Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


"Itís a tad disconcerting when the blurb accompanying a soundtrack contains a quote from the film director asserting that heís not a big fan of music in films. Music tends to be used too much "like a laugh track" states Chopper writer/director Andrew Dominik. Which is apparently why heís exceedingly pleased with Mick Harveyís "minimalist" score.

Minimalist is certainly the word. Some sustained edgy string ambience with a few sparse, recurring, pizzicato-bass accents and thatís about it. But despite Dominikís misgivings, there is some great music on this CD.

Billed as Chopper: Words and Music, itís a compilation of classic soul, rock and blues punctuated by excerpts of dialogue from the film. Harveyís contributions are limited to an opening and closing theme. So thereís minimal minimalism in fact.

Overall, the songs are a mixed bag, but Frankie Laineís classy rendition of Donít Fence Me In and the old school soul of Renee Geyerís Sweet Love are far finer fare than many songs featuring on soundtracks of more musically inclined directorsí films.

Chainís Black and Blue is the sort of powerful gritty blues that would make the hair grow on Angry Andersonís head. Unfortunately, a couple of old Rose Tattoo numbers remind us that Angry sometimes delivers less right notes than his pate delivers flourishing follicles.

Angryís a veritable diva, however, compared to Nick Cave. Actually, Cave has a habit of making other singers sound good. His duet with Kylie a few years back put her in the Joan Sutherland class by comparison. Once again he doesnít let us down, with an expectedly execrable performance on Release the Bats.

Conversely, Jimmy Barnes, a singer often maligned for his harsh sound, is range and power personified on my favourite Cold Chisel number, Forever Now. Even if you donít like Barnsey, youíve got to love Mossyís guitar work on this song, possibly his finest moment. If you donít like it at all, well, youíre probably a Nick Cave fan.

As for the vignettes of dialogue, theyíre a terrific ad for the film. Which I suspect is their purpose."
Brad Green

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TITLE: Chopper: Words and Music

ID: LIBCD2003.2

PRODUCER: Mark Opitz

FEATURED ARTISTS: Frankie Laine, Renee Geyer, Cold Chisel, Rose Tattoo, Nick Cave, Chain

SCORE: Mick Harvey


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