Reviews | Written by Nick Spacek 27/12/2018

BREAKING BAD OST (2018)

Music On Vinyl's “At the Movies” imprint has released the definitive collection of music from the AMC series Breaking Bad. In honor of the show's tenth anniversary, the label created a box set collection of five 10” vinyl records, each representing a season of the popular show. Considering the only other official release of Breaking Bad soundtrack music came as a woefully inadequate compact disc in 2014, this has been something fans have wanted ever since the series ended.

That CD compilation only covered music from the show's first two seasons, and while it included exclusive tracks like the narcocorrido "Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg" by Los Cuates de Sinaloa, it really missed out on some of the show's most notable musical moments like America's "Horse with No Name", "Pollos Hermanos Veneno" by Chuy Flores, or - of course - Badfinger's "Baby Blue".

This compilation, even at 41 songs and a handful of dialogue snippets, still doesn't contain all of the music from the iconic show, but as the liner notes by music supervisor Thomas Golubić point out, they "tended to use music very sparingly in the show and strive to make each moment count." If there's a favorite musical highlight of the show, it probably made the cut here, along with a short insight from Golubić as to where it came from and why.

A perfect case in point is where the music supervisor points out that, while Jesse Pinkman's musical taste in the first season was "knucklehead hip hop" they "slowly navigated Jamaican rocksteady and dancehall tunes into his collection to express this budding romance, and emerging self-acceptance." Hence, Yellowman's delightful "Zungguzungguzungguzeng".

Even if this box set finds its way into the hands of someone who's never binged season after season of Breaking Bad, the music within is sure to strike a chord. The desert loneliness and bleak sunlit city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, can be felt in every note of every song here, be it Marty Robbins' "El Paso" or "Banderilla" by Calexico.

However, the music team at Breaking Bad weren't beyond exploiting the strong emotional pull of a nostalgic nugget like "Windy" by the Association or Tommy James & The Shondells' "Crystal Blue Persuasion" for maximum effect, either. It's a masterful selection which is equally appropriate for sun-bleached landscapes or dimly-lit meth labs. The 10” vinyl might seem a little odd for those used to LPs, but it keeps the music from being too tightly compressed on the discs, and allows the music to really breathe and come through loud and clear in the pressings.

At the Movies' collection is a limited edition of 5000 individually numbered copies on "Albuquerque crystal" vinyl, which is transparent with a hint of turquoise. It looks like that infamous meth, which is a very nice touch. The package also houses the aforementioned excellent liner notes from Thomas Golubić, which are the real draw here. Throw in a Los Pollos Hermanos ID badge and big poster, and this is a dream set.

BREAKING BAD OST (2018) / PERFORMER & COMPOSER: VARIOUS / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW