Ba ba ba ba ba Bambiiiii! Well, this is going to be a short one. You know, I maintain that Bambi still has some of, if not the best animated animals ever. There are so many moments in the film that still astonish – the subtle twist of an ear or way an animal walks – all perfect. In the musical department… not so much. Not that you expect a film like this to have memorable songs. Lets go.
‘Love Is A Song‘ is an Oscar nominated song, but what does it really have to do with the story of Bambi? The vocals are weird and old timey, but the actual melody of the title is memorable. The rest of the song is the usual mix of dreary choral voices and strings that sends me up the wall, across the ceiling, up the chimney, and beyond.
‘Little April Shower‘ is probably the most obvious stand out song here, mostly because it is so catchy. Even the creepy childish voices singing don’t hurt it much. This is definitely a song to hear a good singer cover. It all gets a bit muddled with the multiple voices coming in, but that suits the scene and what is going on in the movie.
‘Lets Sing A Gay Little Spring Song‘ deserves one statement only. All together now – WTF!
‘Looking For Romance‘ is a weird one – more weird semi operatic vocals with blasting strings. I quite like the chorus though, again it would be better with just one voice – a good voice.
So… the Bambi soundtrack is one to skip, at least the songs. Some of the other music is great – especially the music that tells you Man (Jaws) is coming. And the movie itself is fabulous. Can’t win ’em all. Let us know in the comments if there are any favourites here.
If that image doesn’t conjure up heartwarming nostalgic feelings, then I don’t know what will. That’s right folks, today I listen to all of the songs from Disney’s second masterpiece Pinnochio – some of which have gone on to become seminal and iconic pieces of pop culture. I, and I assume most of you, will be familiar with these ones so I’m also including some of the songs which didn’t make the final cut. Enjoy!
‘When You Wish Upon A Star‘. No other song is so associated with Disney as this one. The song frequently appears in the greatest movie song ever lists and critics usually rank it as the best Disney Movie song. It is a lovely song, hopeful, dreamy, and with an instantly memorable melody. I can’t say I like certain parts of the arrangement and backing vocals – things which later versions have removed or updated, but the core of the song is timeless and magical.
‘Little Wooden Head‘. This is a twee, fun little number with Gepetto talking and singing over tinkling, bouncy music which sounds like it has been produced by a music box. Better backing vocals then emerge to fill up a nice enough jingle, but it’s forgettable compared with the songs around it.
‘Give A Little Whistle‘. Another centerpiece for the movie and company, this merges old fashioned moral sentiment with a hopeful message – if you’re uncertain, give a little whistle and let conscience be your guide. Like many early Disney songs it’s little more than a brief jingle rather than a fully fledged song, but also like so many of them it’s unbearably catchy.
‘Hi Diddle Dee Dee‘. Honest John… well he was both honest and dishonest, and his lyrics here remain highly relevant today as every nobody clamours on top of each other to be a somebody – after all, it’s great to be a celebrity. The first Disney song by a bad guy, it’s unusually cheery and upbeat – but that is all part and parcel of the tempting nature of fame and the dark side – poor old Pinocchio wouldn’t be sucked in so badly if it wasn’t so seductive and innocent seeming on the surface.
‘I’ve Got No Strings On Me‘. I might like this song more if it wasn’t so effing high pitched. I think that may be biggest problem with the movie as a whole – it just hurts my ears. That being said, it’s another utterly timeless song with a few musical styles and interesting time changes, and even with all the ear-bleeding you’ll find yourself singing parts of it hours afterwards.
‘Hi Diddle Dee Dee Reprise’. Thief! Kidnap! Help!
‘When You Wish Upon A Star Reprise‘. So sad. So happy. Bittersweet? It’s the end, and a perfect on at that.
‘I’m A Happy Go Lucky Fellow‘. This one was written for Pinocchio but was left off and then included in Fun And Fancy Free. Honestly it suits the short rather than the movie it was originally intended for. It segues in nicely from the title track and of course it’s good to see Jiminy again. It’s a light and silly song – not much more than a piece of fluff, and not really very good with all those old trumpets and choral vocals I usually can’t stand.
‘Honest John‘. More of the same really, a self-explanatory song about the character with that horrible singing style I don’t like. It bounces up and down and moves quickly, but is broken up with the odd spoken part and sound effect which sound bizarre without any animation to go along with it – Hi Diddle Dee Dee clearly does the same job better.
