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Music Performed By
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations By

Recorded By

Performed By

Album Produced By
Nick Redman And Robert Townson

Varése Sarabande CD Club
VCL 0505 1035

Previous Release(s)
Boot CD

Year Of CD/Film Release

Running Time

Limited Edition Release

Cues & Timings

1. Alien Landing (3:47)
2. Out Back (2:00)
3. Are You Alright? (1:50)
4. Take It Easy (2:53)
5. The Vial (2:12)
6. Jerry’s Jam (1:51)
7. Alien Dance (1:57)
8. Are You There? (2:01)
9. The Beach (3:40)
10. Tow Truck Getaway (1:51)
11. 772 - I Shall Remember (4:08)
12. Tell Them (1:29)
13. A Game Of Chicken (2:26)
14. Overdose (2:26)
15. Got A Match? (2:53)
16. A Nice View (2:34)
17. Just Ugly (1:57)
18. The Wedding (4:43)

Soundtrack Ratings







Alien Nation

Alien Nation essentially becomes the first of Jerry Goldsmith's rejected scores to be officially released on soundtrack album, courtesy of the Varése Sarabande CD Club. I always wondered why we didn't get something of this score on the Jerry Goldsmith At 20th Century Fox box set but clearly Varése had other plans and I'm immensely pleased to see it released. A very poor quality boot CD has been around for a while but I could never bear listening to it for more than a minute before I had to switch it off. It's wonderful to get to hear a quality recording of one of the composer's most intriguing scores.

For the arrival of the Newcomers (Alien Landing) Goldsmith's stark cue juxtaposes a wistful other-worldly sample with a pounding beat and a groaning dissonance that questions the Newcomers intentions. The second portion of the cue briefly introduces Goldsmith's now famous main theme. Interestingly Goldsmith imitates a saxophone here, which of course became a key element of its Russia House arrangement.

Out Back and Are You Alright give a first taste of Goldsmith's action music for Alien Nation. Electronic chase music is always a poor substitute for an orchestral performance, but like Goldsmith's detailed electronic score to Runaway his frenetic and rhythmic action music here has essentially been "orchestrated". And by doing so Goldsmith gives his score the gravitas that so many synth scores from the period lacked.

Take It Easy opens with a sombre reading of the main theme, which we can only assume was for the emotionally scarred Sykes (James Caan) and ultimately is transformed into a more hopeful theme for the friendship that develops with Newcomer Sam Francisco, (Mandy Patinkin) during the closing cue.

For the The Vial Goldsmith showcases a quirky secondary motif in the middle of the cue while it's book ended with aggressive pounding electronic percussion, supported by menacing synth strings, at times almost sounding orchestral.

Jerry's Jam and Alien Dance are a complete change of pace for the score. The first is a secondary theme, a piano like solo and a contender for main theme. Whether it was an alternate, or intended as a source cue we don't know. The latter cue is an easy listening dance track that may lack the intensity of a modern dance instrumental but it's more melodic and far more enjoyable than Goldsmith's bleak sci-fi 'dance' track from Outland.

Are You There begins ominously with a gurgling undercurrent before reprising the rhythmic chase music heard earlier, here Goldsmith ups the tempo to create a short but effective adrenaline rush. While The Beach creates a menacing atmosphere for the sequence where a Newcomer is tortured by being thrown into the sea, which reacts to his skin like acid would to a human. Goldsmith's synths again hint at orchestration, with growling electronic tubas and again brilliantly effective synth strings for the Newcomer's painful demise.

Tow Truck Getaway opens with an alternate arrangement of his rhythmic action motif, before it gives way to quirky samples that create a bridge to an unsettling dream-like suspense motif. With 772 I Shall Remember the composer notably utilises a familiar sonic effect heard in his opus Total Recall. The cue then reverts to a pulsing tempo gathering momentum and transforming into a striding Rambo-like action statement.

Tell Them begins with a frenetic stabbing action motif ala Runaway, while A Game Of Chicken elaborates on this to become another rousing action cue with rock tempo, embellished with more 'orchestral' overtones. In Overdose Goldsmith creates a cacophony of cascading samples, but it isn't long before the cue breaks into another pounding rhythmic action workout.

Got A Match showcases Goldsmith's classic low key suspense writing, with some shimmering sound design augmented with a typically catchy secondary motif laced with an abundance of cool samples.

A Nice View and Just Ugly are the finale action cues as the cops chase and fight the drugged and mutated Newcomer. Goldsmith instigates another thrilling tempo, adapting his earlier action music as the cue develops. As the struggle reaches a climax Goldsmith adds further layers reinforced by more samples and electronic strings and brass figures to create an exhilarating payoff.

The Wedding closes the score and was no doubt intended for the end credits. Here Goldsmith presents an enjoyable upbeat 'pop' version of his main theme, clearly designed to give the film a certain amount of commercial appeal.

The unused score for Alien Nation is quite a revelation. It may not be comparable to some of Goldsmith finest scores, but regardless of the fact that it's a synth only score it remains an effective one that did not deserve to be replaced. The more you listen to this score the more you appreciate it and wonder why on earth the producers decided to drop it. Though of course if it had been used The Russia House may not have had such a memorable theme to complement it.