I grew up in choir. I was always around people who loved jazz hands and musicals. Oddly enough, I was not one of them. I rolled my eyes at them and thought musicals were overrated. I disliked more musicals than I liked.
Before I saw “La La Land,” I didn’t realize it was a musical. The preview I had seen months before was very inconspicuous, which was one of the reasons I wanted to see it. Plus, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling? Those two are perfect on-screen lovers.
I was definitely thrown off guard when the first scene started with a bunch of strangers in stand-still traffic singing and dancing, but I warmed up to it. I listened to the soundtrack for about three weeks after seeing it (and may or may not have seen the movie two more times in theater).
I’ve heard and read a lot about how Stone and Gosling weren’t right for the roles and they aren’t good singers. Personally, I would rather have phenomenal actors who are average singers rather than phenomenal singers who can’t act.
And coming from a person who has had professional training, I think they were perfect for the job. They weren’t auto tuned and they weren’t pitchy. I’m wracking my brain, and I honestly can’t think of better actors or singers for the parts.
I was surprised to find out that Gosling learned jazz piano for this movie, so he was doing both his own singing and piano playing.
There are so many things I could talk about with this soundtrack. Like all musicals, it has a few motifs that are repeated throughout. The two motifs are introduced in “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme” and “City of Stars.”
The motifs are so simple, yet they tell so much about the story. Justin Hurwitz, the composer, couldn’t have done a better job. They resonated in my heart.
I loved the array of music in this soundtrack. I can usually guess what is going to come next in a song, but “La La Land” kept me guessing.
When listening to the album from start to finish, it starts out upbeat and exciting. It gradually gets more thoughtful, slower and complex, just as the movie does. The soundtrack truly reflects the movie itself. I can listen to the album and get the same out of it as if I’d sat down and watched the movie again.
The second to last song, “Epilogue,” fuses all of the previous songs together seamlessly. It’s the perfect way to bring the whole movie together. I listened to this track more than the rest.
This soundtrack is whimsical, complex, playful, heart-wrenching and catchy. This album, even if you haven’t seen the movie, has the potential to take you on an emotional roller coaster, if you let it.