Published Nov 24, 2018If you were a kid growing up in the '90s, escaping the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was nearly impossible. From comics to action figures to Saturday morning cartoons, the heroes in a half shell were everywhere. In fact, they even made it onto the silver screen for a 1990 live-action film. But while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proved to be a massive hit that even spawned a pair of sequels, the one thing it never did lead to was a proper soundtrack release.
While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got treated to a various artists OST release — complete with MC Hammer — back in 1990, the full score by composer John Du Prez has never actually seen the light of day up here above the sewers. Righting that past wrong are now the soundtrack fiends at Waxwork Records, who have at last unearthed the complete score via a sprawling double vinyl release.
Despite the kid-oriented subject matter of the actual film, Du Prez's score is actually a very serious piece of soundtracking, with the album's songs standing tall alongside the action scores of the time. This often is thanks Du Prez's stylistic reach on TMNT, which is impressively diverse.
Throughout, you're hit with a range of tracks: retro-futurist synth passages, bombastic guitar shredders, new-wave dance jams and even some twangy surf-rock numbers. While these pieces often have a John Carpenter vibe (à la Big Trouble Little China), Du Prez also ventures into some Morricone territory, with tracks such as "Trouble" and "Their Greatest Fear" flowing out via some seriously majestic string movements.
While the Waxwork release squarely shines a light on Du Prez's actual TMNT music, the OST also features a bit of dialogue from the actual film. Specifically, this comes via Master Splinter, who provides some impassioned speeches about "Japan's finest shadow warriors" and "learning the secret art of ninja" — not to mention finding four pizza-loving baby turtles.
In addition to featuring the full score, the Waxwork release also boasts new art by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, in addition to deluxe packaging on an old-style tip-on gatefold sleeve, complete with a film poster postcard and poster.
Packaged all up, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack is a definite nostalgia trip, but it's also one well worth taking. (Waxwork Records)