‘As I Was Saying To The Duchess‘. A big swelling of strings, joined by brass for an epic opening. A summery string piece follows before the vocals begin. Funny lyrics sun in a funny voice. Brief.
‘Three Cheers For Anything‘. Wait wait wait. Is there where Pink Floyd got some of the lyrics for Another Brick In The Wall from? Wow, that’s a revelation or coincidence or something. It’s quite a light song, the music reminds me of Tom and Jerry, a nice drum section steadies the ship in the middle -nice, not necessary.
‘Monstro The Whale‘. Well, not exactly what I expected. This sounds like some camp 1960’s comedy. It also sounds like clothes shop muzak. It doesn’t make Monstro sound menacing or monstrous, but more like a cheeky wee scamp who’d steal your lunch money, then give you some change.
‘Turn On The Old Music Box‘. Sounds like Jiminy. A quaint, easy listening song with an old-fashioned feel and a desire to share even more old-fashioned stylings. There’s a catchy part in the middle, some swooning backing vocals… yeah, I could see this one appearing in the movie.
So, Pinocchio. Some more iconic songs, and a few interesting asides. Really, there are three songs here which you would want to bring along to the next world and share with the population. What, you’ve never had those fantasies? About being shot forward in space and time, or sent to another galaxy, and you can only bring limited music/movies/books/whatever with you? Yeah, based on that fantasy, there are only three songs which you could honestly take with you from this soundtrack, and only one of those is an absolute must. Say it ain’t so? Say it in the comments!
You didn’t think he was going to do it, but back of the net! He (I’m) back, and yes, this time I’m going to branch off from the main Bon Jovi discography and listen to Jon’s two solo efforts. Blaze Of Glory or the Young Guns II Soundtrack was written and released at what most consider the band’s heyday – late 1980s, early 90s. At the time of writing, I have listened to and reviewed all of Bon Jovi’s pre-2000 albums so before I move on to the new millennium I thought I would cross off the two main solo albums. The other members of the band have released solo material, but I don’t know if I’ll care enough to listen to those – at least with Jon’s solo albums I am already aware of some of the songs and have a vague idea of what I’m getting myself into. Young Guns II is a particular favourite of mine and I’ve always been fond of the music – even though only two songs from this album appear in the movie. I haven’t heard the rest of this album, as far as I can recall, so it’ll be another interesting one for me. For you? Shut up and read.
Billy Get Your Guns: Starts in standard Bon Jovi style – big guitars and a little bit cheesy and 80s around the edges. He’s saying ‘Billy’ too much. Nothing exciting in the verses, light, fun, with a chorus which is a little better but still not anything special. There’s a pretty awful hand clap, music free section in there to reduce levels further.
Miracle: Ahh, that short intro brings back memories of watching the movie, before the song proper starts. This one seems like a nice enough ballad – I’ve probably head this before but I don’t remember exactly. More unfortunate hand claps in the chorus, along with some gospel backing – a decent chorus but it’s all very MOR 80s stuff. The guitar solo works well though.
Blaze Of Glory: The main event. Growing up as not a huge fan of Westerns in general, anytime I thought about cowboys I heard this song in my head. Even know, those opening notes make me think of The Wild West. Great song and typical of Bon Jovi’s best – atmospheric, melodic, big chorus. It’s great how the song fits in so well with the movie too, from lyrics to the actual music.
Blood Money: Harmonica and country guitars. Pat Garrett. Good verse melodies. Good melodies throughout. A short and sweet one, interesting and pretty.
Santa Fe: Drums and strings and piano. Nice intro. Good vocals again and more good melodies. Emotive and atmospheric, another great song which I’m surprised I don’t know.
Justice In The Barrel: Native American voices and other assorted sounds and words. This goes one for about a minute before the guitar comes in – great solo followed by manic drums, spoken words, gunshots and other swirling sounds. This interesting start gives way after a couple of minutes to a jarring, slightly cheesy riff. More very 80s stuff once the singing begins. The drums are unusually stuttered throughout. Decent middle section with more good guitars. A very odd song with equal parts good, bizarre, and crap.
