Review Summary: Hold on tight, travel into a Rock N Roll Adventure with classic metal, synthesizer, and giant robots.
This is a review of the 2007 Remaster edition.
“I have summoned you here for a purpose.“
“Nobody summons Megatron”
“Then it pleases me to be the first.”
Before I start I should tell you something, I am not a Transformers fan. I was born in the early 90s with the G1’s Transformers far behind the consciences mind; I was watching Dexter’s Laboratory, Angry Beavers, and Toonami. My first real encounter with the Transformers was the first Michael Bay film, I tend to laugh at Bay’s Schlock flicks, (Bad Boys 2 being one of the best bad movies ever). Oddly enough as I ‘m typing I STILL NOT seen the second one (I might rent and RiffTrax it later), but that’s does not matter now. I have a VHS copy of the original 1986 film in my house, owned by my older brother. Out of curiosity’s sake in one rainy Saturday morning, I decided to watch to finally watch it, with no nostalgia goggles on.
What I saw was a badass sci-fi film, yeah it’s cheesy and dumb at time, but what it had was high energy and fun, and great voice actors. It is simply one of the best nerd movies along with Army of Darkness, Escape from New York, Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Heavy Metal, Road Runner, Blade Runner, Highlander, and recently Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. It has incredible imagination and cool animation to set up a world I never been before, something I wish the Bay movie did.
Also most of that is helped with possibly one of the best movie soundtracks ever along with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pulp Fiction, Lawrence of Arabia, Lion King, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The soundtrack mirrors the same energy and feel of the movie, fast paced, cheesy, explosive excitement.
“One shall stand, one shall fall.”
One of the key players of this album is of course is Stan Bush, an underground fan favorite for fans of Melody Rock or AOR; he may be one of the most underrated musicians along with Anvil. He made other songs for Bloodsport, Kickboxer, and Sailor Moon, but Transformers is how he’s best. Forget every Linkin Park songs from the live action movies (In fact just forget Linkin Park altogether), they are all very terrible and does not produce the sound of what truly Transformers.
Stan Bush worked on the two main hits of the movie, “The Touch” and “Dare” The hooks and chorus is extremely catchy, making it very effective pop rock. Stan has a great voice giving off a strong presence and atmosphere. With its positive anthem happy pop sound, some may find it too much. I’m not much of a pop fan, but I found the musicship is much higher than anything you’ll here on the radio nowadays.
“Heh, not bad for an old timer. “
“Old Timer? That's something you'll never be, if you don't get back to the city.”
This soundtrack also have some hidden gems from the Hair Metal craze from the 80’s from obscure bands such as Lion, NRG, and Spectre General. Just as the movie trailer said it’s a “Rock and Roll Adventure.” These songs are just as bombastic and loud as any hit song from a Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, or W.A.S.P album, full of epic guitar solos and loudest screaming ever, particularly at the outro of “Instruments of Destruction” where the guy almost breaks his vocals chords. It’s as cheesy and over-the-top as the movie.
One of the best songs is Lion cover of the original Transformers theme song; it’s already one of the best Saturday morning cartoon theme along with DuckTales, Teenage Mutants Ninja, and Animaniacs how could possibly make it better. How about adding guitar solos! The hard rock influence gives the theme a stronger epic edge, and has one of the best guitar solos ever, (Perfectly worthy of all the air guitar solos in the world).
Also joining in the fray is Weird Al Yankovic with one of his hit “Dare to Be Stupid” a spoof of Devo’s synthpop. The lyrics are just as goofy as any other good Weird Al song. The hook is solid as well.
“Megatron must be stopped... no matter the cost.”
Vince DiCola does the movie original compositions, the majority done with synthesizers. Some of the compositions, such as “Escape”, “Autobot/Decepticon Battle”, “Moon Base 2 – Shuttle Launch”, “Megatron Must Be Stopped (Pts. 1 & 2)”, have heavy use of hard hitting bass and drums mixed with the synthesizers, which fits the rest of the rock songs. With it’s complex structure and technicality, some DiCola songs almost goes for a Progressive Metal sound. The tracks are action pack and gives out an anthemic feel, particularly at the last minute of “Moon Base 2” and the majority of “Escape”.
These four tracks all have the share motifs, sometimes at moments they may sound the same, but the structure change varies a lot to keep things fresh. Though “Autobot/Decepticon Battle” sounds more like a retread to “Escape”. One of my favorite moments is the second part of “Megatron Must Be Stopped”, which is similar to an army march going into battle.
The other two tracks from DiCola, “Death of Optimus Prime” and “The Unicron Meledy” tones down the hard rock element a bit. sounds very familiar to the Drago’s Theme from Rocky 4, another film DiCola worked on. The theme is cool and laid-back, giving off an effective impending doom similar to the “Imperial March” from Star Wars. The beat and breath sound effects make it feel alive, like the Unicron. “Death of Optimus Prime” is the slowest song of the album, since it’s for the most saddest and dramatic part of the film. It mixes traditional piano with synthesizers. This track, particular the middle, reminds me of video game music like Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy.
“Transformers more than meets the eye.”
A new addition to the 2007 album is the combine efforts of Vince DiCola and Stan Bush for an alternate version of the original theme. This version is even better than the Lion version. Mixing with DiCola Syth work along with Stan’s singing end this album in a bang.
Nothing’s Gonna Stand In Our Way
Megatron Must Be Stopped I and II
Both Version of The Transformers Theme
This is truly one unique gem that all cinema soundtracks must own.
“Autobots, transform and roll out!”