Soundtracks are a lot more than movie music...
...or so I'm ready to argue as a 30 year devotee of this sorely under appreciated genre. So, in an effort to do my part, each week
I'll be making recommendations of soundtracks current and vintage, make a fuss over long awaited soundtrack scores finally getting
a well deserved release, and in general, make some noise about this often overlooked category. Beyond my long experience as a
listener and as a pianist and songwriter, both of which I've put to use in writing a quarterly soundtrack column for the Chicago
Tribune, I can only offer my recommendations. You'll discern my taste soon enough and upfront I'd like to make it clear that I'll
focus most heavily on SCORE soundtracks. In the end, all criticism is subjective but if I can point a listener toward a little heard
soundtrack or strongly advise you to either ORDER IMMEDIATELY or SKIP ALTOGETHER, all the better.
After deciding that Wall-E, with its tremendous score by Thomas Newman,
was 2008's best (and writing about that HERE) I thought I'd post a
recommendation for the Jerry Herman soundtrack of Hello Dolly which
helps make Wall-E so refreshing. How many other animated sci-fi movies
have used show tunes to make such a poignant statement about humanity
that you can think of?
The soundtrack, with its exuberant Herman score, of course features the two
numbers featured in Wall-E, "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" and "It Only
Takes A Moment" - both sung by Michael Crawford (dueting with Marianne
McAndrew in the latter). "Sunday," and pretty much the other highlights of
the score also spotlight the movie's star. That would be one Barbra
Streisand, embarking upon her second feature (amid a slew of controversy
because of her young age and having "lifted" the role from its Broadway star
Carol Channing). As it turns out, over 30 years later, Streisand's
contributions are immense and the most lasting. For decades showtune
queens (like myself) have exclaimed with awe to one another about the
loooonnnnnngggg time that La Streisand holds the final note of "Before the
Parade Passes By," swooned at her breathless handling of "So Long Dearie,"
thrilled to the crack comic timing she displays in her opening number, "Just
Leave Everything To Me" and gotten moist (sorry) over her delicate handling
of "Love Is Only Love," a new song Herman added to the film's score (it was
written for "Mame" but dropped before opening on Broadway). Speaking of
overlooked! This latter song is surely one of the most winsome little ballads
Streisand has ever sung and in the film, in her Gibson girl red wig and 1890s
corset and lingerie contrasting with her porcelain skin, she's gorgeous.
Streisand hasn't had a lot of nice things to say about this film or On A Clear
Day You Can See Forever but for musical fans, they offer unexplored treasures
Don't forget to check out previous soundtrack recommendations by visiting
Next Recommendation: TBA