The Transformers - The Movie

Soundtrack

Scotti Bros., 1986

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/23/2004

[Editor's note: There's no way The Daily Vault could expect its readers to read a scholarly analysis on The Transformers - The Movie soundtrack while keeping a straight face (the humor coming either intentionally or unintentionally from the writer). It would be like Harper's magazine reviewing the latest Star Trek novel (though we're most likely not Harper's -quality authors, but what do they know about music anyway?). So, after some debate, it was agreed the best way to review this album would be to put the text in the form of the nerdiest form of literature in existence: fan-fiction (basically, fans writing episodes for shows like The X-Files or Star Wars instead of the show/genre creators). Proceed at your own risk.]

1:47 p.m.

Spike Witwicky was well aware of the 2 p.m. deadline he and his robot friend, Jazz had to meet. If they failed to produce a great piece of music to be the backdrop of Autobot leader Optimus Prime's speech to the world, the Autobots would likely be exiled to space on orders from world leaders. CTU agents Jack Bauer and President Palmer, of the United States, warned Spike that if the soundtrack behind Optimus Prime's speech was cheesy, weak and basically lame, regardless of the nostalgia the music would invoke from listeners, the balance of power would fall into the evil Decepticon's hands. Heroic robot Jazz was in his Porsche mode with Spike driving through the busy Manhattan streets.

"Spike, we must use the soundtrack to Transformers - The Movie. The movie defined who we were and is a certified cult favorite. The soundtrack itself still moves copies on Amazon and Ebay. And on top of that, special agent Fox Mulder said it was one of his favorite CDs to listen to while searching for alien life in rural Nebraska."

Spike nervously wiped sweat off of his neck and pressed Jazz's brake, not wanting to get pulled over with the weight of the world on his shoulder for the next 13 minutes.

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"Yes, but …"

Jazz cut him off.

"And -- the lyrics are inspirational for virtually all of the songs. The opening song, 'The Touch,' by Stan Bush is about achieving despite overwhelming odds. Bush's other song, 'Dare' has a great build up of drumming, synth and guitars to the memorable chorus 'Dare, dare to believe you can survive' -- it's as inspiring as any Christian rock song in recent memory." Jazz paused thoughtfully as his internal systems told him to pull off on the next exit, "And I've heard so many kids and adults say they automatically associate scenes in Transformers - The Movie with the music."

Spike nodded compassionately. He understood Jazz's blind optimism, but his years of working on oil rigs alerted him to a far more prevalent trait of human behavior: cynicism. "Agreed, Jazz, but association doesn't make a song great. I remember the song 'Dance Hall Days' by Wang Chung, not because of its great song structure, but because a jock pushed me into a punch bowl during the back-to-school dance while that song was playing." He continued, "This wasn't like Magnolia or The Graduate where music was the centerpiece of scenes. The songs in Transformers - The Movie are rife with virtually every stereotype of pedestrian hard rock: overuse of synthesizers, shrill, lyrics like 'you gotta fight/never surrender/don't give up,' which sound like they were ripped from signs high school coaches hang in lockers. These songs were played while everyone's favorite characters in their favorite after-school cartoon were getting killed in the movie." Spike clinched his teeth and concluded, "Plus, non-Transformers fans will recognize Stan Bush's song 'The Touch' as the song that Mark Wahlberg sang in Boogie Nights during his fall from grace -- they won't associate it with inspiration." Spike formed his concluding argument: "If we could use something that could combine cheesiness and heart better, maybe the Chemical Brothers or The Flaming Lips -- their Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi period..."

"No, no, Spike. We have to play by the rules, we can't play anything before 1986, when this soundtrack was released, for the United Nations. We gotta use the same resources and inspiration the soundtrack creators had at that time." Jazz pleaded, "Besides, it has Weird Al Yankovic's 'Dare to be Stupid.' No geek soundtrack is complete without a Weird Al song."

The United Nations came within the view. Spike white-knuckled the steering wheel. He knew the soundtrack sucked. But he couldn't convince people not to buy it. Whether he liked it or not, most people who owned the soundtrack knew they were getting cheese - and they didn't seem to mind. They even liked it. Maybe the soundtrack wasn't meant to be an artistic statement like Magnolia, Trainspotting or even South Park - Bigger, Louder and Uncut. He grabbed Jazz's smart-looking receiver and spoke to Mulder, President Palmer, Jean Grey and Scully, "The Autobots are going to use their soundtrack as a backdrop to Optimus Prime's speech. I have exhausted all means of debate. The soundtrack is a sentimental favorite. But, I will be on record against this soundtrack -- despite the fact that, yes, if you watch the movie -- it will be nearly impossible to keep these songs out of your head for literally decades, that doesn't change the fact that the soundtrack sucks. In fact… on a grade scale…I would have to give it a…"

C-

1:59:58 1:59:59 2:00:00 …

Rating: C-

Rating: TBD

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2004 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Scotti Bros., and is used for informational purposes only.