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Bad Girls
1994 Fox Records

2011 La-La Land

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Alexander Courage

Labels and Dates:
Fox Records
(May 10th, 1994)

La-La Land Records
(June 28th, 2011)

Also See:
Extreme Prejudice
Love Field
The Shadow

Audio Clips:
1994 Album:

2. The Hanging (0:35):
WMA (227K)  MP3 (282K)
Real Audio (175K)

6. Ambush (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

8. Josh's Death (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (249K)
Real Audio (155K)

10. My Land (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

The 1994 Fox album was a regular U.S. release, but it was out of print by 1998 and difficult to find. The 2011 La-La Land album is limited to 3,000 copies and available primarily through soundtrack specialty outlets.


Bad Girls
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Our Price: $39.99
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Sales Rank: 403754

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Buy it... if you wish to hear Jerry Goldsmith's last venture into the Western genre, a pleasantly inoffensive merging of his 1960's style for the frontier with his contemporary light keyboarding for character dramas of the early 1990's.

Avoid it... if the score's fluffy, tender heart doesn't allow its rousing, rhythmically rollicking brass theme to maintain the level of grit and substance that you'd expect in this mostly non-comedic setting.

Bad Girls: (Jerry Goldsmith) From the dusty streets of a stereotypical Old West town, Bad Girls tells us the story of four women who aren't necessary bad, but badly underappreciated. This group of four prostitutes in the unsavory town of Echo City, Colorado is forced to band together to escape local religious fanatics and a hangman's noose after one of them justifiably shoots an unreasonable customer. Cody, Anita, Eileen, and Lilly traverse the plains to the Mexican border in Texas, where their uncanny knowledge of shooting and explosives comes in handy when it comes time to retrieve money and honor stolen from them by other outlaws. They also seem to have the knack for riding horses without upsetting their nicely arranged hair, putting the film into perspective for any confused soul who might have happened across this amusing spectacle. The babes in the tale are portrayed by a well-known lot of actresses who seem at home in more urban settings (Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson, Drew Barrymore, and Andie MacDowell), perhaps adding to the film's charm but also dooming any serious intent it may have had. The problem with Bad Girls turned out to be the attempt by the filmmakers to actually make a serious film of the script, a point of contention that led to the original director being fired three weeks into filming and extensive re-writes to the story shortly thereafter. One area in which authenticity was thrown out the window in favor of grandiose fun can be heard in composer Jerry Goldsmith's score for the film. Replacement director Jonathan Kaplan had just worked with the composer on the relatively unknown segregation drama Love Field, a score that was partially removed from the final film and replaced with the piano music of keyboardist and comparative novice Bill Payne. The same problem would not plague Bad Girls, however, with Goldsmith's score bursting to the forefront in many parts of the movie's final mix.

Instead of treating the project like one of the numerous ridiculous comedies that Goldsmith became involved with in the early 1990's, he seems to have taken a very serious approach to Bad Girls, infusing just a pinch of his more contemporary comedy writing with a revised version of his 1960's Western mode. If a lighthearted interpretation of the Extreme Prejudice score could exist, then Bad Girls would be its best evidence. Despite its resurgence as a guilty pleasure for the composer's collectors many years after its release, Bad Girls was not greeted with that level of enthusiasm at the time, even though it was one of few sidesteps into the Western genre for Goldsmith in his last two decades of writing (and ultimately proved to be his final venture into that genre). Among a few mainstream critics' problems with the film in 1994 (and the reviews were indeed scathing, almost to a humiliating degree) was Goldsmith's arguably overdone score, stretching the drama to unmanageable levels while the dialogue and acting was tugging from the opposite emotional direction. Some film music critics mentioned that the score lacked enough of a feminine element. Indeed, Goldsmith tackled the project with straight-laced action in mind, although he does temper the otherwise masculine effort with emotionally heartening, keyboarded and soft guitar performances of the title theme. That theme, despite seemingly a little clumsy in its movements at times, is clearly the main attraction in Bad Girls, its progressions and rollicking supporting rhythms often recalling Rio Conchos and referencing the composer's many trademark Western techniques from an era long gone. The shorter rips of the theme seem to share unintentional similarities with John Barry's Zulu, though the fuller, more tender moments of the theme's performances have a more unique structure (led by the usual touching bridge sequence heard in many Goldsmith works of the early 1990's) played with the woodwind sensibilities of Rudy's equivalent moments.

