First Man
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LA LA LAND Soundtrack: A Track by Track Breakdown

As we continue to bathe in the joyous brilliance of La La Land every day, let’s take a brief look at each track on the film’s accompanying soundtrack album and award every piece a score from 1 to 5 LAs.

1. Another Day of Sun

As a cast of apparent hundreds erupt into song and dance on an L.A. freeway, Hurwitz establishes the film’s core musical elements with a joyous anthem celebrating the city of angels and… umm… good weather! 5/5 LAs

2. Someone in the Crowd

Mia and her roommates perform this gloriously-feminine track on their way to a glitzy party. Building on the melodies of Another Day of Sun and climaxing with the film’s sensational “pool shot”, this number presents Mia at her most talented and likeable. 5/5 LAs

3. Mia & Sebastian’s Theme

The musical heart of the entire score (and a showcase of Sebastian’s amazing composition skills), this is a very simple but very effective melody. It gets increasingly melancholy as it builds throughout the film. 4/5 LAs

4. A Lovely Night

The most Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly-influenced sequence in the film is soundtracked by this charming, low-key flirtatious duet. 4/5 LAs

5. Herman’s Habit

Essentially ripped from the soundtrack of Chazelle’s Whiplash, this lively jazz piece is a nice break from the showiness of the first 4 tracks. It introduces a slight refrain that’s later used in “Audition”. 3/5 LAs

6. City of Stars (Pier)

Turning every straight man on earth Gay For Gosling, this is Gosling at his dreamiest, singing a lullaby of longing for Mia along a moonlit Californian pier. You can actually HEAR the beauty of the location. 5/5 LAs

7. Planetarium

A magic flute is the making of this 4-minute instumental, like something from the Disney musical archives. 4/5 LAs

8. Summer Montage/Madeline

This casual jazz piece wouldn’t sound out-of-place in a Woody Allen project. Lively, but very light. 2/5 LAs

9. City of Stars (Duet)

The film’s defacto theme song, this sees Mia and Sebastian duet with pure adoration in their eyes, and in their voices. 5/5 LAs

10. Start A Fire

This song’s function in the film is as an example of the bastardisation of music, but it’s actually quite enjoyable. John Legend’s voice is surprisingly consistent with Gosling and Stone’s, but- in general- this doesn’t fit particularly well with Hurwitz’s compositions. 2/5 LAs

11. Engagement Party

This one track represents the entire “Mia and Seb fall out” portion of the film, and it’s about as dull as that purpose requires. 1/5 LAs

12. Audition (The Fools Who Dream)

Stone’s singing ability is tested by this character-defining ballad, and she succeeds with flying colours. A heartwrenching celebration of making art and taking risks. “Audition” may be the most traditional Broadway number in the film, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. 4/5 LAs

13. Epilogue

Evolving from soaring romance to Singin in the Rain-style showiness and an astonishing orchestral interpretation of “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme”, this is the most varied and impressive musical moment in La La Land. For this alone, Justin Hurwitz deserves an Oscar. 5/5 LAs

14. The End

A rousing 45 seconds to conclude the bittersweet final sequence. A perfect end to an extraordinary film. 4/5 LAs

15. City of Stars (Humming)

At this point, “City of Stars” has been a bit overdone. Stone humming the song over the credits is pleasant but largely unmemorable. 3/5 LAs

This entry was posted in: First Man

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Lucien writes on film, television and politics at LuwdMedia.com and co-hosts the podcasts Above All Else and The 99%.

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