|10.||Over The Cliff||2:03|
|11.||It's A Long Road||2:51|
|12.||"It's A Long Road" - Dan Hill||3:19|
|Total Album Time:||39:20|
Review: First Blood
4 / 5 Stars
Considered by many to be Jerry Goldsmith's definitive "masculine" score, First Blood transports the listener into the body of John Rambo, a disoriented Vietnam vet who only "wanted something to eat." Composed in 1982, this is the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic films that continue to be held in high regard and close to the hearts of those that love Goldsmith's legendary talent. For First Blood, Goldsmith composed a solitary theme that perfectly underscores Rambo's sense of longing and eventual self-exile.
The first track, "Home Coming", states this theme very simply, performed by solo trumpet, guitar, and eventually sweepingly lavish strings. The peaceful, personal nature of this theme doesn't last, as the next track, "Escape Route," barges in with one of Goldsmith's most famous motifs, a recurring five-note electronic passage that often signifies a sense of stealth and urgency. This mood is carried in variation all the way up to "Hanging On" where this motif is taken at slightly different pace, accompanied by hints of an anxious orchestra that is continuously building and ready to explode.
Sure enough, the orchestra lets loose in the next track, "Mountain Hunt." Posing as probably one of the most powerful and tense tracks on the album, Jerry begins with his five-note motif (now played by full orchestra), building up to a climax where Goldsmith's trumpet/guitar theme is transformed into a fully orchestral climactic moment that turns the musical canvas we've been following into complete chaos. It's highly energetic, and it morphs into a hair-raising tenseness complete with high strings and unexpected outbursts of bombast only Jerry Goldsmith could write.
The listener is provided a short break during "My Town" – but then is dragged back into Rambo's chaotic search for peace in "The Razor." It all culminates to an exciting but seemingly unfinished conclusion in "Over the Cliff". "It's A Long Road (Instrumental)" gives Jerry's main title theme the full, orchestral treatment it seems to have been searching for throughout the entire score. All of the thematic ideas are brought together in this wonderful track, not only bringing closure to our journey, but also ending it on a very satisfying note. This was originally meant for play over the End Credits, but was replaced with a pop version accompanied by a decent vocal performance by Dan Hill.
Jerry Goldsmith's score is merely the beginning of what the dedicated listener is in store for when exploring the world of Rambo. His music for First Blood continues in a similar but progressive fashion in Rambo and Rambo III based on the ideas he set in motion here, with this original score. He not only expands on these ideas, but also pushes them to a new level through an evolution that parallels with that of Rambo's character throughout the continuing storyline. While I recommend all three as a complete and exhilarating listening experience, First Blood is the perfect place to start.
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