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What Is The Last Score You Listened To?

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John Debney - The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

A fun one! Sure, the album is too long and gets generic at times, but there was plenty of fun sea-faring pirate-y music to be found!

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AMISTAD - John Williams, Steven Spielberg and team

Reminds me to put this on again. I haven't listened to it in 10 years, says iTunes. If i remember right the dark and somber material was great.

The lighter material (especially the Americana) is way overscored though. I winced when I heard it in film. But yeah, the darker stuff is pretty great.

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SUPERGIRL - Jerry Goldsmith

 

Being a patchy old friend seldom invited, i never lost sight of Goldsmith's budget version of John Williams' beloved classic in my Spotify recommendations list. This score actually came first in a line of improbable Williams clone jobs Goldsmith took on over the years, mandated by the the never-ending gargantuan success of his balding colleague.

 

His own bewildered reaction to this phenomenon was briefly touched in his aborted biography by daughter Carrie Goldsmith: even in the 2000's Goldsmith remembered being puzzled by Williams' out of the blue-choice to score a little family comedy called HOME ALONE. The rest is maybe not film, but blockbuster history. Given his own beggars can't be choosers-attitude in taking on assignments of wildly fluctuating significance it must have been doubly insulting that he was the first composer on SUPERMAN, having scored director Richard Donner's successful OMEN movie 2 years prior but being forced out SUPERMAN due to massive schedule overruns.

 

While the SUPERGIRL score yields little significance in Goldsmith's oeuvre (he was flabbergasted when outspoken japanese fans demanded the theme to be played in several concerts) and is attached to another Salkind atrocity against the art of film, listening to it again makes for a certain benefit of the doubt.

 

As always, Goldsmith isn't one to be overwhelmed by either sycophant submissiveness or haughty denial towards the original source. Rather than supplying a patina-painted march following the Williams' template, Goldsmith takes a variation of his own STAR TREK fanfare as starting point and brackets it in swirling string scales emulating the dizzying effect of flying (shades of Waxman here).

 

To call the thumping tune blared by trumpets at their highest registers blunt is an understatement but hey, it's effing SUPERGIRL with Helen Slater wearing a blue/red/yellow pajama battling Faye Dunaway and Peter Cook, both who seemed to have wandered over from the set of, possibly, The Three Stooges meet The Wicked Witch of the West.

 

Listening to this score in its more or less complete form on a frankly terribly produced Silva Screen album is almost like experiencing one of those unedited recording session tapes, with alternates and badly mixed synthesizer/orchestral demos making it hard to say if Goldsmith just threw his arms at the mess in front of him or it isn't the wisest choice having Ford Thaxton as your album producer.

 

But leaving these undoubtedly rough patches aside, there are nuggets to be found that come either as remnants of his most evocative lyrical Ravel phase ('The Butterfly') or as sharp-toothed orchestral attacks that, frankly, run dynamic circles around the more fuddy-duddy approach Williams brought to the same material (say THE MAP alternate or FINAL VICTORY) - sadly the film doesn't exactly invites elegant musical storytelling so we are left with hand-picked moments of genius amidst often chaotically rendered cues stitched together by eye-piercing electronic swooshes that may have escaped from an especially vicious Atari game. 

 

Given the dubious mixing quality of especially the louder cues it's hard to imagine that Goldsmith signed off on them but you never know. So beyond the thumping fanfare (which can be an acquired taste, at least in its more shrieking incarnations) i felt rather partial to the trippy phantom zone stuff that sounds like 'Daphnis et Chloé' experienced through an especially intense acid trip ('End of Zoltar'!) and one of those mean Frankenstein edits ('The Monster Bumper Cars'...how's that for a fair warning?) where out of a Stravinsky-goes-Ringling Brothers cacophonous mess a blazing counterattack on trumpets bosses its way to the fore.

 

It's not exactly pretty, but somehow it gets to you. Ahemm...that this score was the last Goldsmith recorded by Eric Tomlinson is both a shame and no big surprise.

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AMISTAD - John Williams, Steven Spielberg and team

Reminds me to put this on again. I haven't listened to it in 10 years, says iTunes. If i remember right the dark and somber material was great.

I had never seen that photo before. Is it from the Amistad recording sessions?

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I was listening to Catch Me if You Can in the car this morning. Why doesn't this vibrant score get the appreciation it deserves here?

I don't know. It is a great one and I really enjoy Johnny's little trip to the playful 1960's jazzy sounds.

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I was listening to Catch Me if You Can in the car this morning. Why doesn't this vibrant score get the appreciation it deserves here?

Not enough themes and fanfares.

But really, it's lovely. And perfect for this time of the year.

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Catch Me If You Can is great!

Three listens into The Force Awakens and I will say this. It's good, but not great.

Ranked against the previous six Star Wars scores, its a clear last place

Ranked against all of Williams' post-2005 output, I like it more than Book Thief but less than War Horse, Lincoln, Tintin, and IJKOCS.

Ranked against all film music from the year 2015, its one of the best!

Really, the action music is the weakest part. There's some great, reflective stuff in "The Scavenger", "Rey's Theme", "Finn's Confession", "Han and Leia", and "The Jedi Steps". But the action music isn't as good as the Original Trilogy, or even the Prequel Trilogy, not even close.

For example, when I got the TPM OST, I was immediately replaying "Panaka and the Queen's Protectors ", "The Sith spacecraft and The Droid Battle", etc Long before I had even seen the filmed, I loved those. Those are instant classics! There's no action music on that level here.

Maybe I'll love this more once I've seen the film, but for now, its not a TERRIBLY exciting score. Of course, my expectations were probably too high.

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Ranked against all of Williams' post-2005 output, I like it more than Book Thief but less than War Horse, Lincoln, Tintin, and IJKOCS.

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The TFA album is much better than the IJKOCS album, that's for sure.

But once we got the complete score for Crystal Skull, I liked that score so much more.

Maybe the same will happen for TFA?

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March of the Resistance is pretty good

Scherzo For X-Wings feels like its trying to hard

The Falcon and The Rathtars reminds me of modern action scoring, but in a bad way

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For me, The Falcon, March Of The Resistance and Scherzo for X-Wings are all instant classics, Jay :).

The Falcon in particular, actually! Fantastic cue. Perfect blend of vintage and modern Williams!

"The Falcon" is great.

The March doesn't quite do it for me. The scherzo seems all too brief and I'm not sure it keeps up the momentum it tries to keep going.

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I never managed to get into Lincoln, but I rememeber liking some lyrical passages.

Lincoln is great. I thought it was only "pretty good" when I first heard it but it's grown on me over time. It's not as wholly entertaining as Tintin or War Horse but it's far more refined. It's almost a perfect score.

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I think I prefer it to KOTCS, but agree with Jay that it doesn't rank that highly in Williams' oeuvre. More listens could change that though.

I prefer it over KOCS, which is a very dissapointed JW score, like ROTS was.

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I listened to Revenge of the Sith last night for the first time in maybe eight years, in anticipation of seeing the movie and listening to the score this weekend. It was still okay, and maybe I have given it less credit than it deserves, but it's still my least favorite Star Wars score (so far). The album has a lot of great horn work, especially in the Grievous-related tracks. I've still not really come around to Battle of the Heroes and have no particular interest in the wholesale quotes from Empire or A New Hope.

I listened to it the way it was meant to be heard - on laptop speakers through a YouTube playlist.

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