Spin #87 : LA LA Land : OST
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #87
Welcome to our 87th Sunday drop from the R'nR with Rylo collection! It was a little bit tricky this week with the MWSP and I'm not sure how many of you correctly guessed it. We are spinning the soundtrack to the movie, 'LA LA Land' which was released in 2016. It's also another film score that was composed by Justin Hurwitz (he also did 2014's 'Whiplash', which we also reviewed - click here to read our 20th Spin). Although I much prefer 'Whiplash' because of the drumming, there is a lot to like about 'LA LA Land'. If you have dabbled with tickling the ivories then you'll enjoy following along with Sebastian's story arc. I didn't remember this fact until looking deeper, but this film received 6 Oscar wins!
I was away for some of the week for work and yes, I was affected by the Optus outage!!! It definitely made my job harder and wasn't a good feeling being far away from home with contact issues. I read that Ryan Gosling learnt to play the piano for the film (not sure if he had any background of playing, but impressive after seeing the movie). For that reason, I will be listening to this one through the loungin set-up of our Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508) with 4 x Sherwood bookshelf speakers. I think the jazz elements on the record will benefit from the wider range speakers. Put on your dancing shoes as we get ready to spin our 87th Sunday Drop!
Image: Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling
It's time to #dropthestylus on this energetic and fun soundtrack from the mid-2010's.
I actually found the movie ticket for this one because it was in the record jacket and fell out when I took out the LP. I remember the beginning of this film because Night Kat Kiz and I were running late for the movie. As we sat down we were hit with the first scene and I remember looking at her and going...."what the hell have we walked into?". If you haven't seen it then I'd like you to imagine Los Angeles bumper to bumper traffic and people actually smiling/singing. Both of us hadn't read up on any reviews about the movie and were shocked at first. I can honestly say that my least favourite song on the soundtrack is this first one, but by the end of the movie we walked out of the cinema happy. The fact that we ended up buying the record that we are now spinning means it must have been pretty good.
The opening song is very upbeat and there are some bright spots on 'ANOTHER DAY OF SUN', but it's just not my jam. If you are like me and not really loving this song - trust me, it gets better. We have only watched this movie again once since going to the cinema. Spinning the record lets your mind travel back to the scenes within movie and listening to it sounds a bit better than watching it again. The cast do a great job singing and dancing to this but the album doesn't come alive until Emma Stone sings on the follow up song, 'SOMEONE IN THE CROWD'. Did you know that she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Mia? I didn't. I was shocked to learn that Ryan Gosling was only nominated and didn't take home the prize. I feel that his added piano playing by the character Sebastian should have seen him clinch the Oscar. Stone sings with a few of her room mates as they are living in LA and waiting for auditions to make it big in Hollywood. The double bass is something that really adds to any form of jazz and is has an uplifting finish.
'MIA & SEBASTIAN'S THEME' is a lovely piece of piano that is timeless and is really engaging. Something that I could listen to over and over in order to relax. It would also be something that I would love to learn how to play. Imagine being such a talented pianist and they have you playing Christmas carols in a restaurant. This is the piece of music that Seb plays during that scene, knowing that he will be fired. It was burning him not being able to play and I understand that level of passion that he must have felt. The moment stops the room and makes him re-adjust his life's direction. Sometimes you need to take chances and that's exactly what he did.
There was moment which made Wednesday night, 'A LOVELY NIGHT'. I was having a video chat with Night Kat Kiz and our two wonderful children. Our son asked me if Bluey had been talking to me in my dreams. I said to him, "Yeah mate, how come?". He said, "I've been telling Bluey to talk to you in your dreams while you away. Wishing you good dreams". This is the moment where both lead characters are strolling up the heights of LA, looking out over the skyline as the sun drops. It makes them dance which reminded me of a modern version of something Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds (Singin' in the Rain - 1952). They have a lot of chemistry and the clarity of this pressing is incredibly good. I noticed though that my copy has a chip out of the outer wax that occurred during manufacture. There was no loose piece in my sealed copy of blue wax and that tells me that it occurred whilst the outer trimming of wax takes place at the plant. Does it make it kind of a special copy? I don't know but its pretty cool and something that I'd never seen before on a pressing.
Hard Bop Jazz anyone? Next piece of music is called 'HERMAN'S HABIT' and is straight up my kind of number. I love this and would imagine that this is the piece of music that would get everyone up and dancing. Sadly it is very short but the musicians are so well crafted in their sound and tempo. If you like hard bop sounding Jazz, then you need to listen to some of the Blue Note output from the late '50s and early '60s. It flows nicely into the somber sounding tune of Gosling's, 'CITY OF STARS'. The composition of this song by Hurwitz seems simple enough but sometimes that simplicity makes a deeper impact. This song is about an artist keeping positive about their dreams and the ongoing pursuit of that said dream. It's important in this movie and important for all of you to keep your passion alive for whatever you desire to do.
The last track on Side A is called, 'PLANETARIUM' and it takes place after the failed viewing of 'Rebel without a cause' at the cinema. The leads recreate that movie by visiting the Griffith Observatory. It honestly made Night Kat Kiz and I excited to watch some of our favourite musical movies again and the oncoming onslaught of Christmas movies. We make Christmas begin on the 3rd of December (one day after our little boys birthday) and don't start watching Christmas movies until then. I saw recently that people have schedule to watch a movie each night for the months of November and December - too much for us. This piece of music has the grand finish and was a great choice for the conclusion of Side A. What have you thought so far about this soundtrack?
