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Galaxy Quest (Newly Expanded Edition)

Galaxy Quest (Newly Expanded Edition)Originally released shortly after the movie’s premiere, but only in a semi-official capacity on an obscure (and now extinct) label specializing in private-label releases for film and TVcomposers, Galaxy Quest has always been one of my favorite things on my soundtrack shelf. With David Newman tackling the movie as a serious SF film (and the cast and crew doing the same thing, keeping up kayfabe for nearly the entire show), the soundtrack was positively epic – the best science fiction film score of the ’90s. Yes, better than The Matrix.

La La Land Records has rescued Galaxy Quest from obscurity, finally giving the soundtrack a fresh remastering and a wide (if limited-edition) release. There are also a few extra minutes of music, but there was plenty of meat on the bones of the earlier release: this is full-bodied, full-orchestra film music at its finest.

The highlights are still the same as they were before: “Red Thingie, Green Thingie… RUN!” is still one of the best pieces of action movie music since the heyday of Star Wars. What this new La La Land edition has over the old Supertracks release is its copious liner notes booklet, telling me more in just a few pages than I ever knew about Galaxy Quest before, including how hard the studio came down on the writers and director to avoid “offending” the Star Trek franchise’s power players and fans. (As it turns out, Star Trek’s power players were among Galaxy Quest‘s biggest fans – Patrick Stewart, in particular, found the movie uproariously funny.) Also revealed is that David Newman was a mere session orchestra player on the first two Star Trek films, which explains how he nails the all of the little Goldsmith and Horner stylistic tricks so perfectly with Galaxy Quest. This score was Newman’s final exam in how closely he was paying attention in 1979 and 1982. 4 out of 4I think he passed.

Galaxy Quest has faded into relative obscurity as a theatrical event, so this soundtrack is getting only a limited release. That’s the only less-than-perfect thing about the whole package. It’s still the best sci-fi movie score of the 1990s.

Order this CD

  1. Galaxy Quest: The Classic TV Theme (0:57)
  2. TV Clip (1:32)
  3. Pathetic Nesmith (0:57)
  4. Galaxy Quest TV Clip #3 / Introducing Sarris / Revealing the Universe (1:50)
  5. Transporting the Crew / Meet the Thermians (1:33)
  6. The N.S.E.A. Protector (0:43)
  7. Crew Quarters & The Bridge / The Launch (3:24)
  8. Jason Takes Action / Sarris Tortures Captain (1:41)
  9. Red Thingie, Green Thingie… Run! (3:30)
  10. Shuttle to Planet / Trek Across Planet (4:26)
  11. Rolling the Sphere / Pig Lizard / Rock Monster (6:05)
  12. “Digitize Me Fred” (1:13)
  13. “I’m So Sorry” (1:42)
  14. Fight, Episode 17 (1:15)
  15. The Hallway Sneak / Alex Finds Quellek (2:16)
  16. Angry Sarris / Into the Ducts / Omega 13 / Heroic Guy / Reveal Chompers / Opening the Airlock (3:31)
  17. Big Kiss / Happy Rock Monster / Dying Thermians / Quellek’s Death / Into Reactor Room / Push the Button / A Hug Before Dying (4:08)
  18. Sarris Orders Attack / The Battle (3:34)
  19. Mathesar Takes Command / Sarris Kills Everybody (2:18)
  20. Mathesar, Hero / Goodbye My Friends / Crash Landing (1:45)
  21. Goodbye Sarris / Happy Ending (2:04)
  22. The New Galaxy Quest (0:59)

Released by: La La Land Records
Release date: 2012
Total running time: 53:07

Man On The Moon – music by R.E.M.

Man On The Moon soundtrackThis soundtrack is an odd bird. There’s a smattering of clips from R.E.M.’s film score, a few songs from the band, a couple of performances by Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton, a handful of pieces of source music from significant Kaufman appearances, and one song that doesn’t fit any of these categories but does show up briefly in the movie. I’m sure there’s an audience for each category, but I have to think their intersection is a very small group.

I remember thinking the score did a good job fitting the movie when I saw it, but it’s hard to get much sense of it from any of these clips. Most of them are about two minutes long, so there’s no time for them to really build a mood. I do particularly like “Miracle” and “Milk And Cookies”, which come from the tail end of the film as Kaufman deals with his impending death and his performance at Carnegie Hall – there’s a bittersweet resignation to the music that conveys the sentiment of the plot quite well. An orchestral version of “Man On The Moon” is good, but almost unrecognizable – it was only when I got the DVD-Audio version of Automatic For The People that I recognized a few elements from the song that had made the transition.

