Quigley Down Under interprets the modern Western score from a distinctly Australian perspective. Basil Poledouris' aw-shucks melodies and quirky arrangements employ French horn, banjo, and clarinet to create a vivid evocation of gunslinger life in the Outback. While Lonesome Dove remains Poledouris' definitive work in the Western arena, Quigley Down Under possesses no shortfall of charm or imagination; its playful approach bubbles with an energy quite uncommon to the genre, avoiding portent and ponderousness to communicate the joie de vivre of its characters and setting. Most impressive is Poledouris' stirring main theme, a bold, oddly funky reinvention of the classic Western fanfare that immediately serves notice that Quigley Down Under is a horse of a very different color.
Joel Schumacher's 1987 film The Lost Boys capitalized on a temporary lull in horror movies in the late '80s and created a heavily music-video-influenced vampire homage with enough campy humor, heavy metal costumes, and hunky stars to put a fresh spin on the genre. An amusing piece of eye candy spiked by a few creepy moments, the movie, in typical '80s style, relies heavily on the soundtrack to bolster its emotional core. The soundtrack, like the film, works great on the surface – but don't go much deeper. A mix of covers and bombastic '80s pop originals, the songs work best when they concentrate on the horror factor. Echo & the Bunnymen turn in an excellent cover of the Doors' "People Are Strange" that has a bouncier, more melodic touch than the original. Jimmy Barnes and INXS' "Good Times" is an energetic rocker used to personify the party-hardy SoCal atmosphere of the film. The strongest song is the movie's theme, "Cry Little Sister," a goth-influenced midtempo ballad.
Footloose was a throwback to '50s rock & roll movies, with a silly plot about a town where it was illegal to dance. It was a major hit, as was its soundtrack, which spent a grand total of ten weeks at number one and sold over seven million copies. It's easy to see why – the album delivers its mainstream pop, anthemic rock, and light dance-pop with style and an abundance of hooks. Six of the nine tracks became Top 40 hits, and three – Kenny Loggins' bouncy title song, the excellent power ballad "Almost Paradise" (a duet between Loverboy's Mike Reno and Heart's Ann Wilson), and Deniece Williams' frothy, charming "Let's Hear It for the Boy" – shot into the Top Ten. The sound and production of Footloose has dated badly – there is a reliance on synthesizers and drum machines that instantly announces that the record was made in 1984 – but that isn't necessarily a weakness. Not only does it function as a time capsule of a certain moment in pop music history, but many of the songs are catchy enough to transcend their production. There's nothing of substance on the Footloose soundtrack, but it's a light, entertaining listen. Sometimes, that can be better than something substantial.
Country singers rule this soundtrack of Elvis Presley covers, which is every bit as flawed, frivolous and fun as the film from whence it came. While Billy Joel parodies "All Shook Up" and "Heartbreak Hotel," John Mellencamp labors to avoid parodying "Jailhouse Rock," and U2's Bono transforms "Can't Help Falling in Love" into an obsessive parable about hero worship, folks like Ricky Van Shelton and Trisha Yearwood just sit back and sing the things, which at least makes them pleasant after more than one plaing. Dwight Yoakam's power-chord-country version of "Suspicious Minds" and Travis Tritt's "Burning Love" rank with their best remakes. Breaking the trend are pop crooner Bryan Ferry, who sings a seductive British soul version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and the usually trustworthy Vince Gill, whose Pat Boone-style rendition of Arthur Crudup's classic blues "That's All Right" cleans up the grammar.