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Section Header
Arlington Road
Composed and Produced by:
Angelo Badalamenti

Additional Music by:
Tom Hajdu
Andrew Milburn

Will Records

Release Date:
April 20th, 1999

Audio Clips:
1. Bloody Boy/Neon Reprise (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (240K)
Real Audio (149K)

10. Copper Creek (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

17. Stoplight Flight (0:31):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

20. Aftermath (0:34):
WMA (220K)  MP3 (274K)
Real Audio (171K)

Regular U.S. release, but out of print for a while in the early 2000's.


Arlington Road

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List Price: $16.98
Our Price: $9.79
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Sales Rank: 554483

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Buy it... if you are inclined to inflict punishment on yourself or need an instrument of annoyance for use against troublesome neighbors or roommates.

Avoid it... unless you were really drawn to the psychologically disturbing plot of the film and seek an equally morbid souvenir from that experience.

Arlington Road: (Angelo Badalamenti) One of the 1990's scariest psychological thrillers, Arlington Road is an emotionally twisted horror film about domestic terrorism. It's one of those cliched "urban nightmare stories" in which your newly befriended neighbor turns out to be a cold-blooded mass bomber, a maniacal mastermind who never loses. The story is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat for a number of scenes, though it stretches logic beyond reasonable bounds at nearly every important turn of the plot, reducing its overall effectiveness. The story is ultimately a futile endeavor, with every value and/or person you care about shattered or dead, making you sit and wonder why you have just spent two hours endeavoring to feel so bad about the humanity's basic goodness. Nevertheless, the film has inspired something of a cult following, partly in spite of the boycott that some conservative organizations have placed on the film for its grotesquely bloody and disturbing opening scene (as well as a massive explosion sequence at the end that probably wouldn't get studio approval in a post September 11th world). Called to the task of scoring this thriller is composer Angelo Badalamenti, who was best known at the time for his collaborations with director David Lynch. If the film stretches your limits of believability, then so does its music. Badalamenti was presented with the job of recording a score that consists of two conflicting elements: a traditional orchestra and his experimental synthetics. The basic concept of that conflict isn't a bad idea. After all, you have a film in which the ideals of a nice, cuddly suburban neighborhood are juxtaposed against the horror of discovering that your neighbor is a technological mastermind of terrorist bombings. But in a project like this, the mix of the two halves is of paramount importance, and it is here where the work only barely suffices. The orchestra is badly underpowered and the electronics are off the far end of the weirdness scale. The convoluted atmosphere created by their melding causes the film to slip into a dreamy state of accelerated horror, pounding the listener into a dull, numb haze. This may have been Badalamenti's intent in the first place, but on album, the music fails to translate into anything other than an equally sick souvenir from the production.

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In terms of functionality, the score for Arlington Road is as adequate as could be expected for this film. The opening cue in the film and on album, for a scene in which a neighbor boy stumbles bloodily down the street with half his arm blown off, contains some of the single-handedly noisiest and irritating music ever to exist on film, with percussive clanging and dissonant pounding of electronics that are actually painful to the ears. As "Bloody Boy" turns to "Neon Reprise," Badalamenti crosses over into the techno realm for a bizarre and disjointed rhythmic effect. This cue makes similarly conceived ideas by Howard Shore for 1990's horror efforts seem like grand, harmonic overtures. After that frightening beginning, the score levels out into a consistent droning of electronics and uninspired orchestral underscore. In the film, the only positive musical presence worth mentioning is at the shell-shocked finale, when the realization sequence of the plot pulls back and reveals the secrets of its characters to the audience. This cue, "Aftermath," is among the only listenable moments in the work. Otherwise, Badalamenti's music features no redeeming characteristics, especially when heard on its own. The only notable theme, exhibited at the end of the album, is too dapper for even this project, making the listener wonder how the composer's usual romantic European sensibility eluded him this time. In the vast realm of Badalamenti's works, this is about as far from Cousins as one could get. As mentioned before, however, this score has a very loyal following, as evidenced by opinions online. But bad music is bad music, and when it exists for a bad film, you get an album that is destined to only collect dust on the back shelves. A few additional cues (six minutes worth) for Arlington Road were provided by Tom Hajdu and Andrew Milburn (otherwise known as "Tom and Andy"), whose credits in the 1990's were highlighted by some recognizable television commercial music. Even their contribution, using the touted "Evolution System," is uninspired, and it blends in with Badalamenti's droning muck without so much as an interesting new motif. Overall, this is an all-around morbid and pointless work when divorced from the visuals. There's use for the album as a tool of annoyance when dealing with troublesome roommates or neighbors, but that is about all it'll be good for. * Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.15 Stars
Smart Average: 2.36 Stars*
***** 18 
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   Arlington Road Formula
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 67:52

• 1. Bloody Boy/Neon Reprise (5:50)
• 2. Old Newspapers (1:44)
• 3. Lament for Leah (3:50)
• 4. It's Something Personal (2:06)
• 5. The Party (4:45)
• 6. He Repeats, He Repeats (1:57)
• 7. Discover Troops (2:40)
• 8. Into the Cage (2:04)
• 9. The Yearbook (1:43)
• 10. Copper Creek* (3:31)
• 11. Values (2:29)
• 12. Cheryl (1:08)
• 13. The Truth Is Out There (3:10)
• 14. The Study (2:04)
• 15. What Message* (2:26)
• 16. Last Day (7:56)
• 17. Stoplight Flight (1:25)
• 18. Escape (4:50)
• 19. The Bomb (2:02)
• 20. Aftermath (5:30)
• 21. Leah's Theme (3:50)

* composed by "Tom and Andy"

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Arlington Road are Copyright © 1999, Will Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/4/01 and last updated 9/23/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2001-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.