The Sound Of Gran Turismo


The Right Stuff Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Reviewing soundtracks to movies that I've not seen is a difficult enough challenge - but what about reviewing the soundtrack to a videogame that I don't even own the system for?

Yet, there I found myself, listening to The Sound Of Gran Turismo, and even without the benefit of a Sony Playstation (no, this is not a plug featuring me begging for a product - the wife will kill me if I bring one more electronic toy into the apartment), one can get a feel for what the action of the game is like. I understand, 'cause I've been religiously playing Test Drive 5 for my PC... but I guess I shouldn't talk about the competition.) The soundtrack is a virtual smorgasbord of alternative and electronica, but more often than not, this disc takes off from the starting line.

At the absolute least, The Sound Of Gran Turismomy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 is a great primer for some bands whom you might not be familiar with. Groups like Ash ("Lose Control"), Placebo ("Bruise Pristine") and Feeder ("Shade," "Sweet 16") all shine on this disc, seeming to mromise a lot more enjoyment if you take the time to check out their own respective albums. Likewise, Garbage - a band I've not been overly impressed with in my limited exposure to - pleasantly surprises me with "As Heaven Is Wide", and Blur comes through with a drag-race of a song, "Chinese Bombs".

In some cases, however, the material just fails to impress. Groups like Terrorvision ("Conspiracy"), Bentley Rhythm Ace ("Whoosh") and Philadelphia Bluntz ("Sister Sister") all include songs that I could have easily lived without - even if I can get an idea as to how they fit into the gameplay. (For that matter, the interaction with the game itself could explain how these songs were chosen.)

In still other cases, the material is very much dependent on your personal tastes. I don't know why David Bowie's "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" was chosen over some of his other work, but I can't say this was my favorite work I've heard from his catalog. Likewise, groups like Fluke ("Atom Bomb") and Idlewild ("A Film For The Future") don't impress me, but the performances are by no means wretched. And Cubanate strikes out with one offering ("Industry"), but shines on a second ("Skeletal").

The suggestion is made that this disc be slapped on at high volume while you play the video game. Again, not having tried the game, I don't know if it enhances your adrenalin rush or it helps to distract you as you get tagged into the wall by the computer. But, can't hurt to try - and as long as you plan on being parked in front of the Playstation for a while (and have built up the necessary callouses), then this 73-minute album will probably seem to fly by. (Even without the game, it seemed to be a quick listen.)

The Sound Of Gran Turismo is not your typical soundtrack, nor is it your typical experience listening to a soundtrack. But you don't have to be a videogame junkie or even a car buff to enjoy some of the material on this disc. But be warned: Just like the price of gas at the local Shell station, your level of pleasure with the music can go up or down at the drop of a hat.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen 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 The Right Stuff Records, and is used for informational purposes only.