Review Summary: What was, what will be, start with the words. In the beginning there was HOWARD THE DUCK!
Howard the Duck, starting out as a delightfully absurd comic book about a alien duck creature that crashed landed in Cleveland and tries to cope with the human life style. This was then adapted by George Lucas into a film, but instead of the classic space-themed movie the fat man is known for he crafted one of the most infamously bad movies in film history. Many critics and fans alike turned their heads in shame after seeing what seemed to be a motion picture filled with a terrible plot, and special effects to match. Well at least it's a film and will probably never be mentioned on a music website such as this.....oh crap it had a soundtrack.
A good portion is played by “Cherry Bomb” a fictional band led by actor Lea Thompson, who surprisingly isn't a terrible singer. However the band tries it's hardest to emulate a true 80's rock act and they manage to get the formula down, but it's nothing special or separating itself from the mold. Indeed the keys are there, the riffs are there, and everything that in the way of Styx. But none of the emotion and a failure to be catchy. The other half was composed by John Barry who also composed the James Bond scores. This is part that seems to work as they actually manage to convey the emotion of the scenes, but they are far from memorable as his more "classic" scores. The part that seems to irk me is John Barry managed to fully make the James Bond scenes click with his suave style, but here he seems to be trying too hard to emulate John Williams famous score on the George's other space-themed movie. Also splish splashed in, is some other tracks. Thomas Dolby's “I'm On My Way”, and Stevie Wonder's “Don't Turn Away” are actually the best songs you'll find on this entire collection.
Cherry Bomb's 3 songs are all pretty identical “Hunger City”, “Howard the Duck”, and “It Don't Come Cheap”. Which are all generic 80's rock with keys, and uninteresting guitar doodles. Lea Thompson's voice is the only surprise here, which as I've mentioned before which isn't actually terrible. Going back to John Barry's tunes, which are where this album (and the movie) manage to really work. “Lullaby of Duckland” manage to convey a real “bluesy” feeling of sadness with a wonderful use of horns and strings. “Journey to Earth” sounds like...Star Wars actually. “Ultralight Fight” is actually really suspenseful and 80's material for a perfect showdown. And finally “Dark Overlord” manages to be the trump card in the album which I wouldn't be too surprised if Darth Vader managed to appear to this wonderfully thought out theme.
Overall, John Barry deserves an award, because not only did he save this album, but he saved several moments of the film from plundering into a TOTAL ***fest. Lea Thompson it's sad I didn't hear you better with a better band...or just a better song. And I'm pretty sure Thomas Dolby and Stevie Wonder are pretty embarrassed right now, so I won't mention them. And hey just be glad you didn't get a pair of duck boobs in the album art.