International Title
Music By: Teo Macero
Record Label: Nippon Columbia
Running Time: 49:30 Discs: 1
Release: January 2011 CD Number: FJCM-011
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

With heavy backing by Kadokawa, a largely English spoken script and an international cast with familiarity for its day, the 1980 Virus was posed for great things. Like many Japanese films made with the intention of appealing to a Western audience, though, these great things weren't meant to be. While Virus did good at the box office in Japan, the film never got the grand theatrical debut in the US it had aspired to. Lost aspirations aside, the large budget and Western influence is felt even down to the score done by Kentaro Haneda and Teo Macero, which has some great cues, like the panic scenes with the virus, and some awful ones, such as when the nuclear bomb goes off. ...unfortunately, this CD isn't the score.

This 2011 release is a faithful reproduction of the original LP release for the movie done by Teo Macero, half of the movie's composing team. I actually had the "pleasure" of hearing the original record before, so knew what I was getting into here. In total, of 10 tracks, only three are from the actual film. Those three are "Adieu Mon Amor", "Main Theme: You Are Love" and "You Are Love". Everything else could best be described as inspired by tracks, and awful ones at that.

To cover the cues that are actually from the film, the CD starts off rather deceptively with "Adieu Mon Amor", which if you are watching the Japanese version is the opening theme. This track was scored rather masterfully by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It starts off rather ominously and drifts toward a tone that sounds rather sorrowful and tragic, keeping in check with the subject matter very well. Its a fantastic track all be told. Following that is the "Main Theme: You Are Love" by Janis Ian, who became quite popular in Japan and did a song for Tokyo: The Last War (1989) as well. It sounds a little dated today, with a folk-like vibe, but is still on the soothing side. Finally there is an instrumental version of the song, "You Are Love", which was done with the help of the I Love New York Strings Section. Its not as memorable as the first theme on the disc, and part of the track wasn't used in the film, but is still a nice soothing melody.

Now for the content that wasn't in the film, which is the majority of the themes here. Starting from the top is the incredibly dated "Love Sweet Love", which had Dave Valentin on flute, Larry Coryell on guitar and David Sanborn on sax. Researching each of them will show that they are actually well known musicians in the jazz genre for their day, but the end result is nothing to tout but all the same is one of the better themes not from the film. To make that point clear, its followed up by the keyboard track "Bedroom" theme by Chick Corea, which sounds so simplistic that it's hard to picture it as a commercial song. "Sweet Truth" has Scottish rock musician George Young doing sax, best known for having siblings in the AC/DC band, for another disappointing melody.

Skipping ahead is "MM88", a track named after the virus in the film which contains none of the dread or tragedy that it should and instead sounds very cheesy and mismatched entirely. Its done by Kazumi Watanabe on guitar, David Sanborn again on sax and Jon Faddis on trumpet. The next theme "Marit" sounds like it would have been more at home in a Yuji Ono score for the Lupin the 3rd franchise than a serious drama. "Marit" is done again by Kazumi Watanabe on guitar and George Young doing sax, lending themselves to create something utterly lacking. The final instrumental theme, done by Watanabe on guitar and Dave Valentin on flute, is about as tepid and unmemorable as the others. Finally, the last track on the disc is actually a decent, piano heavy song by Janis Ian. Its a shadow of the "You Are Love" song in terms of how appealing it is, sounding more like a sub par Bond song, but compared to the fairly awful themes that came before its a breath of fresh air.

Looking over the musicians and orchestras involved, the original record release was a largely international creation. Its pedigree betrays it, though, as outside of the three themes from the movie, nothing is worthwhile here. "Adieu Mon Amor" is fantastic, even what I would consider iPod worthy, but its bogged down by a CD containing so many bad tracks that its hard to give the release in anyway a positive rating. Hopefully, some day, a company will release the film's actual score that was done also by Kentaro Haneda.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Adieu Mon Amor
  2. Main Theme: You Are Love
    By: Janis Ian
  3. Love Sweet Love
  4. Bedroom
    By: Chick Corea
  5. Sweet Truth
  6. You Are Love
  7. MM88
  8. Marit
  9. Struggle Is My Name
  10. All to You
    By: Janis Ian