Various Artists - Hot Rod (Soundtrack) (2LP)


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**Red/White/Blue striped colored vinyl, first time on vinyl, limited, RSD 2019**

If you're a half-bright twenty-something whose greatest dream is to follow in the footsteps of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, what would your favorite band be? Well, if we're to trust the producers of the comedy Hot Rod, starring Saturday Night Live regular Andy Samberg as would-be stuntman Rod Kimble, such a young man would have a serious jones for Europe, the bombastic Swedish prog metal band who scored a massive hit with "The Final Countdown" in 1986. Europe is the only act who appears more than once on the soundtrack to Hot Rod, with four cuts from 1986's The Final Countdown album included here (though not the title tune, which was doubtless too expensive to license), while the rest of the disc is dominated by similarly overblown mid-'80s fare from Moving Pictures, Stacey Q, Cutting Crew and Giorgio Moroder, as well as an '80s pomp-rock parody from Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age recording as Gown (you can tell it's a parody because the guitar work isn't as smooth as on the Europe cuts). Exactly why a kid whose obsessions are mired in the '70s would be so fascinated with music of the mid-'80s isn't explained, and the dialogue excerpts here aren't likely to give anyone much confidence in the movie's ability to generate laughs ("When you go on a date, you put on a shirt" -- wow, someone got paid to write that?), but if you have an appetite for music so cheesy that it ought to be served in individually wrapped slices, this soundtrack certainly delivers the bill, capturing '80s rock at its most over the top (though it's worth mentioning that Europe album is still in print if you'd rather go for the gusto without any irony getting in the way).

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