City of Men

Composed By: Antonio Pinto

Produced by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            In 2002, producer Fernando Meirelles introduced viewers to the horrific slums of Rio de Janeiro, following the lives of several youths who grew up there through the 1960s, 70s and 80s in his movie City of God.  The movie sparked a television series set in the same area, but in the present day.  The series, called City of Men ran from 2002-2005 and is now being brought to the big screen in a full length movie of the same name.  The movie follows two youths who have grown up in the violent, gang-ridden streets of the Rio de Janeiro slums and have become as close as brothers.  As the boys come of age, one sets out to find a father he has never met, while the other struggles to raise a family of his own.  When the two lifelong friends suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a gang war, will their friendship survive or be ripped asunder?

            Having composed the music for City of God, Brazilian composer Antonio Pinto was the natural choice to compose the soundtrack of City of Men.  The soundtrack contains the Latin flavor one would expect of a movie set in Brazil.  Although the movie is set in the present time, Pintoís composition has a funky style and his use of horns and guitars in some of the tracks gives the soundtrack a 1970s feel.  Thereís even a track with a dreamlike reverb going on.  Bits and pieces of DJ spins and rubs are added to some tracks in what I would suppose is an attempt to bring the music into the present date, but they fall somewhat short.  There was one track I found particularly useless.  I canít really comprehend why Radio was included on this album.  The entire track consists of someone tuning in several different stations, never sticking with one for more than a few seconds at a time.  Almost as annoying as someone picking up a remote and constantly changing a channel.

            There were only two tracks that I could find any enjoyment in.  A Fuga contains a mix of percussion instruments that give it a dance-like feel and had me bobbing my head to the music.  I also loved the clarity and beauty of the guitar piece called Heraldo Disse N„o.  However, liking two out of eighteen tracks does not signify a hit in my book.  Unfortunately, I canít see myself recommending the City of Men Soundtrack to anyone, even at a bargain bin price.


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