Mon. May 20th, 2024

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Album Review: Rush – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

3 min read

As Rush, a biopic based on the 1970’s rivalry between European Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, opens in cinema’s around the world, its soundtrack also sees its release this month.

RushSoundtrackFor anyone hoping at this point for a compilation of high-octane seventies rock, you may be disappointed. Whilst there are a handful of tunes from rock acts from the UK and Ireland who were prominent in the era, most of the soundtrack consists of Hans Zimmer’s score. However, Zimmer is aware of the sounds that audiences might be expecting in a film of this nature and as such has made sure to add some overdriven guitar breaks to his trademark blend of industrial electronic sounds and string arrangements. Good examples are the tracks I Could Show You If You Like and 20%, the latter of which rumbles along in a way that is suspiciously similar to Led Zeppelin’s song Rock and Roll.

The film’s music, however, does not seem so concerned with racing culture but instead seems to focus on the energy of the sport and the danger its participants put themselves in. The score moves with speed, and at times a sense of freedom, but for the most part the record also rolls along with disconcertion, listeners sharing with drivers the knowledge that in this arena it only takes a split second for something to go horribly wrong. And when something does go wrong on screen, it is just as vivid in the music; we don’t need to refer to the titles of tracks to know when it is that Niki Lauda has the horrific crash that leaves him with third-degree burns among other injuries.

Zimmer is a master at inducing certain feelings and, given his track record, mention of his name alone should be enough to enlighten readers to the fact that this film has a quality score. You can even get a sense of the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda simply by listening to the music. The soundtrack opener 1976, for instance, has a kind of tension that makes me think of two cowboys facing off in an old western, not making any sudden movements, but not letting their fingers stray far from their hip holsters either. Trade fingers for feet, and holsters for gas pedals, and you have Rush.

In case there are some readers still holding out for discussion of the ‘70s rock acts that I touched on before, I can assure that an attempt has been made by the soundtrack’s producers to make up for the small quantity with quality. Names include the likes of David Bowie, Steve Winwood, Thin Lizzy, Dave Edmunds and Mud, and their music adds some light-hearted fun and distraction from the seriousness that characterizes the majority of the score.

The soundtrack to Rush is a success from the starting line to the chequered flag, and if the high profiles of the artists featured on the album are any indication of the quality of the film, then it will surely be one not to miss.

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