Never Say Die: This is a faster paced song with memorable simple riff and catchy moments throughout. This one is quite familiar to me so I must have heard it before. Not sure about those random shouts, but that’s part and parcel of the BJ experience (matron). This could be a Bon Jovi band song from the 80s as it has the euphoric stadium chorus and the fist-pumping verses as any of their singles.
You Really Got Me Now: What a silly opening. What a silly tavern song. I guess it’s maybe good for a chuckle, but it’s nonsense that shouldn’t be on the album.
Bang A Drum: Drums. Chord. This sounds more reasonable. Drums pull back. Preacher. Decent verse. Good chorus. Similar inspiring stuff as your standard Bon Jovi fare. Backing choir for the chorus. Decent bridge. Here comes the solo? Yes. Extended outro with more prominent choir work. A perfectly fine song.
Dyin’ Ain’t Much Of A Livin’: Taking a famous Eastwood movie quote as the title for one of your songs seems like a good enough idea. Slow pace. More atmospheric soul searching. The chorus doesn’t have the impact it needs to. I think the verses and chorus work well on their own, but there is a slight disconnect between them so everything doesn’t sync up. Hmm, that na na bit actually sounds a little like a song I wrote, slightly.
Guano City: And so we reach the end. Seems like they have gone instrumental. It pumps along in dramatic fashion, reminds me a little of The Untouchables. Too short and doesn’t add anything to the album whatsoever.
A mixture of good and bad then – par for the course. Plenty of the songs fit with the tone of the movie and stand well on their own, but there’s only two or three here you’re going to choose to listen to multiple times. Next time it’ll be Jon’s second solo effort – again a soundtrack, but this time for a movie I haven’t seen – Destination Anywhere. Let us know in the comments what your thoughts of Blaze Of Glory and Young Guns II are!
While the second film was a complete letdown, a camp abomination, the soundtrack stands out. People who were never fans of the first film mostly can agree that the music was nothing less than brilliant and while this soundtrack doesn’t quite reach those heights, it’s still better than most. With a great theme of its own, owing much to Westerns from previous decades Conan The Destroyer is at its best when it replays classic pieces from the first film, merging them with the new and giving them a unique flavour. Again the score is expansive and evokes both images from the film as well as caressing the imagination muscles. A few of the tracks lack the melodic or imaginative qualities of others, but considering how repetitive most soundtracks naturally are (central one or two themes recurring over and over between tuneless strings and dramatic pieces). While not as essential as the first, this is still worth a listen.
`Riders Of Tamaris’ opens the soundtrack and film in dramatic style, instantly recalling the epic nature of the first. The instruments used
and the structure remind the listener of the first one and when the main theme quickly burst in you know that this is more of an adventure than the first. The tone is lighter, more akin to a Western and there is less of a threatening and foreboding feeling. The track breaks off into several different pieces, unintentionally and ironically conveying the messy plot and jumbled nature of the film, but accurately showing the diversity of characters, places, and themes. With a better script, acting, and if the story had been taken more
seriously the film could have been a greater success – certainly the first track suggests greater things.
`Valeria Remembered’ shows that as much as the first soundtrack conveyed the epic nature of the first film, it was the emotive
and tragic moments which raised its status to great heights. The second track drives the central plot – Conan believing he can bring his lost love back from the dead. His character has been lost since losing her and no amount of revenge and carnage has been able to fill the void. The track has a slightly different arrangement here as well as a few new instruments added. The tragedy here is re-iterated by the fact that we know Conan is being tricked and that there is no way he can reclaim Valeria.
`The Horn Of Dagoth’ opens with a sense of mystery and wonder, twisting harpsichord style strings merged with lower brass notes. Halfway through the track there is a quick shift to wind instruments before returning to the strings. These move together for the final part of the track creating a memorable ending although the melodies themselves are not too strong.
`Elite Guard Attacks’ is the first battle theme, employing the main title theme again. Like the first, Poledouris ensures that we can imagine what is happening without actually seeing it – two ranks of opposing warriors racing towards each other, good and evil, and crashing together in deadly combat. The stings slither around, climbing and falling and there are a few moments taken from the first soundtrack. This is a strong track but lacks the edge of Riders Of Doom from the first.
