Friday, October 12, 2012

Movie Scores


So, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a varied taste in music. I can go from Hall and Oates to MuteMath to Bob James to Beethoven, and not bat an eyelash. That’s just me; I like to mix up what I listen to. Therefore, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that I really like musical scores as well. The score can really make or a break a TV show or movie. Often times, it’s the score that sets the tone for a scene or even the entire movie.

Without further ado, I present to you, my faithful audience, my top five favorite TV or More Scores…

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by John Williams- If you pay any attention to scores, you will know that John Williams has crafted many incredible movie scores, including Indiana Jones, Star Wars, War Horse, E.T, Jurassic Park, and several Harry Potter movies. The reason this makes my list is because Mr. Williams incorporates the whimsical side of the series and the threatening darkness that dominates the last four movies (and their respective novels). He brings the scenes alive by featuring a prominent violin section that allows each scene to straddle the line between slightly creepy and mystical, as this is, after all, a school for witches and wizards. One of my favorite tracks is Aunt Marge’s Waltz because it has a very lilting feeling to it (it is a waltz. Duh) and the winds section keeps the scene very light and slightly playful, a direct contrast to some of the following scenes. It’s a fantastic piece of work.

4. The Incredibles by Michael Giacchino and Tim Simonec- Mr. Giacchino has done several other Pixar scores and a couple video game scores but Mr. Simonec, on the other hand, is not as well known. Nevertheless,  I love this score because of the strong flute and woodwind lines, mingling with the equally powerful brass section. Whether the star of a particular track is a simple flute, or a pounding drum, Mr. Giacchino and Mr. Simonec’s music fits perfectly with each scene. My favorite song is Lava in the Afternoon. For some reason, it reminds me of something Bob James or another jazz great would have written. It’s very sneaky—perfect for a superhero movie—and it builds nicely.

3. Dirty Harry by Lalo Schifrin- One of the greatest movies of the 1970’s, if you ask me. J Lalo Schifrin, in case you didn’t know, is the genius behind the classic Mission Impossible score, including the memorable main theme. The score for Dirty harry stands out because it embodies the 1970’s, capturing the jazzy, slick vibe of the decade. Honestly, in my opinion, I wish more scores nowadays would rely on more of a jazz-based style, as opposed to every score being dominated by violins and cellos. Sometimes, like in my favorite track, the main title, you need a little brass, complicated rhythms supplied by the drum section, and light woodwinds.

2. 24 by Sean Callery- I realize my 24 obsession is not exactly a secret. I watched the show because Jack Bauer is—still, after 8 seasons—incredible and the plots were always creative, much like the score.  My favorite song is “Up and Down Stairs.” Even without any previous knowledge of the show, it’s easy to guess what’s going on: a chase. Yep, it’s easy to gather. I love how it starts on inconspicuous and then it just hits you like a speeding train. This just sounds like  jack Bauer song, if something like that existed. J Great soundtrack. Absolutely great.

1. Twilight by Carter Burwell-Before you roll your eyes, keep in mind that I’m discussing the score, not the movie—which I do love—so save the “Twilight sucks” comments for somewhere else. J My favorite track is “Dinner with His Family.” It’s running time is a mere 40 seconds, yet, by incorporating the same melody that is interlaced through nearly every track, adding in a slight rock theme and letting the violins express the emotion of the scene—fear, anxiety, etc. It’s absolutely beautiful. The reason I picked this album as my favorite score is because it was this very score that really encouraged me to start paying attention to how a  score really builds a scene, turns the movie into something more than robotic motions and witty lines, and holds more emotion than a human face can express. Scores save movies, I think.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading about my diverse taste in music. Next week, I’ll get back to reviewing and ranting. J

Until then,


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