Jersey Boys Soundtrack (review)

The Jersey Boys – Music From the Motion Picture and Broadway Musical (Rhino) review

While the Clint Eastwood-diected movie concentrates on the darker side of the Four Seasons’ story, the soundtrack is pure fun.

While assembling this new soundtrack, Bob Gaudio, the Four Seasons’ primary songwriter, had a dilemma: how to capture the energy of the movie and Broadway musical while staying true to the original music?  Well, he succeeds by using elements both old and new.  As a result, the Jersey Boys Soundtrack works as both a starting point for novices and a fun listen for long-time fans.\

It’s obvious that a great deal of time was spent on the running order.  The disc opens with the nostalgic “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)” by the original band, before switching to songs by the movie ensemble.  But, this is introduced by lesser-known tracks like “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “A Sunday Kind of Love,” helping to acclimate the listener to this more modern sound.

Then come the hits done by the movie band – “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man” all benefit from updated sonic fidelity.  The drums are especially louder – “Dawn (Go Away)” rocks in this new version.  John Lloyd Young does an amazing job of capturing the essence of Frankie Valli without being a direct copycat.

Gaudio gets clever in the second half of the disc, beginning songs with the original band recording then switching to the Broadway cast for several tracks, with “Beggin’” transformed into a danceable number, while “C’mon Marianne” is a bona fide rocker.

After a finale that reprises “December,” done by the movie cast, the soundtrack closes with original versions of three of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits – “Sherry,” “Dawn (Go Away),” and “Rag Doll.”  After over 50 years, these tracks still have an unmistakable vitality.

By giving some of the songs a modern sound and placing them alongside classic material,  the Jersey Boys Soundtrack makes for an exciting listen.  It may make you delve a little deeper into the history of one of the greatest vocal groups of all-time.  —Tony Peters