Jerry Goldsmith

Criminal Law

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Written at the peak of Jerry Goldsmith's exploration of the synthesizer, Criminal Law was the last and most disappointing of the composer's small handful of purely electronic scores; a stark, often harsh collection of mechanical melodies, its sound is inextricably tied to the late '80s, and has dated about as well as acid-washed jeans or Members Only jackets. Of course, the cheesy synths might be more palatable had Goldsmith wrapped them around some memorable melodies, but Criminal Law is further undermined by an almost complete absence of thematic and rhythmic maturation -- the music is all about texture and mood, with the harmonic depth of a child's plastic wading pool. Goldsmith wrote more than a few clunkers in his day, but Criminal Law sounds more dismal with each passing year, and is most assuredly the nadir of a largely brilliant career.