`Crystal Palace’ continues the mystical theme evoking images of magical places, characters stumbling around in wonder at sights never before witnessed. About a minute in fans of both the Robocop film and soundtrack will notice a very familiar section. There are a lot of similarities between those two soundtracks, both films focus on themes of betrayal and amazement at new encounters. The timing suggests crawling ever onwards in a wary fashion. Towards the end though there is a break to the more heroic theme which sounds like something from a Spaghetti Western before a crescendo of strings. The conclusion brings back the love theme from the original as Conan catches dreamlike images of Valeria.
`The Katta’ is a short track which I wish was longer. It begins with diamond like twinkling sounds and hurried violins before another newly arranged theme from the original is brought in. This fades away softly as if it had never been.
`Dream Quest’ is another fairly short track, especially as the first part is almost completely silent. After that is a mix of smaller pieces – a heroic brass burst, a peaceful flute interlude, a crashing return to the battle theme.
`Night Bird’ returns to mysterious and unnerving sounds, other worldly composition with instruments coming and going in a ghostly manner. There isn’t much of a melody to speak of, just lots of pieces revolving around each other and a couple of motifs.
`Approach To Shadizaar’ is another re-arrangement of one the tracks from the original, this time with the jangly percussion added. It sees the group of warriors and adventurers approaching Shadizaar, and evokes images of tall towers, bazaars, bustling crowds, and excitement. The final minute is completely new though, with a quieter melody showing that Conan has learnt from previous experiences to be more guarded.
`The Scrolls’ is a led by horns over a long sustained string note before a new theme of tragedy and loss begins. This is one of the more emotive moments of the soundtrack and speaks of the sadness of the character. Possibly the best track here it seems all too short and feels like there was more to say and play.
`Dualing Wizards’ is basically the recurring heroic theme arranged in a more subtle way; two wizards fighting rather than two gladiators. Again it seems like this track was cut short when there was plenty more which could have been given.
`Illusion’s Lake’ is another all new track and sounds unlike everything else on both soundtracks. It is a couple of pieces weaved together and repeating to give the impression of mirrors, repetition, mirages, and becoming trapped.
`Conan And Bombatta’ is the main theme with variances accompanying the two men battling. Evenly matched warriors, the fight on-screen is epic and the music matches it. It is a rather abrupt end to the soundtrack and they really should have included a closing credits sequence featuring the highlights from the soundtrack. The film may have been messy but the score is great but this release doesn’t give it the full credit it deserves.
Poledouris again gives his audience some wonderful pieces of music, although not quite reaching the greatness of his first foray into Cimmeria. The moments of brilliance largely come from the recurring moments from the first soundtrack, while there are a couple of equally strong new themes. Unfortunately many of the good moments feel as if they have been cut cruelly short – this is as almost as annoying as the way the film turned out considering how good the first was. The film feels rushed and as such Poledouris probably was not given much time or freedom to create, but again he does more than simply provide a film with some ambient background noise – he lets the music tell a story of its own and raises a poor film to heights it wouldn’t have otherwise achieved. If you’re a fan of the first this is definitely worth getting.
I’ve always felt that the greatest travesty in the history of the Oscars is the fact that this did not win Best Soundtrack; it wasn’t even nominated. If you ever needed proof that the whole ceremony is a shambles then surely that is it. Better than ET, better than Star Wars, Conan The Barbarian is the greatest movie soundtrack of all time. While others like the two I’ve already mentioned may have a superior or more memorable stand alone theme, Conan is consistently brilliant. Each track stands as a wonderful piece on its own while taken as a whole it is epic and flowing, telling a hundred stories without words. While each piece evokes images and moments from the film they go further and open one’s own imagination; like the best music, the best albums, you can drift away into a world of your own making very easily after a few seconds of this. Massively influential on every fantasy and action movie soundtrack since it is rousing, thumping, tender and emotional, written with every last ounce of love and skill from an artist at his peak, and played sublimely. This should be on every music fan’s shelf.
`Anvil Of Crom’ opens the score with ominous, loud drums and horns, foretelling a great battle and sounding like ten thousand horsemen galloping forwards. As it is the first track it wants to tell the entire story of the course of it’s two and a half minutes. The middle section is a rousing, emotional violin piece giving the listener visions of glory and wonder. The track builds up again towards the end with further brass blasts and percussion before ending suddenly.
