Soundtrack to hit musical ‘La La Land’ a stand-alone masterpiece

In most movies, the soundtrack is merely background music, often taking a backseat to other parts of the production. However, in musical movie “La La Land,” the soundtrack takes the center stage and seamlessly combines jazz, pop, classical and other genres in order to tell the story of two artists in the heart of Los Angeles.

The duo of director Damian Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz, who collaborated before to create Academy Award-winning drama “Whiplash,” create a musical film that destroyed at the Oscars, after tearing up at the Golden Globe awards.

“La La Land” took home a total of six Oscars, including winning Best Original Score and taking Best Original Song for an Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling duet called “City of Lights.”

An album soundtrack, which included songs from the movie, hit the shelves and had huge success, rising to first overall in pure album sales and second overall on the Billboard Top 200 album chart rankings on Jan 15. Of the 15 songs featured on the album, I most enjoy “Mia and Sebastian’s Theme.” Originally, this piano tune played during the first meeting between the main characters Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling).

The song’s beautiful rising and falling soprano piano voice in conjunction with the strong piano bass presence, which builds by adding octave chords and increased tempo, create a song that is truly moving. At the end of the piece, listeners even get to hear Gosling’s improvisation skills as he turns the music into an exciting jazz solo.

Another piece that really surprised me was “Start A Fire,” featuring 10-time Grammy Award winner John Legend. Combining the worlds of jazz and pop, this tune fully utilizes Legend while combining a heart-pounding beat and catchy lyrics in order to create a dance-inducing smooth groove. The main line of the chorus, “We could start a fire,” is bound to be stuck in your head after listening to this song.

As noted, the Gosling and Stone duet “City of Lights” is another tune worth mentioning. The surprisingly good voices of both actors are thoroughly showcased in this piece. Gosling’s deep and confident voice is a great complement to Stone’s bright and beautiful-sounding voice, which makes this love song truly memorable. This song is the featured song of the album, with two other variations of this duet being included. These songs include a “City of Lights” with just Gosling’s voice and another version with Stone’s humming.

Any person who likes music needs to listen to this album.

-Ryan Lin