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The Saturday Night Fever for the 80's
on January 30, 2001
I have owned this soundtrack in first cassette, then vinyl, now on c.d. format. What I would have hoped for in the remastered version was the classic extended versions of some of these tracks radio stations use to play when Flashdance was hot ! Tracks like What A Feeling, Maniac, and a couple of others had some remarkable extended counterparts which are now completely difficult to find.Flashdance did not conform to the "breakdancing" period like other movies or soundtracks did. It was pop-rock at it's best before the Top Gun soundtrack.The only artist to still carry some weight after all these years is Donna Summer.Everyone else is just a faint memory. Where's Kim Carnes ? Michael Sembello? Laura Brannigan? and let's not forget the blue-eyed soulful voice of Joe "Bean" Esposito who was a soothing cross between Michael McDonald and a lightweight version of Barry White on Lady, Lady, Lady.
There is very little difference in the remastered version with regards to sonic quality. The sound level is a little bit higher with a little more bass and a little more treble. Otherwise, nothing that could be considered a revelation ...
Update: April 1, 2011.
At the time I wrote above review on the remastered version of the "Flashdance" soundtrack,I was using an older home stereo system that did not do the remaster justice. Years later,with another stereo system, I am able to hear subtleties and nuances as well as an overall smoother presentation of tonality and clarity of the remastered version(doing an A-B comparison between my original early 80's pressing and the remaster); It was not just a slight boosting of bass,mids,and treble frequencies which had led me to hear or believe that not much had been sonically changed or improved over the first pressing.
The sound now has a warmer,deeper sonic quality.The music just seems to flow better to these ears as opposed to the first pressing---while a good pressing, the first just exhibited that all too familiar bright and harsh digital sound and mastering.Sometimes, this is the true test for some audiophiles of a well remastered cd; Does the listener hear certain subtleties coming from the instruments,vocals, and overall musical-aural atmosphere that was not noticed before(rolled off highs and vocal articulations,dull,masked,smeared, or blended instruments)? All of these negative anomalies are gone or 'cleaned up' in the remaster.There is a smoother,and I will say,warmer,fluid-like analog sound.
This cd version does contain an alternate mix of the song "Manhunt" by Karen Kamon. The original vocals had more of an echo-reverb type characteristic which is not the case with this current remaster.The vocals are now more natural and upfront(the reverb is subdued). The lyrics,this time, are very well articulated---I would almost suspect they(remastering engineer) had the vocalist 're-do' the song for this newer release (hard to say for sure).
In sum, there is more sonic detail and punch (without exhibiting any high frequency and bass saturation or eq coloring) to this later version of the soundtrack. The reason why this has been such a pleasure reviewing or "re-mastering" my old review of said cd remaster is because it remains,to this day, one of my all time favorite film soundtracks. While it does sound musically dated---the use of the synthesizer and electronic drumming machines(but NOT in a bad way)--- it is a superb representation of the best pop music of that era when done right by the writers,artists,and producers(especially,the early 80's as the disco era had come to a complete halt by then)! It still sounds very good and very relevant today (as so many new pop artists in the 21st cenury try to emulate this particular sound because they like to pay an homage and get retro with the 80's).