The original “Man On The Moon” is one of three R.E.M. performances on the album. Of those, “The Great Beyond” is the only new composition. It’s one of my favorite songs of the band’s three-piece period, thoughtful and mellow but still up-tempo enough to have some energy to it. The guitar-bass-keyboard combo provides an atmospheric backdrop to Michael Stipe’s verses and then kicks into gear with a fuller sound, including some strings, in the choruses. Unfortunately, like almost every other track on this album, it’s marred by the inclusion of dialogue clips from the movie. The third performance, “This Friendly World”, features Carrey singing along with Stipe as both Kaufman and Clifton. It’s amusing, especially when Carrey/Kaufman demands that he and Stipe sing every other word of one verse.

Carrey/Clifton also absolutely butchers “I Will Survive”. Since that’s what he’s setting out to do, I’ll call this one a highly successful failure. “Rose Marie” and “One More Song for You” are original Kaufman performances from the archives, and the man could carry a tune quite well, but they’re probably more memorable for novelty value – “Hey, Latka can sing!” Bob James’ theme from Taxi, “Angela”, fits in rather well with the other instrumental pieces. It’s understated but I think it holds up rather well as one of TV’s most memorable instrumental themes. The Sandpipers’ “Mighty Mouse Theme” is another fun and obvious piece of source music.

As for Exile’s “Kiss You All Over” . . . I got nothin’.

rating: 2 out of 4The problem is that the album is both schizophrenic and short. There’s not enough orchestral music for this to appeal to fans of film scores, there’s not enough comedy for humor fans, and there’s not enough original Kaufman material to appeal to his fans. Once upon a time, the presence of “The Great Beyond” might have made this somewhat worthwhile for R.E.M. fans, but now you can get that song without the film dialogue on the band’s Warner Bros. best-of, and “Man On The Moon” is there as well. But if you’re looking for eclectic eccentricity, this might work for you.

Order this CD

  1. Mighty Mouse Theme (Here I Come to Save the Day) – The Sandpipers (song) (1:53)
  2. The Great Beyond – R.E.M. (song) (5:22)
  3. Kiss You All Over – Exile (song) (3:37)
  4. Angela (Theme from Taxi) – Bob James (instrumental song) (1:27)
  5. Tony Thrown Out – R.E.M. (score) (1:07)
  6. Man on the Moon – R.E.M. (song) (5:13)
  7. This Friendly World – R.E.M. and Jim Carrey (song) (3:03)
  8. Miracle – R.E.M. (score) (2:53)
  9. Lynne and Andy – R.E.M. (score) (1:46)
  10. Rose Marie – Andy Kaufman (song) (2:36)
  11. Andy Gets Fired – R.E.M. (score) (1:07)
  12. I Will Survive – Tony Clifton (song) (1:49)
  13. Milk & Cookies – R.E.M. (score) (1:59)
  14. Man on the Moon (Orchestral) – R.E.M. (score) (1:51)
  15. One More Song for You – Andy Kaufman (score) (1:16)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 1999
Total running time: 37:08

Xevious 3D/G+

Xevious 3D/G+Not really a soundtrack in the strictest sense, this is – like Namco Classics Collection before it – a collection of remixes of background music as heard in Namco’s 3-D update of the classic Xevious arcade game. In many cases, you won’t hear any correlation whatsoever to the music that’s heard in the game – it’s been reworked that much.

Sometimes, as in the mesmerizing “Area 1: MLO Deep Pan Mix”, this is just fine. There are quite a few tracks on here which have an almost hypnotic effect – overall, pretty good standard-issue trance. But the lead 3 out of 4track, “Area 7: Happy-Go-Lucky Mix”, is worthy of skipping every time – it sounds like it’s trying to find a whimsical tone, and it winds up being more annoying than anything.

It may have precious little to do with Xevious, but it’s not a bad listen in and of itself.

Order this CD

  1. Area 7: Happy-Go Lucky Mix mixed by SPAG (6:04)
  2. Area 4: Liquid Groove Mix mixed by SPAG (6:15)
  3. Boss 4: NP Mix mixed by SPAG (4:35)
  4. Area 1: MLO Deep Pan Mix remixed by MLO (8:43)
  5. Boss 7: Berserker’s Fat Beat Mix remixed by Berserker (6:38)
  6. Ending Movie: The Wax Head Mix remixed by The Hypnotist (7:57)
  7. Opening Movie: Dub Struck remixed by The Hypnotist (8:37)
  8. Area 5: Overhead Noise Mix remixed by Overhead Noise (17:20)
  9. Untitled Hidden Track #1 (6:14)
  10. Untitled Hidden Track #2 (4:27)

Released by: Pony Canyon
Release date: 1999
Total running time: 76:52