`Riddle Of Steel/Riders Of Doom’ begins in a quiet, mystical fashion and immediately those who have seen the film will remember the young Conan watching his father and hearing about the riddle of steel which would go on to shape his life. This doesn’t last long though as the peace is broken by marauding warriors, introduced by steadily growing horns, timpani and monk like chanting. The melodies here are as good as any song you could imagine, every section of the orchestra used to perfection, all melding together as one. The pace picks up to signify the fury and confusion of the attack before launching into a final two minutes of charging, brutal, beautiful music. We can see the battle raging on, the good guys struggling to overcome their enemy, and the introduction of several motifs which will recur throughout the entire score.
`Gift Of Fury’ starts with a slow, downbeat marching rhythm before the mournful, cult like chanting begins. Given that the first 20 or 30 minutes of the film has little or no dialogue the music needs to powerful enough and noticeable enough to carry the plot itself, here we notice the change from Conan’s tough but innocent childhood into one of slavery and revenge. The last minute of the track is quite bewitching, hinting at the wizardry and mystical powers of Thulsa Doom and how even his gaze was enough to lead people to their deaths.
`Wheel Of Pain’ is the track which accompanies another major turning point in Conan’s life- from boyhood to manhood. The famous scene in the movie is of Conan and a bunch of other children and men pushing a giant wheel in a desert for reasons unknown. Seasons change, months pass, and one by one the prisoners fall by the wayside. Months turn into years and soon Conan is the only one left; he looks up at the camera and we see what he has become. This track follows the scene flawlessly, beginning with the creaks of the turning wheel, the steady rhythm growing to signify his change.
`Atlantean Sword’ is another mystical, eastern styled track, beginning softly with unusual instruments building and fading to give the impression of uncertainty and discovery. It may be one of the less memorable tracks on the score but is still expertly constructed. For such an epic score, subtle, more quiet tracks like this give a different edge to the more violent parts. The soothing violins recall Conan’s childlike wonder and his memories of what his father taught him.
`Theology’ is full of eastern charm, with thoughts of dripping jewels and opulence as well as some semblance of peace and belonging. The track is in two pieces, the same music played slow, then fast. This signifies both the glory of what Conan and his gang have achieved along with the knowledge that it is not real- that their real reason in life is to be nomadic, constantly on some adventure. The melody here is one of the most upbeat in the film, fast, fun, and youthful and free of the warlike percussion of other tracks.
`Wifeing’ on the other hand is quite a somber theme, potentially hinting at coming tragedies, possibly portraying how serious the love between Conan and Valeria was felt. The track flows and soars with an epic string section, the high notes aimed at your most sensitive emotional nerves, and the gentle inclusion of the harp in the final melody is tenderness amongst chaos.
`The Leaving/ The Search’ continues the quiet middle part of the soundtrack as Conan has temporarily forgotten his thoughts of revenge and massacre, taken over by wealth, friendship, and love. The familiar, soft love theme repeats here on both string and flute style instruments. This theme peaks before descending back to the tragic love them on horn. This merges into The Search, another emotionally charged softer piece which sees Conan remember his mission. The sad strings show that Conan’s friends want him to stay safe and wealthy as they are rather than going on a suicide mission, but that they will follow him regardless into hell and back. For the final minute the speed shifts and the trumpets sound as if they are being blown in announcement of something, hinting at a clue in Conan’s quest.
`Mountain Of Power Procession’ accompanies one of the both disturbing and funniest scenes in the movie. Disturbing in that we see the hundreds of snake cult followers dressed in a hippy style following their master blindly, funny in the way Conan earns his disguise. The music sounds like a march, the drums hit in a steady rhythm and each section having a turn at the main melody one after the other. Like many tracks here the final minute offers something different, breaking off into a separate piece.
`The Tree Of Woe’ is quite a hypnotic piece and evokes memories of movies set in deserts with mirages, snakes, and a dry and barren landscape. There are sounds and instruments and themes used in this track which do not appear anywhere else in the score, showing this is a situation unlike any Conan has face before. Of course we know that Subotai finds and rescues Conan, echoed by the sudden change in theme which returns to the friendship of Theology. This in turn breaks back into the tragic love theme as Valeria realizes the pain of seeing your loved one in agony is almost as bad as what they are experiencing.
