I got a chance to listen to the original score album for the film Step Up All In, (as preparation for an interview with composer, Jeff Cardoni), and I figured it would be great to post a quick review of the tracks on the album, so here goes.
The first thing to strike you on listening through the tracks are the sweet melodies – sometimes sombre, sometimes joyous and even suspenseful, but never overly frenetic, despite being composed for a dance film. The title track “Bring The House Down” embodies this concept – i.e. working as a vehicle and glue that fills the space between the high octane dancing and music sets which defines the Step Up franchise. It delivers most aspects of this role, from a soft, sombre reflective beginning (complete with warm pads and strings) to a nice rhythmic guitar led mid-section, and culminating in a lush drum and guitar powered epic ballad-esque ending, including crescendos and an abrupt end. Nice.
The recurring theme is present in a couple of other tracks, notably “To Be a Dancer” and “Tough Times in Hollywood”. The suspense and drama comes with tracks like “Welcome to The Vortex” or “The Mob vs. Lmntrix” which reference the film’s dance DNA and provides some head-bopping, foot-tapping, orchestral-hit enhanced bounce. Even tracks like “Let’s Get Out” and “The Fix is In” start out with a delectable bring-on-the-party vibe, but they quickly return to the melodic simplicity of the recurrent musical theme. Its almost as if they’re reminded, just in the nick of time, that their primary purpose is to be the breathing space between key dance scenes and music. Masterful.
The rest of the tracks are similarly good, without trying too hard to be standout in any way, which just confirms the impression that this score was designed precisely to accomplish that outcome. The orchestral presence also brings an excellent richness to the score which enhances and adds to the same intent and result. Excellent work overall by Mr Cardoni.