Great Moment’s in Synth: Faltermeyer’s “Top Gun”

Holy shit, if there’s a film with US military propaganda more blatant than the likes of Top Gun, show it to me, because I haven’t seen it. I have distinct childhood memories of watching this movie and immediately thinking, “being a fighter pilot would be cool; where’s the Air Force Academy?”. If that’s not successful marketing and branding, there’s no such thing! This movie is the standard.

And don’t be fooled. I am not criticizing the film-makers and producers at all. Their influential messages betray an admirable skill! They zapped me good. And it was hard to convince me in those days (let alone today, muahaha), because I was so independently driven to purchase commercial toys and movies and video games, that clearly they had to use wily box office schemes to get past my…. parents’ limited income critical consumer taste.

But again, I’m sure you’re asking yourself why THIS movie, why not 300 or Rambo 200x or Transformers or whatever other great US comrade-based stuff has been piped down the Holywood tubes as of late. And what “scheme” am I even talking about? Simple — this movie is still effectively manipulative now (despite being unbelievably terrible in a non-appealing way — whereas terrible-but-appealing would be, say… Weekend at Bernie’s or maybe Steven Seagal movies), due to the music. Don’t you think the catchy pop single on the soundtrack, “Highway to the Danger Zone”, is supremely rocking? Ahaha, well I sure hope not — because then you’d be a complete and utter tool! No, it’s a successfully evocative film because of Harold Faltermeyer‘s keyboard score. And Tom Skerritt’s mustache.

As example, take any one of these brilliant score pieces, like say… oh I don’t know, “Memories”. With this masterwork, does Faltermeyer not prove himself to be the J.S. Bach of the mid-late 1980s? I mean, the synthesizer is like the organ or clavier of the latter half of the 20th century, is it not? Now sure, calling someone the J.S. Bach of the ’80s may not actually mean anything at all, in a scholarly musical sense. Nay, all I meant is that this song kinda can remind you of a Bach piece. AGAIN, BY NO ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT, or even fine musical taste, but simply by virtue of the emotional engagement. It sounds like church music, from when church involved tangible spiritual experience — and was gothic and frightening. *

And hey, really, it’s kind of chuckle-worthy ironic that Faltermeyer had to write intense musical propaganda for the Reagan war machine, whereas Bach had to write intense musical propaganda for the Church… and…

*sigh* Okay, look, I’m obviously not an academic or objective scholar by any stretch. I’m here for one reason, and one reason only: to plug military films!

I assume this track is titled, “Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooose!”


*Going by the choral music they composed for church in Bach’s lifetime time, we can assume it was a melancholy, slightly macabre era, but the graceful bloodlust found in the works of Palestrina and Byrd is a whole ‘nother realm of sadness.


~ by chaosrexmachinae on November 22, 2009.

4 Responses to “Great Moment’s in Synth: Faltermeyer’s “Top Gun””

  1. I get the incredible feeling I’d grow a biker mustache if I listened to the soundtrack for more than 5 minutes. For some OUTSTANDING propaganda, check out “Journey for Margaret”.

  2. Only if you do it with aviator sunglasses on.

  3. I always have aviator sunglasses on.

  4. I lol’d

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