`Recovery’ echoes Valeria’s strongest scene in the film. The love scene is played in a more tender, less tragic sounding way as she proclaims her love for Conan to the Gods, challenging them if they dare take him from her. Rather than the intense monk chants we get choral female voices singing in the background to signify a different kind of strength. This is the next turning point in both the film and soundtrack as Conan realizes that steel may not be strong enough to overcome every enemy, and the pace of the music picks up as we race towards conclusion.
`The Kitchen/The Orgy’ is one of the most famous scenes and tracks from the movie. It begins as Conan’s gang stealthily infiltrates Doom’s lair. The music has a brooding subtlety, the chanting voices are both more quiet but more pronounced than before, taking a greater role than the instruments. This fades into the orgy theme, one which mirrors the opulence of `Theology’ but takes it to extreme levels. We see people gorging themselves on each other, intoxicated, blinded by worship and false power. This may be the most catchy theme in the score, deliberately so to signify how tempting and addictive it is to be part of Doom’s following. There is also an addictive nature to the slaughter which occurs, a blood lust which always inevitably leads to tragedy.
`Funeral Pyre’ is the final turning point in the movie. Conan has been too focused on personal revenge and on the riddle that he has lost what was closest to him. The tragic love theme returns here, sounding more lonely than ever with just a single instrument. The realization for Conan has come too late and this is the moment which will haunt him for the rest of his days. The tone shifts from sadness to agony to rage as the entire orchestra comes crashing in. Much of the pain here comes from the smaller characters in this scene, just as much of the emotion comes from the addition of lesser noticed instruments in smaller parts. As the orchestra fades we know that Conan has accepted what has happened and knows exactly what must be done.
`Battle Of The Mounds’ is one of the most famous pieces of film music ever, yet not many know precisely what it is. To clarify, it is frequently used as a trailer for other movies such as Gladiator and often mistaken for being in a different movie or even computer game. The track sounds like it is a standard for war films, for battle scenes but it is never more appropriate than the scene it was written for. All the emotional from previous scenes and tracks builds up as the enemy charges towards Conan and Subotai, the two stand as one against many, and the music rises to its most epic. It recalls the opening themes as Conan’s life comes full circle, once again encountering his enemy though this time he is able to fight.
`Death Of Rexor’ is a softer theme for the one on one battle between Conan and Rexor. For the first time both the male and female voices collide and there is a sense of nobility. The female voices may be that of Valeria who returns to Conan’s recue in spirit form and spurs him on to victory. The battle is won and Conan can return King Osric’s daughter, but he isn’t finished yet with Doom. We know that Conan will be King at some point, but this is underplayed in the music the mirror his reluctance at such a notion. Some of the lesser melodies here sound almost like what would come later in Robocop (many parts of Conan The Destroyer are very similar to parts of Robocop).
`Orphans Of Doom/ The Awakening’ is the final track, a beautiful harp and voice led piece in which Conan speaks to Doom’s orphans now leaderless and without direction. The spell over them has been broken, but when they were enchanted they had a purpose. They may now have freedom, but they have nothing to do with it. Similarly Conan is now free from his memory and vengeance for Doom but now has little to live for. With Valeria gone and purpose of his life up to this point completed, he is as lost as the children. The sad music echoes this loneliness but it shifts towards a more hopeful, uplifting tone at the end; Conan has discovered the riddle and can choose to be a king over many, or to continue travelling to some new purpose. He has seen magic and believes there is a chance Valeria can return. The climax builds with horns and strings, bells and drums and we understand that Conan’s adventures will continue.
Whatever your thoughts of the film are, whether you have seen it or not, this is still a great soundtrack. Taken by itself it is theatrical, operatic, epic and tales a tale of its own. Taken with the film and it raises what most see as a cheesy, silly Arnie film to levels which many claim it doesn’t deserve to reach. True fans of the film all agree that while the movie itself is superb, it wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact it does have if it did not have this music. Each track fills each scene with underlying emotions, completes the gaps in the dialogue, speaks things that are unspoken in the script. It is a benchmark for all cinematic scores, not just for this genre- the love, the research, and the skill on show is sadly lacking in most movies before and after with only a few exceptions creating something monumental; this is exceptional; this is monumental.
As a fan of the more extreme side of cinema, I ask you to join me, as I explore the history of Cinema's most extreme movies with all the sex, violence and symbolism intact. I'm here to reflect on the extreme movies that have come and gone to see what they mean, see what makes them so extreme, and of course, see if they're any good.