Friday, December 19, 2008
Listening Post: Orchestral Maneuvers Edition
Believe it or not, I actually try hard not to be too self-indulgent when it comes to what gets posted on this site. I may voice my opinion, relay personal stories, or just generally poke fun in every direction, but I always hope that whatever goes up here is something that someone will want to read; it's not often that I throw a post into the mix without caring one way or the other whether it's going to be entertaining to you nice people.
But I guess this will be one of those rare occasions that I do just that.
Or maybe it won't be -- because maybe there's someone out there who feels the same way that I do about the musical score from the 1987 movie Less Than Zero.
Yesterday, while tooling around YouTube, I stumbled on a series of musical pieces -- each covered only with a static wallpaper shot -- that absolutely blew me away, because the music in question was something I'd been searching for for more than 20 years. While an official Less Than Zero soundtrack was released two decades ago (featuring the Bangles' Hazy Shade of Winter, LL Cool J's Going Back to Cali, etc.), the actual musical score by Thomas Newman was never made available to the public. I could never understand why, since the music Newman wrote for the movie remains, in my opinion, some of his best work -- and this is a guy who went on to compose the brilliant scores of movies like American Beauty, The Shawshank Redemption and Road to Perdition.
The ethereal, atmospheric score for Less Than Zero -- particularly the character suites, some of which call to mind the heartbreaking beauty of Barber's famous Adagio for Strings -- is something that moved me in indescribable ways the first time I saw the movie, and continued to with each repeat viewing.
I've been searching for this music in one format or another for years. And yesterday I sent a message to the person who had uploaded the videos to YouTube telling him as much. About 20 minutes after I wrote to him, lo and behold, the Less Than Zero score began appearing in my email inbox -- one MP3 file at a time.
Maybe there's no one out there who grew up in the 80s and appreciated the music from this movie the way I did. Maybe I'm the only one within the sound of my voice who remembers it and loves it. If this is true, then sorry to waste your time.
But if there's anyone reading this who knows what I'm talking about -- who doesn't think I'm completely crazy -- and who remembers how great the Less than Zero score was, I'm about to make your day.
Here now, three pieces from that unreleased soundtrack.
I Need $50,000
(Thanks to CuervoBlack06, whoever you are, for giving me a really great Christmas present.)