Monday, March 8, 2010

CD Odyssey Disc 102: Soundtrack

Another disc, another soundtrack. This is my 6th review of a soundtrack - I am a little surprised how many of these I have, but I enjoy them when I listen to them, so I guess that is alright.

Disc 102 is...Pulp Ficton Soundtrack
Artist: Various

Year of Release: 1994

How I Came To Know It: The usual way. I saw the movie, and bought the soundtrack based on the strength of the music. Of interest, when I met Sheila, she also had this soundtrack. Always interesting to see what your significant other and you share when you first combine your CD collections. In this case, no surprise - I think everybody owns this soundtrack.

How It Stacks Up: I've got either 22 or 23 soundtracks - it is hard to count them as they are mixed up with the "scores". I'd say "Pulp Fiction" is somewhere in the middle, maybe the top third. It would be higher but there are a couple of duds among the many gems.

Rating: 3 stars.

This is my second review of a Tarantino movie soundtrack, (I covered "Jackie Brown" back at Disc 30). What can I say? The man makes an awesome soundtrack. In fact, I recently watched Kill Bill Vol I and II and I decided to get the soundtracks soon - I was waylaid by Thin Lizzy this weekend, but soon, I shall have bloody satisfaction, Bill.

Back to "Pulp Fiction" there isn't much to be said here that hasn't been said before - this is one of the most talked about and critically reviewed movies of all time, and the soundtrack has likewise been parsed from all angles.

I'll just add that "Pulp Fiction" should've won best picture. It isn't just that it revolutionized film making (it did). Even if it hadn't, it would be a great movie on its own merits. I watched the Oscars last night, and was hoping against all odds that "District 9" would win, but I would've been happy with "Inglorious Basterds" just to reward Tarantino for his body of work.

The music on this disc is a great mix of the Seventies Motown and pop that Tarantino loves in all his stuff, along with a whole bunch of surf-guitar bands. This surfer music really ties the film together, and brings an ethereal numb kind of groove that perfectly matches all the characters wandering around stoned on dope and heroin.

This album's surfer sound is what got me interested in Dick Dale, in fact - and after toying with the idea for years, I finally bought a Dick Dale album last month. I am really enjoying it, but more on that when I roll it (the urge to insert new discs has left me for the nonce).

Tarantino soundtracks always feature snappy dialogue from the movie, and in this category, "Pulp Fiction" is by far the best. On this album we have Vincent Vega describing buying a "Royale With Cheese" in a French Macdonalds, Bruce Willis telling his girlfriend that "Zed's dead" and the Samuel L. Jackson monologue that has ensured a generation of moviegoers can quote at least one biblical passage by heart (Ezekial 25:17).

Like so much of Tarantino - and so much of this album - it becomes part of our everyday cultural reference. A handbook of common expressions for Gen Xers the world over.

One minor quibble on this album is the cover. Uma Thurman looks smokin' hot - but in the movie she never wears these high heels. In fact, she wears flats, and most of the time takes them off to pad about or dance the twist in bare feet.

Putting Uma in that set of pumps on an album cover and then not having them in the movie is at best false advertising, and at worst a cruel joke on men the world over.

Fortunately, her bangs are as advertised. Mmmm....Uma.

Anyway - this is a good soundtrack, but you probably already know that, because you probably already own it.

Best tracks: Jungle Boogie, Let's Stay Together, Son of a Preacher Man, If Love Is A Red Dress.

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