Angelo Badalamenti

Blue Velvet: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Fire)

Fire

Nov 27, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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One wonders if it ever rankles Angelo Badalamenti that so many of his sonic signatures are hung with the sobriquet "Lynchian." I guess Badalamentian doesn't roll off the tongue quite the same? I don't deny that the composer's contributions to David Lynch's films are all the product of collaboration and direction, and the music is carefully designed to commingle with the director's signature blend of syrupy melodrama, creeping terror, and gonzo surrealism, but let's give the guy behind the piano a little credit, shall we? 

Revisiting the duo's first collaboration for Lynch's 1986 benchmark, though, one is struck by how little of the score resembles the sounds most closely associated with the duo's work together. Yes, there are bits of molasses-drip synth wash and Pink Room R&B sleaze to be found here, but most of the Blue Velvet soundtrack is given over to Shostakovich-by-way-of-John-Barry orchestral pastiche, peppered here and there with the baroque pop songs featured in some of the film's most haunting scenes. That's hardly a criticism, as that approach works so splendidly in context, helping to make the film feel like a timeless, singular piece of film noir. Still, while Blue Velvet will likely remain among Lynch's most lauded work for some time to come, the soundtrack as a separate listening experience suffers a bit for hedging its bets away from the idiosyncrasies Badalamenti would reveal in later collaborations. (www.angelobadalamenti.com)

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