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Soundtrack review: 21 Jump Street (Peter Bernstein – 1987)

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Soundtrack review: 21 Jump Street (Peter Bernstein – 1987)

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“21 Jump Street” is an American police procedural television series that aired on the Fox network and in first run syndication from April 12, 1987, to April 27, 1991, with a total of 103 episodes. The series focuses on a squad of youthful-looking undercover police officers investigating crimes in high schools, colleges, and other teenage venues. It was originally going to be titled Jump Street Chapel, after the deconsecrated church building in which the unit has its headquarters, but was changed at Fox’s request so as not to mislead viewers into thinking it was a religious program. Peter Bernstein wrote the score.

Well Varese releasing this score 30 years later came as a wonderful surprise; I remember watching Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco in this TV show week in and week out as a big part of my teenage years and both my first police procedural and sort of my first teenage show. I don’t remember much from the music in context but I couldn’t wait to rediscover it now. This was the late 80 and you can hardly find a better musical period, both instrumental and vocal; it was magical and the main theme, with the synth undertone and the teen idol vocals is pure 80s cheese, the best kind. I like that they included the vocal theme as well in this release. When the score begins and I hear a random cue like “Hansen”, a simple, melodic and warm synth peace it takes me back to my teenage years when I was binging shows like this and it makes me wish somebody would release a hefty box set of music from “Beverly Hills 90210”. This sound is so fused into those years, that decade that I am hypnotised from the first notes and just sucked back into that time.

The music of “21 Jump street” is the perfect blend of synth and rock, just the two genres that made that decade legendary. The show had both these angles, the teen angle and the police angle and Peter Bernstein captured both in the most authentic way possible. Listening to this release is like taking one of the best and most intense nostalgia trips I could ever take while listening to music. This is my sound, this is the sound I grew up with, this, the sound of 80s, is my favourite sound ever and it will never change; a perfect combination of light synth pop and dark synth rock, with a more emotional tone when needed, like in “Requiem” but still with that youthful innocence of the synth.

I have watched hundreds, countless hours of 80s and early 90s TV shows, teen and cop shows and the music was quite similar and it became permanently engraved inside me; synth for love, synth for action, synth for suspense and a pop-rock sauce to tie them all together. The music of “21 Jump street” is such a familiar place for me and one that I will never get tired of visiting over and over again. This score is, for me, legendary and of the best tapestries of pure 80s music you could ever find. It’s the culmination fo a decade of music and I am beyond happy and grateful to have it released. Like I said now I only wish somebody (maybe Varese themselves in this same collection) would take up BH 90210 because the score there was golden as well. I have nothing more to say other than if you love the 80s and THAT particular sound, you will find it here as detailed and pleasurable as you could ever do. It’s a celebration of the decade and of the unique awesomeness of the synth. And it does all this while serving the show in the same time as the tonal darkening of the script in later seasons is mirrored by the evolution of the music on the second CD.

The music of the 80s was a colourful combination of boldness, flashiness and rhythm and this release of Peter Bernstein’s music for “21 Jump street” is one of the best gifts and legacy releases of the past few years.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 95 / 95

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:
01 – 21 Jump Street
01 – 21 Jump Street (Theme)
02 – Hansen
03 – Mean Streets
04 – Worst Night Of Your Life
05 – The Teacher
06 – Bad Influence
07 – Holly
08 – Requiem
09 – Riffing
10 – Has To End
11 – Low And Away
12 – This Generation
13 – Goin To School
14 – On The Road
15 – Rainbow
16 – After School Special
17 – A Big Disease
18 – Higher
19 – Beseiged
20 – The Body
21 – Christmas Day
22 – I’m OK
23 – The Best Years
24 – Cory and Dean
25 – Animals
01- Date With An Angel
02 – Cruising With Angels
03 – Currency
04 – Our Choice
05 – The Dragon
06 – What About Love
07 – Nemesis
08 – Hell Week
09 – Loc’d Out pt
10 – Loc’d Out pt 2
11 – 1000 Points Of Light
12 – High
13 – Hope
14 – Eternal
15 – It Ain’t So
16 – A New Age
17 – Come From The Shadows
18 – Your Man
19 – Parental Guidance
20 – Heart
21 – Everyday
22 – One More Chance
23 – Poison
24 – Back To School
25 – Crossfire

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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