The rhythmic motif introduced early in "The Hanging" is the most engaging idea in Bad Girls, often prefacing the major action sequences with a vintage sense of momentum. While some Goldsmith fans may rejoice in this bouncing rhythm and the retro-Western theme in full brass that is heard at least half a dozen times in the film, the reflective and enjoyable acoustic guitar and keyboard performances of that theme which occupy a far greater portion of the score are closer to the heart of the picture. A growling six-note phrase represents the evil outlaws that kidnap, rape, steal from, and otherwise harass the women until their predictable demise, and in this representation, Goldsmith mostly maintains the identity with percussive and electronic techniques that are a bit over-utilized, underdeveloped, and tedious after a while. The minimal comedy writing is held to "Jail Break," a cue that rolls with a honky-tonk style piano, wood blocks, and triangle renditions of the main action rhythm. Instrumentally, the score is more diverse than it may initially seem. Marimbas and bongo drums for the Mexican locale join percussion typical to the genre, though it's Goldsmith's application of electronics as part of the orchestral ensemble that really gives the score its contemporary connections. Goldsmith's usual synthetic keyboarding is evident throughout Bad Girls, the rhythmic base-thumping effects of the villains (heard first in "Bank Job") developed from Extreme Prejudice and a clear foreshadowing of the later Star Trek films. Orchestrally, the percussion section rips off some wild drum sequences that hark back to the days of The Wind and the Lion, though the instrumentation sounds consistent (along with a motif or two in "Bank Job") to his concurrent music for The Shadow. Overall, Bad Girls is an airy and enjoyable, if not misplaced score, and its reception has softened considerably with fans over the years. When it revealed itself as Goldsmith's final Western score, it became a bittersweet bridge between his classics of the genre and his typical, pleasantly inoffensive character scores of the early 1990's.

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For die-hard Goldsmith collectors, an easy case could be made that Bad Girls is a four-star score, though when heard in its full duration, you get the sense that it's also a highly redundant one that compartmentalizes its representations far too distinctly for it to be considered for very long from an intellectual standpoint. On album, it was long out of print after its commercial Fox Records CD of 1994 disappeared, though as part of its rewarding series of Goldsmith releases in 2011, La-La Land Records expanded and remastered it for a 3,000-copy run. The sound quality of the latter product does more clearly reveal the performances by the acoustic guitar and harp when they provide quiet ostinatos in support of the "character theme" renditions of the main identity. The extra 21 minutes of music confirms the score's somewhat redundant and predictable applications of its main ideas, but with a few notable exceptions. For enthusiasts of the score, there are two full Western-styled primary theme statements over tingling percussive rhythms that are definitely worth your time ("Which Way?" and "Keep Moving"). Shorter but perhaps of equal interest is the brief opening to "River Crossing." The most lengthy cues added to the presentation are "Return to the Fold," a conversation piece that very quietly rotates between the softest variants of the themes, and "Rescued," which opens with a promising crescendo but fades into several minutes of uninteresting exploration of the villains' material. Far more intriguing treatment of these ideas explodes for the duration of "The Gang/The Posse." A waltz-rhythm version of the main theme in "The Pleasure of Your Company" is cute but inconsequential, while "Welcome to My Home" largely reprises the tender opening cue, "The John." For those who maintain great affection for Bad Girls, the 2011 expanded album will provide more than enough short nuggets and improvement in sound quality to merit a purchase, though if you've always considered the score to be mundane outside of its full ensemble action highlights, then don't expect the longer presentation to move your opinion of the music far in either direction. In the end, Bad Girls is a likable collection of Goldsmith trademarks with no really worthy fresh developments. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 138,589 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.37 Stars
Smart Average: 3.28 Stars*
***** 97 
**** 108 
*** 98 
** 58 
* 46 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Not bad!
  Mathias Sender -- 7/21/06 (11:45 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings (1994 Fox Album): Total Time: 39:12

• 1. The John (2:18)
• 2. The Hanging (3:17)
• 3. Bank Job (4:54)
• 4. Jail Break (3:26)
• 5. No Money (2:08)
• 6. Ambush (5:45)
• 7. I Shot Him (2:35)
• 8. Josh's Death (3:42)
• 9. No Bullets (3:51)
• 10. My Land (6:50)

 Track Listings (2011 La-La Land Album): Total Time: 60:13

• 1. The John (2:19)
• 2. The Hanging (2:06)
• 3. Which Way?* (0:42)
• 4. The Snake (1:20)
• 5. The Saw Mill* (1:56)
• 6. Keep Moving* (0:57)
• 7. Bank Job** (5:16)
• 8. The Gang/The Posse* (0:56)
• 9. Return to the Fold* (4:06)
• 10. Don't Hurt Me* (1:45)
• 11. Jail Break (3:27)
• 12. No Money (2:09)
• 13. The Guests* (0:36)
• 14. Welcome to My Home* (1:20)
• 15. The Pleasure of Your Company* (0:48)
• 16. Ambush (5:45)
• 17. What's Your Name?* (1:18)
• 18. The Claim* (0:25)
• 19. Together* (0:39)
• 20. I Shot Him** (2:46)
• 21. Put It On* (1:32)
• 22. River Crossing* (0:34)
• 23. Rescued* (3:03)
• 24. Josh's Death (3:41)
• 25. No Bullets (3:53)
• 26. My Land/End Credits (6:53)

* previously unreleased
** contains previously unreleased music

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert of the 1994 Fox album includes no extra information at all; in fact, the interior of that insert is quite literally blank. The 2011 La-La Land album's insert includes notes about the film and score.

  All artwork and sound clips from Bad Girls are Copyright © 1994, 2011, Fox Records, La-La Land 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 6/1/98 and last updated 7/11/11. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.