Monday, October 21, 2013

All the Right Moves (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Matinee Monday.

Today (October 21st) marks the theatrical release of All the Right Moves, the 1983 film starring Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson, Chris Penn and Gary Graham. It is the story of a high school football player in an economically depressed western Pennsylvania town.

In honor of the film’s thirtieth anniversary, we will give a listen to its soundtrack album.

Side one opens with the title track “All the Right Moves”. It is a rather generic mid-tempo duet by Jennifer Warnes and Chris Thompson, one that was starting to become common place on 80’s soundtracks at the time. The lyrics speak to making the correct decisions to better position oneself for the future.

“Last Stand” by Doug Kahan opens with a dramatic synth and guitar accompaniment to Kahan’s gritty vocals. The song takes a real slow build to what you hope is a satisfying climax. For me, it just doesn’t get to the level I was expecting.

“This Could Be Our Last Chance” by Danny Spanos (formerly of the 70’s band Redbone) appears to have a similar theme as the previous song. Here, though, it is more personal as we’re talking about love, and Spanos tries to infuse some passion into his vocals. The results are a bit better.

Next up is the instrumental “Love Theme from ‘All the Right Moves’” by David Campbell. With a slow, soft rhythm, it attempts to capture the innocent trepidation of first love experienced during the teen years. The synth bridge in the middle seems a bit out of place, to me. It totally threw off the whole mood I had been getting up to that point.

On the ballad “Blue Skies Forever”, the UK singer Frankie Miller instantly makes me think of Rod Stewart.

Side two begins with “Unison” by R&B singer Junior. At this point, an up-tempo dance groove is sorely needed; the first half had left me pretty uninspired. I can hear some Michael Jackson Thriller influences at work here.

“Mr. Popularity” by Winston Ford keeps the energy going. I can see how this one fits with Cruise’s youthful good looks and irresistible charm that he exuded through out these films during the early part of his career.

“I Don’t Wanna Go Down” by Roach is next. The song has a bouncy beat and a gutsy girl attitude that I find appealing. I honestly had never heard of this group before doing this review, but I like them.

The album closes with “Hold Me Close To You” by Stephanie Mills, who I think is the biggest name star power on the record. The beautiful piano ballad allows her voice to soar above the rest of the pack here.

I do not think I ever saw All the Right Moves, even on late night cable movie channels. The film only grossed $17 million at the box office, a lot better than Cruise’s first male lead spot in Losin’ It from April of 1983 (it only made $1.2 million) but not as good as Risky Business (which pulled over $63 million) from August of that same year.

Similarly, I did not know a soundtrack album existed either. Going through the record, though, I have to say that I am thankful for side 2 which really saved it from being a complete disaster. If I had seen the film and had bought the vinyl, for whatever reason, I likely would have only played the second half on repeated listens.

No comments: