CD Review: The Warriors Limited Edition Soundtrack

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When soundtrack to The Warriors was originally released, fans of the movie were kind of getting a bum deal. That’s because while it did include all the original songs that were composed for the film, it only featured a brief eight minutes of the movie’s iconic score, spread out across three short tracks. For a film with such a memorable and unique original score, it always seemed like a missed opportunity.

Thankfully, after 30+ years, La La Land Records have stepped up to fix this historic oversight with their new limited edition re-issue of The Warriors soundtrack. This new expanded and remastered edition features the original soundtrack album in its entirety, as well as the complete original score, with some unreleased material thrown in for good measure.

It kicks ass.

This new CD is split into two parts, first the original soundtrack is presented as it was when it was first released in 1979, with the complete score and unreleased material serving as the second half of the album. I feel that both sections are worth talking about separately.

As a time capsule of its era, and as an attempt to capture the feeling of the film,the original soundtrack still holds up quite well despite its obvious limitations. Sure, it may only feature a smattering of material from the score, but it chose the right parts, going for the high-energy and manic opening theme and the chase music from the middle of the film, while forgoing the more ambient and moody selections.

Accompanying the score highlights are songs of the era, some previously released and some recorded especially for the film. Of these, the most famous is probably Joe Walsh’s “In The City,” which was actually co-written by the film’s composer Barry DeVorzon. While most Eagles-related material has aged about as well as the Eagles themselves, “In The City” sounds just as good now as it did 33 years ago, and it perfectly captures the feeling of the film with its pessimistic-yet-hopeful lyrics and sound.  Arnold McCuller’s frantic and intense cover of “Nowhere To Run,” and Desmond Child’s Springsteen-esque “Last of an Ancient Breed” also stand the test of time quite well. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Ismael Miranda and Kenny Vance’s “In Havana,” or “Love Is A Fire” by Genya Ravan, but they still work in the context of the film, and are evocative of the era it was made.

The original soundtrack is great, but as far as I’m concerned it’s just the appetizer for the main course on this disc, which is the complete original score. Taken as a complete piece, with no pop songs serving to break up its momentum or flow, the rhythmic intensity of Barry DeVorzon’s largely synthesized score really becomes apparent. It paints a great picture of the NYC that the film is trying to convey, a dark dystopia devoid of hope and freedom,  and it also conveys the desperation and paranoia of The Warriors as they race to get back home to Coney Island. At the same time, most of it also works as a great standalone piece of music, something that one might enjoy even if they have no knowledge of the film (which would be a damn shame).

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The music of The Warriors is fantastic, and thankfully La La Land Records have treated it with the respect it deserves, not only giving the fans the original soundtrack alongside the score, but remastering it all beautifully as well. If you’re a fan of The Warriors, then you owe it to yourself to snag a copy of this limited edition release before they’re all gone (only 3,000 were produced). It’s an amazing CD, and a standout example on how to re-release a score in a way that will make fans of the original happy. Simply a must own item.

 

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