Much as Steven Bochco's gritty, humane Hill Street Blues reinvented the television police drama for the 1980s, so too did Mike Post
's jazzy, nuanced title theme (a Top Ten pop hit) galvanize the genre's musical palette, abandoning the funk-inspired pyrotechnics of Me Decade cop shows in favor of a world-weary sophistication vividly evoking the urban landscape. A collection of re-recorded cues performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
of London, Silva Screen's Hill Street Blues
still sounds fresh and different -- without the wah-wah guitars and kaleidoscopic keyboards so long a staple of the police genre, the focus is squarely on Post
's piano -- and the cues' understated power communicates an intelligence and sensitivity still all too rare in television. And despite the melancholy that hangs so heavy over the familiar title theme, much of Hill Street Blues
is appealingly upbeat, capturing the rhythms of city life with uncommon élan.