Various – Footloose (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) album review #3

Evaluated by Claude Lemaire. 
Max. perfect rating: 10/ A+ [sound/music] 
Original review published Sept. 2010 


CBS/Columbia (1984, Jan.) Canadian 1rst pressing JS 39242 

Rating: 3.0/ F

Category: 1980's Pop / Dance Music
Format: 120 gram (or less) vinyl at 33 1/3 rpm

"Footloose" performed and produced by Kenny Loggins 
"Let's Hear It For the Boy" performed by Deniece Williams and produced by George Duke 
"Holding Out For a Hero" performed by Bonnie Tylor and produced by Jim Steinman 
"Dancing in the Sheets" performed by Shalamar and produced by Bill Wolfer 

Soundtrack executive producers: Becky Shargo/Dean Pitchford 
Album coordinator: Michael Dilbeck 
Soundtrack associate producer: Craig Zadan 
Album assembly for Mastering: John Boylan and Stewart Whitmore 
Mastering engineer: Wally Traugott at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles 
Album assembled at Digital Magnetics, Los Angeles

This is one of the worse front cover 'artwork' I have ever witnessed. It's as if Kevin Bacon (or Kenny Loggins) is constipated. The cheap photo/drawing is grainy and washed out in typical 1980's fuschia. Six snapshots from what is an awful movie adorn the back cover.

The floppy thin–120 gram at most–vinyl is housed in a white semi-waxed inner sleeve containing the lyrics printed on it.

I won't waste too much digital ink or pixels on this record. The reason I devoted any time to it at all and chose it for my third review was to juxtapose it to my first two picks. The 2010 Arcade Fire album was strong musically but uneven and generally poor sonic wise while the Count Basie scored high in both departments while oddly dating from the same year, 1984 as does this soundtrack.

The album comprises the four hits listed above in the credits, the remaining five songs are simply 'filler up' material. Musically they're all crap, the Shalamar track being the least annoying of the lot. The title cut and the Deniece Williams' song are part of my personal TOP 20 CAN'T STAND IT list. The former gave birth to a nerve wracking line dance while the latter produced a kitsch music video. All share the cheap obnoxious drum machine percussion's and digital synth sounds so rampant of the mid 1980's. Writing and arrangements are so cheesy, they're painfully laughable.

The sound is compressed with a tiny bit of punch in the artificial kick drum but definitely tilted up in the tonal balance rendering hardness and listener fatigue to the mix; this being quite typical of this music period and to a lesser degree often encountered with the Columbia 'signature sound' of the late 1970's on up (original U.S.'s are even more detailed).

The Bonnie Tyler cut is the heaviest sinner in the compression department plus the inner groove distortion doesn't help neither, this one garnering a score of 2.0 at most. The seven inch "Footloose" single was even worse than this album version which has a slightly altered mix; the former exhibiting more compression to yield what at the time was considered a very loud mix. Keep in mind that compared to the previous decade, the '1974 sound value ladder' was quite the opposite in every production aspect. Who could have predicted back then (1984) that 25 or so years in the future, the majority of dance, pop, rock and metal would sink still lower sonic wise in this 'quest for even louder levels! 


Highly recommended as a reference to show visitors what not to aim for, followed right after by the Basie 45rpm "88 Basie Street" of the same year to contrast Pure Greatness with Pure S...

Claude Lemaire/soundevaluations