Once again the double bass makes a welcome return during 'SUMMER MONTAGE/MADELINE'. We enjoyed the the summery sounds of this piece of music and it is a happy moment in the movie too. Speaking of stars for our next song, I was flying back home this week for work and waiting at the airport for the flight. After a few delays I was sitting at the gate with my hands behind my head. I looked over to the gate and noticed that walking onto my plane was none other than Motley Crue and Def Leppard. Tommy Lee looked over to me, I looked back at him and he realised with a smile that I knew who he was. I gave him the head nod, trying not to draw more attention to them and he gave me the head nod/tilt back. It was a very cool moment. Thankfully in non-rock and roll fashion, the plane landed safely during the storm after flying around for 50 minutes extra. Lightning strikes out the window on a plane was something else and thankfully here to write about it. On this song, 'CITY OF STARS' it is the same song again but with both of them singing a duet and adding their characters love for each other to the piece of music. At this moment it seems like they are at the peak of their happiness and excited for what is still to come.
Sadly what starts off as a lucrative deal for Sebastian in joining his old friends band, ends up being the safe option. Mia understands after attending the concert that this is the moment he played it safe and put a stop to his passion of owning a jazz club. 'START A FIRE' is a great song with John Legend taking centre stage. It is an attempt at bringing Jazz into the modern age to attract the younger crowd. Our son was boogieing along to his song especially, so it had the desired effect. It's the opposite style of Jazz that Seb likes to play passionately and took him a while to realise.
Even though we only just watched the movie again, I can't remember what scene this music was played. 'ENGAGEMENT PARTY' is such a sad piece of music and that is the point that Hurwitz wants to get across. The movie and score towards the end are all pretty sad to be honest. The next one is called 'AUDITION (THE FOOLS WHO DREAM)' and it has Stone firstly talking during the audition. It is probably her moment that she clinched the award for Best Actress. The piano playing accompanying her is lovely. "Here's to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem. Here's to the hearts that ache, Here's to the mess we make".
This longer song is a medley of numbers heard throughout the entire film. 'EPILOGUE/THE END' goes for over 7 minutes and throughout the movie you can hear where this has been used. Having this piece of music at the end of the film brings everything together and is a nice but very very sad moment. I was thinking of the moment where Mia tells Seb that she doesn't like Jazz and you can see his brain explode. Then he goes into all the different styles and explains that you can't just say you hate Jazz as there are so many styles. That scene made me laugh a lot as it made me think of when I was explaining some music or sport to Night Kat Kiz. I get very passionate when someone wants to learn or talk about things that I am passionate about. The last part of this piece of music has so much emotion behind it before finally ending.
The ending of this movie is cruel because it shows you the life that both of them would have had together. Instead, you are left to see them thriving on their own paths but separately. He ends up changing the name of the club from his original idea of 'Chicken on a Stick' to Mia's idea. This shows her that after all this time he still loved her and thought about her. They lock eyes after his final performance and it makes you think a lot. Does it have a happy ending? I guess Mia became an actress and all the fame that came with it. This lead her to starting a family and finding someone else. Seb left the band where his heart wasn't in it to follow his original dream of owning a Jazz club but it isn't known if he found love. 'CITY OF STARS (HUMMING)' has Stone humming along with the main tune of the film to conclude this motion picture soundtrack. Did you end up liking the soundtrack by the end like we did? A movie or vinyl to put on once in a while and make you feel something.
Thanks for taking the time again this Sunday and listening to 'LA LA Land'. I hope that you enjoyed the music with some R'nR. If you haven't made yourself a nice cuppa, then make sure you go and boil the ketta now. Our children are ready for another one and check out the MWSP clues coming up on Wednesday at our usual time of 4:50PM (EDT). In the mean time, hug your loved ones and appreciate those special moments together.
"I'm letting life hit me until it gets tired. Then I'll hit back. It's a classic rope-a-dope" - Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who love playing piano and be Kind to your Wax!
JUSTIN HURWITZ, MARIUS DE VRIES, STEVEN GIZICKI
SPEED PLAYED AT
33 1/3 RPM
WHIPLASH- OST (JUSTIN HURWITZ)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLUE LP WITH A PRESSING PLANT CHUNK OUT OF THE OUTER DEAD WAX, NIL PIECE WAS FOUND WITHIN THE PACKAGING SO IT HAPPENED AT THE PLANT, INSERT WITH TRACK ARRANGEMENTS
"City of stars, Are you shining just for me? City of stars, There's so much that I can't see. Who knows? Is this the start of something wonderful and new? Or one more dream that I cannot make true?" ~ City of Stars - Side A
LP / SIDE
ANOTHER DAY OF SUN
SOMEONE IN THE CROWD
MIA & SEBASTIAN'S THEME
A LOVELY NIGHT
CITY OF STARS (RYAN GOSLING)
CITY OF STARS (RYAN GOSLING, EMMA STONE)
START A FIRE
AUDITION (THE FOOLS WHO DREAM)
CITY OF STARS (HUMMING)
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) playing his song