Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Music of DC Comics: 75th Anniversary Collection

This is a great concept.  For DC Comics 75th Anniversary, they've gathered together a collection of music from many of the movies and television shows starring the heroes of the DC Universe.

The album starts off with 7 tracks from various versions of Superman and Superboy, followed by 7 tracks of Batman music, 5 different themes from the Justice League (including the Super Friends), and then more solo themes for the individual heroes such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Plastic Man and others.

Now, I figured there would be a lot of notable exceptions.  For example, the Smallville theme song "Save Me" by Remy Zero isn't there, but the end credits theme from seasons 8-10 is, and it's a much more rare piece of music, so that works for me.  And presumably it costs them less than "Save Me" would have.  But I wouldn't have expected staples like the classic TV theme for "Adventures of Superman" to be missing.

Also, very few of these are clean versions.  Now I realize there's probably no surviving isolated audio track from the 1960's Filmation cartoons to pull from, but I would have thought we could have gotten a version of "Lois & Clark" without the sound effects left in.  Often the end theme for the TV series was the same as the opening theme but without the voice overs, so in a lot of cases using those would have made a much better choice.  (Especially with "Legends of the Super Heroes."  I loved that theme music as a kid, and here it's pretty much drowned out here by the voice over and sound effects.)  But these are all pulled from the openings, and after eight or nine tracks in a row of a dramatic voice over, it starts to sound pretty monotonous.

But this collection does have quite a few gems on here; the aforementioned "Smallville Season 8," which is still being used for the end titles and which I never would have been able to appreciate if I hadn't started watching Smillville online; "Green Lantern: First Flight," which I've already gone on record as having really liked, so it's now wonderful to own it; the end titles to the Wonder Woman animated movie; and of course, the classics such as John Williams' "Superman" movie theme, and the Wonder Woman TV theme. 

The Batman TV theme is on here, but it's the album version instead of the TV version, which means its missing the trumpet blasts that were used in the opening "Sock! Pow! Zok!" sequence.  Now that may seem like I'm contradicting myself, but in this case those were musical notes and, to me, an important part of the song.  The Batmobile sound effect at the end of the opening, by contrast, is not.  So they get points for including what they felt was the best version of the song, even though I'm personally disappointed that version never included those notes.

And really, to be fair, I'm sure they felt that by picking all the openings, they were picking the versions everyone wanted to hear; as I've said before, no one plans to put out a disappointing product.  I just think if this was intended to be about The Music of DC Comics, they should have forgone the dialogue and tried for as many fully instrumental versions as they could.

So all in all I can't recommend it as an album, but it is a  good source if you want to cherry pick your favorites from Amazon, eMusic or iTunes.

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