Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Music From The Motion Picture) review by Various Artists

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  • Released: May 19, 1998
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (1 vote)
Various Artists: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Music From The Motion Picture)

Sound — 10
"The Fear and Loathing" soundtrack was released less than a couple of days after the movie as a great show of important tracks that help set the atmosphere to the album and give off the intensity and extremities of wild bursts of certain scenes in the movie. I actually view this album as a quite interesting soundtrack with excellent musical taste in picking out tracks for the movie and although the soundtrack is does not in its entirety feature all the songs it still has key tracks that will make one reminisce of watching the movie "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas." There are certain enjoyable qualities throughout the soundtrack and there are numerous tracks pulled out from the era during the time that the movie was made and the only tracks that are not in place are the ones performed by Tomoyasu Hotei & Ray Cooper which are obviously out of place but give the whole dramatic effect of the really crazed drug scenes like when Dr. Hunter S. Thompson takes the pure adrenocrhome and has some insane flashes.

Lyrics — 9
There are several other songs played in the film that are not included on the soundtrack, some of the more noted cuts being: "Lady" by Beck, Bogert & Appice, Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual," "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me," sung by Frank Sinatra, "Spy vs. Spy" by Combustible Edison & "Moon Mist," performed by The Out-Siders, and most notably a recording of "Ball and Chain" by Janis Joplin that was played whilst Dr. Gonzo is vomiting out of the side of a car whilst shouting obscenities at people in a vehicle driving alongside the white convertible. For some reason "Yummy Yummy Yummy" which was a track by the pop group The Ohio Express was also not featured on the soundtrack, it seems other soundtracks also fail to deliver complete wholesomeness like "Kill Bill"'s soundtrack when it comes to displaying all the songs most likely for expense reasons due to coprights. Sadly enough the ending track by The Rolling Stones "Jumpin' Jack Flash" doesn't appear as Hunter S. Thompson is driving away after delivering Dr. Gonzo to the airport barely making it for his flight quoting his famous, "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die." "A Drug Score - Part 3 (Flashbacks)" (playing immediately before "White Rabbit") reminds one of the infamous scene in the hotel where Dr. Gonzo takes an impressive dose of LSD and is waiting in the bathtub trying to kill himself and asks Hunter to drop the radio playing Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow" when "White Rabbit" peaks.

"A Drug Score - Part 1 (Acid Spill)" gives the image of the bathroom scene where Hunter drops acid all over his sleeve and a man comes in and hilariously licks it up after saying in slow motion, "What's the matter?" and asking if that is acid with another man bursting in and being shocked by the strange scene. Tomoyasu Hotei & Ray Cooper (Cooper being a veteran of Elton John's band way back when Elton started) actually can replicate the moods and feels of similar bands like Buffalo Springfield who's "Expecting to Fly" (appearing on Springfield's second album) track is played when Hunter gives a summation of the whole end of the sixties and the brutal things that occurred and the misconception of a love generation. The Yardbirds' "For Your Love" also gives psychedelic flair and is an excellent track with Jeff Beck on guitar. The second track (after Big Brother and The Holding Company's "Combination of the Two") "One Toke Over the Line," by the underrated folk duo Brewer and Shipley plays on the radio also with Gonzo and Thompson driving through the desert, just a purely iconic scene from a brilliant iconic movie.

Tom Jones' "She's a Lady" is an older song but actually still nice and does remind one of when they drive into Vegas to the Mint Hotel for the motorbike race that Dr. Hunter was supposed to be covering to begin with. "Tammy" is another older song yet again that seems out of place, but also not so much as they actually went to a concert for Debbie Reynolds gaining admittance by Gonzo saying they were friends of Debbie and were thrown out for their boisterous behavior and stumble laughing and falling out of there. The older tracks tracks that do seem out of place are also not out of place at the same time because Vegas was still stuck in an older time as Hunter recalled a club reeking of "high grade Formica and plastic palm trees" as most of Vegas was still years behind in the times culturally as far as the whole younger and hip generation went most likely because of there being a lot of older people there and are constantly present in the movie albeit there still are of course young people; Vegas just didn't seem to catch up with the time at that point and was a time capsule as Gonzo put it. "Tammy" does remind me of Hunter asking what kind of psychotic rat bastard would play such a song at that moment after waking up in the completely trashed hotel being unable to recall any of the events until playing the tape recorder which he used to record the events (going to the circus high on ether and mescal etc).

The prevalent song of the time and also important peace and love anthem written by Dino Valenti but performed famously by The Younglboods is also given on the soundtrack and of course one of my favorite tracks on the album. Of course I did not yet mention the final track on here and I find to be a crucial track on the album along with "Combination of the Two" and "Expecting to Fly," which is Booker T. and The MG's who made the famous and bad*ss movie track "Green Onions" from the album of the same name. The track appears in yet another extremely hilarious scene where Hunter leads the cop on a chase after he was driving while Dylan's song "Stuck Inside a Mobile" was playing and encountering the same hitchhiker from the beginning of the movie and tripping out and getting paranoid, this smooth mellow jam really suits the whole comedic value of the scene and once again can help you link the movie to the soundtrack, so the soundtrack does actually do the movie some justice.

Overall Impression — 9
I would say as a whole album, the fact that certain tracks of more preference from great artists are left out is somewhat disappointing but I'm pretty sure almost all the tracks if not all of them did not occur at all in the original novel and in fact different songs not included in the movie were used in the book, some of them were actually in there though like Dylan's "Stuck Inside a Mobile" track that plays when Hunter is in a bar on the outskirts of Vegas which was a scene not included in the official movie. The sequencing of the movie to begin with is out of key with the book, but still does capture the great portion of the essence and key events and one of the best film adaptations from a novel I can think of and my favorites next to Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." The only track I could really care less for featured here is "Magic Moments," but even though it's not my bag I still don't mind listening to it because it's part of the movie and important whilst they were at a hotel during a Drug Convention amidst a room full of cops while Hunter is holding a briefcase full of illegal substances and trying to remain calm in line with an angry cop shouting at the gay clerk. Ironically the scene of the gay guy giving that a-s hole cop a piece of his mind was all an imagined scene in Hunter's mind in the original novel. I could go on about the various anomalies but they somewhat do effect the soundtrack and even through this slight perturbation the album still has great tracks chosen by the directors.

The really intense and hardcore heavy adaption of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" in "A Drug Score - Part 2 (Adrenochrome, the Devil's Dance)" adds to the whole thematic moods that climax throughout the film and overall can make one reminisce of the whole exciting experience of the movie. This album soundtrack is actually not that bad as a whole and the only issues are the noninclusive tracks that should be on the CD which isn't that big of a deal because the whole theme is still there with well chosen tracks along with the original narratives like the opening Raul Duke narrative to the movie and then the first song featured (after the "My Favorite Things" in the beginning credits) "Combination of the Two" has such a great energy that suits the whole film and is used near the ending when Hunter swerves of the road to get Dr. Gonzo to his flight and the depressingly wailing "Ball and Chain" when duke is crying and vomiting with James Gurley of Big Brother's guitar's mood and heaviness complementing the movie but unfortunately as I mentioned not included; I'm satisfied that at least one of the crucial tracks of the movie is provided. You could make your own soundtrack compilation adding the tracks to the movie with the tracks I mentioned that are missing if you are really a completist like me.

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