Soundtracks

If I Stay [OST] (CD)

Beck, Odessa, The Orwells, and many more contribute to the soundtrack of the hit Young Adult tear-jerker, If I Stay. Also includes music by Willamette Stone, the film’s fictitious band fronted by the Adam (Jamie Blackley).

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House of Cards Season 2 [Score] (CD)

Everyone’s favorite twisted political power couple gets soundtracked with an appropriately tense blend of classy orchestration and cosmopolitan electronic touches.

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Chasing Pianos: The Piano Music Of Michael Nyman (CD)

Dazzling pianist Valentina Lisitsa plays the film music of Michael Nyman, including scores from The Piano, Carrington, Gattaca, and more. Full of irresistible energy.

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Magical Mystery Tour [Mono] (LP)

Magical Mystery Tour combines the soundtrack to Beatles third film and singles released earlier in the year. As a whole, the album is an essential piece of the Beatles musical mosaic. While still experimental in sound, most of the new songs see the band returning to their pop glory. Ringo stands out on this one. The title track bursts on the scene with his jump-start backbeat attack. His rolling fills, chunky bass drum and exploding snare turn the seemingly light “Hello Goodbye” into a powerhouse. On George’s hypnotic organ drenched “Blue Jay Way,” Ringo lays down possibly the funkiest beat the Beatles ever recorded. John’s enigmatic “I Am The Walrus” is a psyche-rock classic. The double A-side single “Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane” (released four months before Sgt. Pepper) has never been equaled. The two songs, so different in style, but sharing the theme of an idyllic English yesteryear, highlight the strength of John and Paul as songwriters. “Penny Lane,” with its bouncing rhythm and bright horn accompaniment, would influence scores of Brit-pop hits. “Strawberry Fields Forever” is stunningly beautiful. Starting with a simple flute line and building slowly in density and tempo before lifting off after the repeated last line into a spacey, stuttering parade-like outro, the song demands multiple listens. The grand finale is John’s “Summer Of Love” Zen anthem “All You Need Is Love.” “There’s nowhere you can be, that isn’t where you’re meant to be…it’s easy.”

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Help! [Mono] (LP)

By the summer of '65, the Beatles' new sound had fully formed, and Help! is its debut. The album explodes with the whole band starting at the same time. The urgency on the title track is palpable. The guitar is ahead of itself. The bass and drums are barely hanging on until the song slows just enough to catch up and then race on to its final harmonic plea. Everything here sounds fresh and vibrant. The latin tinged bridge in "The Night Before," the folk shuffle of "I've Just Seen A Face," and the funky organ in "Tell Me What You See" are all new weapons in their arsenal. Only the cover of "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (mad cowbell) sounds close in style to their earlier songs, but it's harder than before, and the sugary sweet love songs "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" and "You Like Me Too Much" are only lyrically like past songs. Two major highlights that preview their entire careers as songwriters are John's acoustic "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" with its introspective lyric and mantra like vocal and Paul's simply beautiful "Yesterday." "Yesterday" would become the most covered song of all time. As great as these songs are, the best is "Ticket To Ride." George's gleaming guitar drops, Ringo's drum roll intro and machine gun breaks and Paul's single note bass line set the table for John's vocals. An absolutely perfect song, showcasing the power of the Beatles as a band firing on all cylinders. But what if they add more cylinders?

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A Hard Day's Night [Mono] (LP)

Starting with the opening chord off George's 12-string guitar it's evident that something new and sonically explosive is on its way. With an entire album of musically modern self-penned songs and the masterful production of George Martin, the Beatles cement their legacy with A Hard Day's Night. It's the sound of a band come of age. The harmonies are richer, the chord changes are more interesting, and the rhythms are hypnotic. Recently developed multi-track recording allowed the band to showcase their creativity and originality. Paul McCartney's melodic craft is on full display in "And I Love Her," "Can't Buy Me Love," and "Things We Said Today," and John Lennon is vocally and lyrically bursting at the seems, writing half the songs. Add George's flawless guitar work and Ringo's rock-steady beats (including awesome cowbell work) and the stage is set. The open-heartedness of "I Should Have Known Better," "I'll Cry Instead," and "If I Fell," the immediacy of "Any Time At All" and "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You," and the strut of "When I Get Home" and "You Can't Do That" make for a defining pop album that leaps from your speakers. 14 love songs that make you forget every other love song. A four-piece band inventing the sound of a four-piece band. A masterpiece. The movie's good too.

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