Vinyl Vlog 469

Vinyl Vlog 469

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Wednesday, 23 December 2020
COLUMN

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Original Soundtrack
Dave Porter & Various Artists
(Mondo Vinyl)

Like many viewers, I started watching Breaking Bad because for obvious reasons: buzz, recommendations, and Netflix. However, it quickly becomes apparent what makes Breaking Bad stand out, and it’s mostly because unlike other shows, we get rewarded for the investment we put into the show. While other shows focus on plots of suspended disbelief, one-dimensional characters with unjustified behavior, cheap laughs, ridiculous plotlines, senseless malevolence, and reestablishing the status quo at the end of each episodes, Breaking Bad instead has a story to tell, earns the respect of the viewers, adapts to the progression of the story, works with the motivation of the characters, contains genuine emotional highs and lows, moments of friendship and solidarity, and lets the characters dictate the results of events. Sometimes things happen over the arc of a season, and sometimes simply during an episode. We are both shocked and understand why the characters do the things they do. Added to that are the wonderful sceneries, the now-trademark camera shots and angles, and the great dialogue. Shows like this don’t come along very often (maybe not since the Sopranos), and it’s a testament to Breaking Bad why watching it makes one understand just how terrible the current state of television is. It’s not that TV is supposed to be the way it is and just be mindless fun, it’s that most shows nowadays don’t even try. Breaking Bad tries and succeeds.

So, there. That’s why the show is great. If you haven’t watched it, you should. If you have watched it, the idea of having to go through the emotional rollercoaster again is both tempting and terrifying.

Revisiting such an iconic TV show can be a very scary thing, especially for fans, because these characters have come to mean so much to us throughout the years. We have them stored in a special place in our minds. But the movie sequel did things right by having creator Vince Gilligan both write and direct it. The result was something that fits perfectly in the world of Breaking Bad. No spoilers, but I doubt any fan of the show would be displeased.

When it comes to vinyl soundtracks, Mondo has proven itself time and again as being one of the gold standards of the genre. They’re not the only game in town, of course (and I mean that in a good way), but when you look at their catalog, it’s clear that these guys are vinyl, soundtrack, and pop culture lovers. They haven’t done a Breaking Bad soundtrack yet (yes, I know one exists already), but luckily they did El Camino, and it is a very important release, so let’s talk about it.

This the exclusive official release of the El Camino soundtrack, meaning there is no other sanctioned release out there. Anything else would be a fan-based compilation. That right there is a coup for Mondo and makes owning this soundtrack very special. And the music? El Camino’s music is as wild and unpredictable as the movie itself. It serves both as a score and a soundtrack and sets the tone perfectly. Dave Porter’s score is a pulsing slow burn, both eerily creeping up on the listener and communicating the feeling of discomfort prevalent throughout the entire movie. In addition to that, there are some definite classic rock bangers perfectly suited for a needle drop. Sure, you get a rap-metal number Kountry Gentlemen by Family Force 5 which is the biggest joke of a song on the planet (and I hope it was used with all the irony it has due), but also the Lynyrd Skynyrd great Call me a Breeze, the soothing To Sir With Love by Lulu, and my favorite new discovery Static on the Radio by Jim White and Aimee Mann: an absolute perfect closer.

In addition to the great music, the El Camino soundtrack also has great art to match. Matt Talbot’s art graces the entire release and tells its own story, representing the beginning, middle and end of Jesse Pinkman’s journey (so far?). The front and back covers are wonderfully contrasted in warm and cool colors, the gatefold depicting one of the most interesting parts of the movie (which I won’t spoil) in a gorgeous panoramic layout, and even the inside of the sleeves house a treasure of its own. Adding some cool colored wax is just a prefect bow on top.

El Camino is a wonderful compliment for the movie. It has all the great music you want all in one place and is put together in a way that elevates the viewer’s connection to the art.

Get it from Mondo.

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