Director William Friedkin knows a thing or two about innovative, genre-bending film scores. He commissioned edgy modern-jazz player Don Ellis for his classic The French Connection and reworked Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" into the haunting soundtrack for the blockbuster The Exorcist. But even veteran film buffs were surprised when Friedkin turned the scoring chores for his taut 1985 forgery-ring thriller To Live and Die in LA over to British pop stars Wang Chung. Though they're still best known for their perennial rock-of-the-'80s hits "Dancehall Days," "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," and "Let's Go," Friedkin's early admiration for the band's often underrated musicality paid off with a tense, rhythmic soundscape that crystallized the era and locale of the film. And, though synth-pop has gained ill repute as a cheesy 1980s cliché, this album ably proves that it could rise above its stereotype in dramatic fashion. The Jack Hues-sung title track was also a minor pop hit. --Jerry McCulley
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
William Friedkin purportedly chose Wang Chung to score his movie "To Live and Die in LA" because of their "Dance Hall Days", which was an excellent album. Wang Chung's score is definitive 80's, using the same new wave sound that got over during the early days of MTV. Many argue that this is one of the greatest soundtrack albums ever made, and, I got to say, it deserves to be in the conversation.
The two tracks that buoy this release are the hit single, "To Live and Die in LA", and "Wait". Both songs have a strong lead and quick, repetitive lyrics that work well bridging from fast, pulsing beats and more languid, suave refrains. "Wake Up, Stop Dreaming" is the surprise of the album and has the best lyrics on the disc.
The second half of the disc is mostly music extensions from scenes in the movie. The songs are a bit long and the continuous motifs get old after a while but are still worthwhile. If you like new wave music, than this is an easy decision.
The director of this film decided on a lark to ask Wang Chung to produce the score, after hearing their song "Wait". He told them that he listened to the lyrics and was struck by how subtle and meaningful the song was, and that this was what he wanted to encapsulate in his film.
He had never met the duo, and they had never made a soundtrack, but the Wang Chung duo was inspired by the director's enthusiasm. Get this CD now, and enjoy the various tracks that bring the eighties back to life.
My favorite tracks are "City of Angels", "Wake Up Stop Dreaming", and the title track. The last one was made after the director specifically told Wang Chung he did not want a song named after the movie, but they made it and played it for him. He liked it so much that he filmed an entire opening sequence of the Secret Service stopping a terrorist just so "To Live and Die in LA" could be played in full.
This 1985 film had a Pre-"C.S.I." William Petersen & a Pre-"Spiderman" Willem DaFoe who were at the time.. unknown, however their performances in this film proved the stars they would become, but the real highlight is this film's soundtrack, recorded by the then popular Wang Chung, whose score with this soundtrack has some of the best memorable tunes that still hold up to this day, these tunes define the film well & are still good today, whether you like the film or not, the soundtrack is awesome.
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