Despite my many hobbies and interests, I identify most as a big-time audio nerd. I adore music, and I especially enjoy collecting multiple copies of the same albums on multiple formats. I have an extensive CD collection that has been completely replaced at least three times (note: my cars have been broken into three times). I love my CD’s, but I don’t have many cassette copies of albums in my collection. While I aesthetically love cassette tapes, I have more romanticism for the physical shape of the cassettes and the time period in which they were king. The actual medium of cassettes have a sound quality level that hovers around “mostly dogshit” and “dumpster fire”. And don’t even get me started on how irritating tapes become once the tape player heads get overly magnetized… Fuck cassettes.
Deep inside my closet, I have a massive box full of vinyl albums that I have collected over the course of the last three tumultuous decades. This box weighs about the same as a washing machine and has survived at least ten different moves and two biblical flooding incidents.
So, from time to time, I’m gonna pull one of these gems out of my collection, dust it off, throw it on the turntable and critique it.
This being the inaugural column, I’ve decided to start out this series by swinging for the fences! I’m going to tell you all about…
THE ANIMALYMPICS SOUNDTRACK
By: Graham Gouldman, of 10cc
Release year: 1980
Label: A & M Records
Animalypics was an animated film that was originally designed to be intertwined with the actual broadcast feed of Olympic footage in the early Eighties. This was a novel idea, but there was lots of boycotting of the Games going on by lots of different countries. So the next best option for all this unused material was taking all the footage and cobbling it together into a standalone full length feature. This results in a movie that consists of a bunch of sporting event vignettes woven around a couple of loose plot points that emulates a live feed from an Olympic games. The only catch to this whole thing? All the athletes are …..ANIMALS!
….that are anthropomorphic and turn into race cars sometimes?
The animation in the film is agonizingly sub-par in spots, but for what it lacks in visual strength, it makes up with an amazing soundtrack. If I were going to classify the sound, it would be something in the realm of “psych-pop 70’s post-disco glam”. Overall, it’s a pretty hard genre to classify, so if you want to listen yourself, you can just watch the whole movie online for yourself (again, thanks, Internet!):
Normally, I would tell you to buy a copy of this movie, but it is extremely hard to come by the original VHS German pressing. It was on a regular rotation on the Showtime Channel back in the 80’s and that’s how we “torrented”our bootleg copy onto a worn Betamax tape. In the 90’s they continued to broadcast this forgotten gem on the Disney Channel, but this version had the that had some of the questionable jokes and weird racist shit completely cut out of it. After bouncing around in trademark and copyright hell, this film has yet to get a decent release for the last 30 years. However, a physical copy of all that great music can still be yours, but only if you can find a copy of the LP online.
I managed to find a pretty nice copy, even though the album jacket has a mysterious stain on the right side of the sleeve. Beggars can’t be choosers in the bloodthirsty dog-fighting circle of vinyl collecting, so I’ll just do my best to keep black lights as far away from my copy as humanly possible. So, let’s get down to the brass sack here and get this critiqued.
CURRENT eBAY VALUE:
$39.99 (Only two used copies available) That’s a pretty heavy price point, but with 180 gram reissues of stuff like Thriller and Pet Sounds being shilled at $30.00 or more, $39.99 really isn’t too much to complain about for such a hard-to-find niche album. I think I paid 31 bucks for mine, and the company that shipped it to me did a great job with the packing.
Here’s where it gets kind of tricky. Finding a complete copy in playable condition is a matter of lurking on eBay every couple of days for quite some time until the right one shows up. Finding a copy in the wild (secondhand stores, record stores) is going to be a futile effort due to it’s genre issues (is it 10cc? Is it strictly Graham Gouldman? Is it a soundtrack?), so in this case it is best to just let a robot in a warehouse do the digging for you.
Hands down, Underwater Fantasy is definitively the bee’s testes on this album with the strength of its gorgeous guitar lead. The cartoon section that accompanies this track is a representation of eating a handful of psychedelic mushrooms before jumping off a diving board. Both the song and the sequence are awesome, and every time I hear this song, I feel like surfing on a magenta dolphin. Check it out!:
All the tracks on this are pretty great, but some shine a little less than others. If I had to go with a “worst”, I would pick Born to Lose, since it’s so fucking depressing. There’s some strange and forced rhymes in it, and while the music isn’t terrible, I don’t care much for the lyrics.
OVERALL VINYL GUY RATING: 8.5/10
While this certainly is not Thriller, this is an album I’ve wanted to get my hands on for quite some time. Every track on this record is memorable, instantly recognizable and can transport me back to the 80’s. From the opening theme of the Furry Olympics to the melancholy song for when they are over, this album has great songs and can be left on your turntable for a while before you get tired of it. It can still be found at a reasonable price, but that is likely due to lack of demand. If Animalypics manages to get released in a modern format, the value of this LP could easily go up with new generations getting exposed to warthogs fencing for gold medals to a bitchin’ soundtrack.
Buy this album! Really!