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Angel Official Soundtrack - Scifi.com Review

By A.L. Sirois

Thursday 23 June 2005, by Webmaster

Angel: Live Fast, Die Never

The devil is in the details in this collection of music from five years of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff

* Angel: Live Fast, Die Never
* Rounder Records
* Total disc time: 1:19:09
* MSRP: $17.98

Angel, the spinoff of the late, lamented program Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was almost as popular as its parent. It was canceled in the spring of 2004, even though devoted fans worked hard to reverse the network’s decision. They hosted blood drives and eventually raised more than $20,000, but, sadly, none of that saved the show.

Our Pick: A-

Now, however, a year later, the soundtrack album has been released. And it’s been well worth the wait. The majority of Live Fast, Die Never is comprised of highlights from some of the best episodes the five-year series. It gets off to a very strong start with an extended and "rocked-up" version of the show’s title theme, performed by Darling Violetta with added vocals. The tune evokes some of the stronger cuts from the legendary Fairport Convention. Series music supervisor John C. King has said that he was after a sound that was "Smashing Pumpkins meets Batman ... cello rock."

Most of what follows has been culled from season two, with a substantial sprinkling of cues from season two, some from season one, and one or two from seasons five and three. They alternate between strong martial passages reminiscent of James Horner’s bravura score for Aliens and gentler, elegiac cues of surprising emotional depth.

One of the best of the former type is "Massive Assault" from season two, which played out under an attack of zombies. Cue five, "Home," exemplifies the second sort. It’s highlighted by a lovely flute part that underscores Angel’s sense of loss in the season-four finale as he watches Connor, his son, settle happily into a new life, no longer remembering his old one-or his father.


Angel’s musical score was composed by Robert J. Kral, who wrote more than 2,200 minutes of music for the show. In addition to Kral’s music and the theme, there are a couple of licensed tunes on the disc: Vast’s "Touched" and Kim Richey’s "A Place Called Home." There are also three original cast performances, one by Christian Kane (Lindsey) and two by Andy Hallet (Lorne, the karaoke-singing demon). Kane sings "LA Song," written by show co-creator David Greenwalt, which benefits from sounding very much like a Tracy Chapman performance. Andy Hallet belts out "Lady Marmalade" and brings a nice jazz feel to the old Muppets fave "It’s Not Easy Being Green." This Angel is far from fallen

Kral’s cues really sound very theatrical, much better than anyone would expect for a television show. The music swings effortlessly between action cues and delicate, sorrowful moments. The samples are very well produced, with strong brasses and elegant strings. Kral really takes the mandate of the series-the epic spiritual battle Here Below between good and evil-and runs with it. The use of licensed songs adds even more depth and some occasional humor.

What’s not to like? Well, die-hard fans may quibble about the alterations done to the show’s theme, but this reviewer was tapping his toe within moments of the cue’s beginning.

With so much music available for choosing, Robert Kral has said: "Many of the tracks included were edited into suites comprising several cues and sometimes several episodes." Frankly, he’s done-wait for it-a hell of a job. While much had to be sacrificed to keep the disc within sneezing distance of an hour’s run time, fans will note that there is a plethora of material from the Pylea and Darla arcs. Although some may miss music from their own favorite episodes, the good news is that there’s a lot more material to choose from for any future soundtrack discs from the series.

A quality effort all around, Angel: Live Fast, Die Never will please the legions of the show’s fans who have been waiting for something to remember the show by.

Perhaps the only real missed opportunity here was the failure to include Lorne’s "If I Rule the World," from the last episode of the series. Other than that, this is a heavenly collection. - Al