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The Lost Boys 7 Inch Main

The Lost Boys - Cry Little Sister / I Still Believe 7” Review

Written by Richie Corelli

Released by Death Waltz

The Lost Boys 7 Inch Large

Composed by Gerard McMann and Michael Mainieri (A-Side) / Tim Capello (B-Side)
2018, 8 minutes

Review:

Before Twilight, before Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there was The Lost Boys. Directed by Joel Schumacher and billed as a horror comedy, The Lost Boys tells the story of a gang of vampires, out to cause mayhem in the seedy beach-town of Santa Carla. They set their eyes (and teeth) on the town’s newest resident, a young man named Michael Emerson. Teaming with his brother Sam, two townie kids, and a woman named Star, Michael takes on the vampires, forfeiting the chance at eternal youth.

Youth is the operative word. The Lost Boys was a part of the wave of teen-centric films that hit American cinemas in the 1980s. Through the decade, theaters saw blockbusters with stories about young people; rebels, outcasts, and love-struck high schoolers experiencing the pressures of adolescence. They were wildly successful.

But the studios weren’t simply going after movie ticket sales. They were doubling-down and attacking the radio as well. A catchy song carefully positioned in a teen flick would inspire movie patrons to leave the theater and run to their nearest Sam Goody to buy the official soundtrack on cassette. Teen movie exposure made hits. Simple Minds, Deniece Williams, Modern English, OMD, Cyndi Lauper, and The Bangles all performed teen movie songs that climbed to the very top of the Billboard charts.

The Lost Boys wanted in on this. The filmmakers recruited Gerard McMann for the job. He was a musician and songwriter who already had teen movie soundtracking background. But The Lost Boys was different than the other flicks he did. The horror elements made it romantically darker. The song he submitted for the soundtrack reflected this.

The Lost Boys 7 Inch 01

"Cry Little Sister" is goth by way of Hollywood, more Kenny Loggins than Sisters of Mercy. The track, written by McMann and Michael Mainieri and performed by McMann, starts with a weighty reverberated bass drum, thumping like a slow heartbeat. Synths slide in, steady and atmospheric. Vocals chop through, melodramatically crooning, “The last fire will rise / Behind those eyes / Black house will rock / Blind boys don’t lie.” The first three lines are delivered with Gary Numan-esque coolness, the last with a melodramatic wail. It creates a sense of theater that rides through the rest of the song. When McMann gets to the hook, the tone of the track is already set, but McMann intensifies it. He stretches each word as he howls, “Cry little sister.” The line is immediately following by a children’s church choir, sweeping in behind him, singing, “Thou shall not fall.” McMann and the choir go back and forth, working a call and response for most of the track.

The approach is completely overblown and extravagant. It’s cheesy in the best way. That Gerard McMann’s music is a corporate version of gothic rock hardly matters. Teen films have never been about authenticity. The style of the song fits with the film. The hook is infectious. It works.

The B-Side works too. There is a scene early in the movie where a large crowd of jubilant teenagers are at the beach for a nighttime rock concert. They are jumping up and down, dancing, clapping to the beat, cheering. On stage, is a shirtless muscled man with a saxophone. His long hair is pulled to a tight ponytail. When he sings, he pumps his fist toward the crowd and firelight reflects off his oiled chest and arms. When he blows into his sax, he gyrates his hips into the instrument.

The performer is Tim Capello. The song is "I Still Believe". That two-minute scene from The Lost Boys became the most recognizable moment of his career. But he was working in music long before that. Capello was trained in jazz but soon expanded beyond that genre. He played on two Peter Gabriel albums in the late ‘70s, toured with Carly Simon, and spent fifteen years alongside the great Tina Turner.

Capello’s provocative presentation on stage in The Lost Boys isn’t just about sexuality – though that’s definitely part of his showmanship. It’s also about who he is. Capello struggled with a serious heroin addiction in his younger days, but managed to kick the habit. He traded the needle for a pair of dumbbells and became a bodybuilder. It makes sense that he’d want to show-off and celebrate his physique.

"I Still Believe" sets the foundation first. A bass guitar establishes the rhythm. Synths lay down the tone. Capello’s saxophone chirps and whimpers. The instrument is like a dog pacing at a gate, waiting to be released. Capello starts singing the opening verse while the music builds behind him. The chorus evolves throughout the song. The lyrics shift, citing metaphoric examples of hardship. But the meter stays the same, and Capello’s frequent chant of, “I still believe,” keeps it all tied together.

The Lost Boys 7 Inch 02

The strange thing about "I Still Believe" being featured on a teen vampire movie is that the song could be classified as Christian rock. The track, originally written and performed by The Call, is riddled with lyrics referencing biblical passages. "I Still Believe" is also positive and upbeat, especially when compared to "Cry Little Sister". And yet this B-Side works just as well as the A-Side. This is likely because the song is forced in. Capello’s cameo in The Lost Boys is so conspicuous that it would be impossible to separate it from the film. The song is pushed forward with the same heavy hand as the rest of the film. It just belongs there.

That may be good or bad, depending on a person’s perspective. Some movie and music fans may celebrate the aesthetic of the 1980s while others may not. McMann’s "Cry Little Sister" and Capello’s "I Still Believe" are well-matched for the film, and they are both excellent for what they are, but they are dated. The sound and style is corny by contemporary standards.

Another potential negative regarding this release is the artwork and packaging. For this record, Mondo based their visuals off the pressing of the original 1987 French single. They reworked some of the type, first by reverting the title back to English and then by tweaking the spacing. But they didn’t do much beyond that. The image is a grainy black and white photo of the cast of the film positioned against a red background. The paper casing is matte. There are two versions of the vinyl inside. One is a black and blue swirl and the other is a very limited glow-in-the-dark vinyl. (The black and blue swirl has been used as the subject of this review.) The quality is not bad. The mixing could be a little deeper, but the overall sound is fine.

Of course, this is only a 7” single. Fans who are looking for the whole soundtrack experience might miss some of the songs from the long-player. The INXS / Jimmy Barnes collaborative cover of The Easybeats song "Good Times", for example, is not on here. Echo & The Bunnymen’s version of the famous The Doors song, "People Are Strange", is also missing. But for a short sample of the movie’s soundtrack, "Cry Little Sister" and "I Still Believe" are great choices. Like the film itself, the songs are over-the-top with their portrayals of angst and sentimentality. They’re a little silly. But they’re also a lot of fun.

Grades:

Music: Threeandahalfstars The Lost Boys 7 Inch Small
Buy Amazon Us
The Lost Boys 7 Inch Small
Buy Amazon Uk
Art: Twostars
Packaging: Threestars
Overall: Threestars

 

About The Author
Wrylab Staff
Staff Writer
Richie isn’t ignoring you. He just can’t hear you over the music. He’s been plugged in to his headphones for decades, diving into the zine culture of the 90s, blogging relentlessly through the 00s and beyond. He knows more about certain bands than he knows about himself. His love of music is rivaled only by his love of horror. If it’s creepy and spooky, he’s into it.

Horror DNA sutures his two passions together, giving him a platform to analyze and express his feelings on horror scores, soundtracks and live performances. It’s a celebration of all that goes bump in the night.
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