Eric Serra,
The Fifth Element
(Virgin, 1997)

In 1997, director Luc Besson brought The Fifth Element to the big screen -- a journey into a hard edged, bright and thrilling future where mankind's existence hung on the actions of a burnt-out army officer turned cabby and a beautiful alien girl. Besson called on many talents to help take us on this journey, such as Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich and Chris Tucker. But to solidify his world, he needed the right music. So, he brought on board Eric Serra for the film's soundtrack.

The disk, containing 26 tracks, is a beautiful work of musical interludes, with Middle Eastern influences meeting with contemporary compositions and techno instrumentation. This blend makes for listening pleasure, as the ear is treated to a variety of themes expressed through the scores.

Of the tracks, five deserve special attention. For instance, tracks 14 and 15 are the performances of the alien diva. Track 14, "Lucia Di Lammermoor," is mostly a contemporary opera piece. Its counterpart, "The Diva Dance," continues the performance with her singing to a more techno-disco beat.

Track ten, "The Rudy Rap", is actually Chris Tucker's performance as the broadcast superstar, Rudy Ross, a flamboyant radio personality who interviews Korbin Dallas, played by Willis. It's a funny little break in the music.

"Little Light Of Love," the first track, and its reprise at the end of the album, set the tone with its lyrical prose and dry vocals; performed by R.X.R.A., it expresses the power of love. And it is, in my opinion, one of the best tracks on the album.

"Aknot! What?" is a bonus track, mixing various sampled sound bites from the movie into a beat-driven little romp to end the album.

Over all, the soundtrack to The Fifth Element is a powerful blend of musical media which delivers its themes with great skill -- melodic at times, upbeat at others.

[ by Charlie Gebetsberger ]

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