Live Fast, Die Never:
Music From The TV Series "Angel"
Distributed By: Rounder Records
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
Music can change the entire feel of a television series. On a show like Angel, where everything is grand and epic and every episode is like a mini-movie, the music on the show became an important part of what made it what it was. Live Fast, Die Never: Music for the TV Series Angel, proves this. As Joss Whedon, creator of Angel, said in his introductory notice within the CDís booklet, ďIf [composer] Robert Kral had written some happy polka music now and then, I think we would have seen a whole different side to Angel. But no, itís all sweeping romance and portentous doom. Epic, memorable, and intrinsically related to Angelís every triumph, defeat, and yes, every bad mood.Ē I couldnít have said it better myself, Mr. Whedon. But Iím sure going to try.
Angel is a television series that revolves around itís main character (of the same name) and his friends as they fight to help the helpless and keep hope alive in Los Angeles, a city overrun by demons and more than itís fair share of evil lawyers. So itís only natural that itís soundtrack CD would have grand powerful themes with names like Start The Apocalypse, Hero and Castle Attack. The CD is filled with 19 instrumental songs that served as the background of the series in itís five year run, plus 6 other songs that found their way into the forefront of certain episodes. The instrumental songs are powerful at points and sentimental at others, depending on the specific songs, and all contain gorgeous melodies that serve to remind the listener, not only of what they were going through as they first experienced the episode, but also of just how good a composer Robert Kral is. Favorites on this disc are Hero, the theme from the episode of the same name, in which series regular Doyle sacrifices himself to save others. This song gives me chills. Another favorite is the triumphant, Iím Game, which followed Angel from his initial venture into the business of life saving, all the way to the 100th episode of the show. Hearing it in that episode, I couldnít help but squeal about the fact that our long-suffering hero, Angel was back in the business of saving lives. It was a great moment and the CD has reminded me of that.
Other songs include Sanctuary by Darling Violetta, an interesting extended remix of the series theme, Touched by Vast, which holds this whole chanty hard-rock vibe that absolutely knocked my socks off from the very first time I heard it, and A Place Called Home by Kim Richey, a song that was used in the series to say goodbye to fan favorite character Fred upon her death. And of course, you couldnít make a soundtrack to a series that spent 2 seasons in a karaoke lounge and not put any on the soundtrack. Included here are Lady Marmalade and Itís Not Easy Being Green, performed by Andy Hallett who played series regular Lorne, the karaoke barís owner, who just happened to be a green demon himself. You canít miss the irony there. Finally, included on this CD is the full version of the L.A. Song by Christian Kane, lead singer of the country rock band Kane and actor who played Lindsey on the series. Christian has got quite a set of pipes as do all of the singers in this portion of the CD, and it shows!
Live Fast, Die Never is a well put together soundtrack and they chose good songs to be included. It is always worth mention when a song sticks out from a television show, but just hearing this, every song brought me back to the episode which it was originally aired in (although, that may just be cuz Iím an Angel fanatic, but I digress). It also doesnít hurt to have funny and informative comments in the CD booklet explaining the placement of the songs and why they were needed for the story. Now, if they had just included Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley singing We Are The Champions at the karaoke bar, my life would have been complete. That one was so bad, you HAD to hear it!