evidenced by the lure of the soundtrack across its 16-track span. Things begin beautifully with the ethereal "A Commuter's Trip" and ultimately there is a wide range of emotions with Banos finding a perfect mix of quiet incidental music and dramatic symphonic colors (including the edgy "Do Not Stop The Train" and explosive "Who Is Prince?") across 75 fast-moving minutes. Information:

Title: 24 Hours To Live  Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Tyler Bates, Hans Zimmer
Tell me more: Tyler Bates' score for 24 Hours To Live further enhances his burgeoning legacy. Already recognized for his top-tier soundtracks for "300," "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "John Wick," his latest work creates the proper mix of dramatic tension (just listen to the aptly-titled "You Have 24 Hours" and "Crashing and Killing") and lyrical moodscapes ("Red Mountain," "Sniper" and "Flashback" in particular). Marilyn Manson's version of the gothic-Americana hymn popularized by Johnny Cash  "God's Gonna Cut You Down" — serves as the disc's fitting finale. Information:

Title: Queen Rock The World (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Queen
Tell me more: Last weekend PBS SoCal aired a fascinating documentary titled Queen Rock The World. The footage that comprised the majority of the special was shot during the making of Queen's sixth studio album News of the World as well as on the subsequent North American tour that included 26 dates over six weeks in 1977, but only recently re-discovered and put together into a must-see documentary. With acclaimed host BBC host Bob Harris ("The Old Grey Whistle Test") doing the interviews, the hour-long special offered a number of special moments including studio recording sessions, backstage chats and energetic concert footage. Hopefully this special will be released soon.

Robert Kinsler

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