This review was submitted by Matt Bergeron, who owns the blog, “A Record A Day.”
There’s nothing better to me than lying on my rug and spinning a record. Especially when that rug REALLY ties the room together. As much as I love every album I own, I am very partial to movie soundtracks. Who isn’t though? From original scores, to what I like to call big budget mix-tapes, I’ll take anything I can get. Out of all of the soundtracks I have experienced on vinyl, nothing has been as satisfying or original as “The Big Lebowski.”
With a myriad of genres on display, The Big Lebowski’s soundtrack has a little something for every true music fan. One of the most well thought out collections you’ll have the pleasure of taking in, it perfectly fits the retro feel of the entire film onto one LP. The A side features Elvis Costello’s previously unreleased track. “My Mood Swings,” which boxes up the entire feel of the movie in a short 2 minute and 10 second package. Other stand out tracks on side A are Kenny Rodgers & The First Edition’s “Just Dropped By (to see what condition my condition was in),” and finally the relatively obscure Bob Dylan cut, “The Man In Me.” The B-side is home to one of the best renditions of “Hotel California” I have ever heard, as The Gipsy Kings manage to breathe a whole new life into the track. Townes Van Zandt’s deliciously wonderful folk laden cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” finishes out the B-side on a very satisfying note.
All fourteen tracks dump you into scene after scene of the cult classic. From our first meeting with The Stranger, to the now infamous Bowling Dream Sequence, The Coen Brothers clearly put as much time and energy into this release as they did the movie.
Sound Quality: With very little, but still noticeable surface noise, the black 180-gram record puts out the sound you would expect from a heavyweight LP. The bass line in every track has welcoming warmth to it. The only qualm I have is the varying audio levels. With each track — after playing it on a second set up — the constant up and down of the volume is a bit frustrating, and makes me think that remastering for a vinyl release may have been an afterthought, or a lack of thought.
Packaging: The German import is housed in a semi-gloss gatefold sleeve with none other than The Dude’s bearded and sunglass-bespectacled mug filling the front cover. Once opened, the inside displays a giant cast photo depicting all the major, and most memorable characters from the film. Pull out the record and you will find a printed “euro” sleeve surrounding it, containing stills from the movie and song credits. The packaging does lack the presence of a CD or download card, however, for the amazing artwork that fully compliments the feel of the movie and soundtrack, this can be forgiven.
Summary: The Big Lebowski’s OST is an intense journey of musical genres, not to be explored with a closed mind. Beautiful gatefold packaging, the heavyweight LP, and a great collection of artists makes the $35 price tag a little less scary. Remastering for a vinyl release would have been a plus, but it’s hard to be upset when The Dude, in all is glory, is staring back at you from the cover.
Make Sure To Spin: “My Mood Swings” by Elvis Costello, “Walking Song” by Meridith Monk, “Dead Flowers” by Townes van Zandt, and “Just Dropped in (to see what condition my condition was in)” by Kenny Rodgers and The First Edition
You can still pick up the record over at Sound Stage Direct.