“Hollywoodland” Soundtrack Review

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Hollywoodland Soundtrack 41. "Superman M E" - 4 of 5: A rendition of the Superman Theme, breaking into somber drums, but brief, very brief. Still, a nice track.

52. "The Great Pretender" - 5 of 5: The Great Pretender is a classic song, and the sound transfer here is incredible. You wouldn't think this came from vinyl. It's just really, really well done. I don't know how they managed to do it. It's also apt, given the subject matter, and a fine opening to the soundtrack beyond the obvious Superman contribution to start it off. I haven't even seen the movie, and the symbolism here is strong and cool.

53. "On the Sunny Side of the Street" - 5 of 5: This is another classic song. I hadn't heard this one before, but I like it. The transfer isn't as great, but it's more of a likeable song, so you don't really care listening. You really get the feeling you're in a diner listening to this, and it makes me think of my college days, when I was big into swing. It's not a fast song, but it's a melancholy, great listen. I'm glad to have encountered it, and it's continuing in the great thematic tone of this soundtrack so far.

54. "Flying Home" - 5 of 5: This song has a heavy bass beat, and is more traditional swing. It's got a "Sing Sing Sing" pace, and though I've never heard this one before either, I'm sure I'll be rotating this on my swing list quite a bit. I don't quite catch the "Flying Home" part of the song, but hey, since it's related to the idea of Supes, fitting the theme, I don't really care. Basically, listening to this song is very easy, and a lot of fun. The soundtrack is firing on all cylinders so far in a very big way if you like good, old music.

Lots of crazy xylophone. And yeah, that's one of George Carlin's phrases you might never have heard before, but it's true. Neat.

25. "Bo Diddley" - 2 of 5: This is a song that "Hand Jive" later ripped off awfully. I keed. It's a bit of a rough transfer, though it is cleaned up. I'm not incredibly fond of the song, which I hadn't heard previously. It's kind of plain, and though it's got that call and response blues feel that I tend to enjoy when done with such passion, it's not really a very strong song for me. I'm sure someone who loves this song will mail me a heart for that, but honestly, that's how I feel on this one.

46. "It's Only Make Believe" - 4 of 5: A clich rhyme scheme, but coupled with a very, very cool vocal background and a classic beat. It's vintage beginning rock and roll, and it builds in a way that makes you forget the lyrics. You gotta have good lyrics or good music to wow me, and both to keep me. I'm wowed. It's like Eels. Horrible, cliche lyrics, great music that moves you. Good voice on the singer, and a decent track. Not incredible, but decent.

37. "El Cumbanchero" - 3 of 5: Listening to this, it sounds like something that might have influenced later David Byrne in the beginning, then becomes a kind of theme for the 60s. It's got some good, neat muted trumpet, and a strong theme, but I'm not exactly sure where it's going beyond typical samba music style, which isn't really my favorite kind of music. A bit too repetitive for me.

58. "Theme For Ernie" - 5 of 5: Coltrane. Enough said.

59. "The Girl Can't Help It" - 5 of 5: The transfer on this is VERY clean. It's a strong, violent, sexual song with a lot of what made early rock so great. It's got a blues and swing tone, more call and response with a very heavy, strong musical sense. I've never heard this song, but again, I'm glad I have. The soundtrack is still really, really incredible.

510. "You're Crying" - 5 of 5: This song is the kind of song I always think of when I'm imagining Bukowski, and living like Bukowski in his bar skid row days, when no one cared about him despite the beauty he carried inside. A fitting song for a George Reeves pic. A slow, somber, bar song that you listen to when you're thinking about things, and thinking of things to write, or why to write, or what to write, or why the heck the girl in the corner won't talk to you. "You're Crying" is a very apt title. It's sad, and tears you up listening to it. That's not a bad thing, that's what music and poetry and movies are supposed to do, by my reckoning. Great track.

311. "Elephant Walk" - 3 of 5: Great piano. A nice, jazzy rendition of the tune. It sounds like a modern version, so if this is a remaster, it's an epic one. A bit too popcorn for my style, I like stuff that rips you around. You could listen to this over a game show, so it's less efficient than it could be. That might also be decades of stereotype speaking, though. Still, George Reeves is Superman in our minds for a reason, so stereotype and typecast is fair to me, even for a song. I can't lament being "the Superman writer" with novels in the bank, because that would not only be foolish, but wrong. Ergo I don't feel bad taking my preconceived notions and putting them on this song. Boy, that was a long explanation...

412. "He Will Break Your Heart" - 4 of 5: This is another great early rock song I'd never heard, with a strong musical line, great vocals, and an astounding sense of heartbreak. The lyrics are a bit stereotypical, but it's also a very, very good song nonetheless.

513. "Fannie Mae" - 5 of 5: This is a great driving song. It's reminiscent of "Help Me, Ronda", but I'm guessing it was around first. The lyrics are strong, blues style, and they're original despite a rhyme scheme, which is hard. You can easily dance to this, even if you're a double left footed putz like me. This one'll grow on you.

314. "At Last" - 3 of 5: This is an instrumental version of the vocal song. I'll be honest, I much prefer the vocal version, but this is a decent, if quiet, instrumental version that still covers the bases. Still, throughout it, you're hearing that voice, so it's missing an essential quality.

4Overall: 4.5 of 5: I'm always looking for good, older music, and the problem is, few of the people who know that music can relate to my tastes and desires, and also, most of it stinks, just like music now, so you've really got to dig to find the gems. It's like explaining the punk group Minor Threat to someone who's never heard of them. If you're into punk rock, unless someone clues you in, you won't find Minor Threat easily, but they're there, and they're great. Now imagine old school hardcore punks were forty-five years older, you'd be much less likely to find the hardly mentioned but beautiful songs in the backdrop of a music scene, which is the stuff I like.

This soundtrack accomplishes finding some of those gems and making them accessible to dumb, ignorant saps like me, while holding a thematic element and keeping your toes tapping. Win.

Honestly, the .5 is for a few weaker tracks, but even the weak tracks are pretty good, and coupled with the others, score a great soundtrack.

If you like old music and intend on seeing the movie, I'd buy this. If you don't like old music, I'd give it a shot used anyway. Well worth owning.

Order the "Hollywoodland" Soundtrack and the "Hollywoodland" Score online from