Vinyl Vlog 520

Vinyl Vlog 520

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Thursday, 23 September 2021
COLUMN

Cobra Kai
Original Soundtrack 3XLP
by Leo Birenberg & Zach Robinson

Welcome to a very special edition of the Vinyl Vlog. Special for a few reasons. Not only are we featuring one of the coolest pieces of vinyl on the planet, but it also commemorates our reunion with Mondo Tees as a collaborator.

Mondo is a company we’ve featured on the site in a variety of ways. We’ve featured their clothes (some of the finest prints around), their vinyl (hint hint), and even spoken to their artistic director Mo Shafeek for an inside look into the soundtrack-making process. Now, we’re glad to feature yet another vinyl from the Mondo catalog. This is the massive 3XLP for the Cobra Kai series.

Cobra Kai and the Karate Kid hit a very soft spot for me. I grew up on the Karate Kid, not that Jayden Smith nonsense, but the real stuff. I rewatched that first movie over and over again, and was mesmerized by the growth of Daniel from a scrappy kid into a full blown hero. I was probably too little to understand the nuances, and it’s been a while since I’ve watched the movie, but I can still distinctly remember Daniel-san applying wax on his car, Mr. Miyagi catching flies with his chop sticks, and that epic final battle with the Cobra Kai. These movies have defined these actors for me, so much so that I can’t watch My Cousin Vinny without thinking, “Hey, there’s Daniel-san!”

The Karate Kid was a movie of its time, it looked and sounded like the 80s. And now, with the Karate Kid universe has been revisited and expanded. This is NOT a reboot, but a continuation. Without giving too much away, it’s told from the perspective of Johnny wanting to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo after 35 years. This attracts a scrappy new set of bullied outcasts, and we go on a journey as these characters all, you guessed it, find themselves.

One of the wonderful things about Cobra Kai is not just that it tells a story that is as relatable and relevant as ever, but it’s tells is within the Karate Kid universe. It might look a little different, but it sure as hell sounds like the Karate Kid. And what a sound it is. So, let’s talk about that.

The Cobra Kai soundtrack sounds like a straight up 80s hype montage music. It’s got that pulsing, pounding beat, with the metal riffs and palm mutes you would expect, driven by synchs and all the reverb you would expect. It’s music to pump yourself up to. I can easily play this while running or working out, because the soundtrack sure as hell will work you up. But, there’s more, composers Birenberg and Robinson studied the original movie soundtracks and revisited some of the motifs and reworked them into the score, this includes some of the Japanese themes that are reminiscent of Mr. Miyagi and palettes that track back to the original movie. It’s a brand new score that pays homage to its origin.

The three vinyl records in this box set spans music from all three seasons of the series, curating some of the best scores (and expanding some of them), and includes music from the final fight sequence in all three finales. It’s mind bending and explosive stuff!

Now, let’s talk about the packaging. This box set includes beautiful artwork by Matt Ryan Tobin featuring art inspired by the Karate Kid motif, with slogans from the series (Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy!), and detailed glorious reinventions of the Cobra Kai logo. This set is just packed with artwork. The vinyls are beautiful orange and blue splatter, and a gold third vinyl. And because, of course, this is the 80s, this Mondo exclusive also has a bonus cassette with expanded versions of some select tracks of the soundtrack. It’s truly a Karate Kid lover’s dream come true.

The Cobra Kai soundstrack is a gorgeous package, carefully and masterfully put together. It looks and sounds like a labor of love. Be sure to get yours while you still can.

Get it from Mondo.

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