Various Artists

Love Story [Music from the Original Soundtrack]

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Literally millions of people would immediately recognize the "Theme From Love Story" upon hearing it, though they had never seen, or possibly even heard of, the 1970 Paramount film. This is indeed worth something in an era of pre-disposable pop culture -- how often do we write things off because of their pre-release hype? Without tracing any elements back to the film, this soundtrack was composed and compiled by Francis Lai, the king of schmaltzy European soundtracks (anyone remember Bilitis or Emmanuelle?), who outdid himself on this rather minimal setup. First there is the theme itself, played now into the 21st century on muzak stations and even lite jazz stations. Its unmistakable cadence string swell just before and after the bridge influenced many who came after him, especially in the 1970s. The track "Snow Frolic" is a combination of "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Love Theme" is restated on a harpsichord before entering into the smooth, easy rock of the melody line. There are a few selections by Bach and Mozart tossed in here for measure, but all of them are merely window dressing for Lai's temptation to see how many ways he can employ the theme song, which he does in virtually every track at least minimally. This is his evil genius: to rake in a bundle for one theme and a series of trumped-up variations that all refer to, quote, and state implicitly that "this is a theme song that will be remembered forever -- even if with nausea." And of course, history has proved him right. This is not exactly recommended sit-down listening, but it might be great to pull out at a party when the drinks have been flowing a while. Who knows what reactions will greet you when you do?

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