Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Goonies [Epic, 1985]
As I hope you've figured out, the New Soundtrack is no such thing: it's a cross-promotional concept that permits record bizzers and movie bizzers to exploit each other's distribution. But because the film comes first, the music pros work to order whether or not their songs function thematically or appear in the movie at all. So even when the resulting albums don't suffer from the hodgepodge effect that afflicts all compilations and goes double when music is slotted into vastly disparate moods and locales, they still breed hackwork. Which is why this one is such a relief. First of all, it's no hodgepodge: high-register vocals predominate, dance beats mesh. And not only do Teena Marie, Luther Vandross, and Philip Bailey come in at peak form, but REO Fucking Speedwagon produces an actual anthem. John Williams's scion Joseph contributes a nifty pop-funk tune, and Dave Grusin himself strolls sweetly under the closing credits. Bless music consultant Cyndi Lauper, whose two good-to-excellent tracks almost get lost by comparison. B+