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Why the 70's & 80's R clearly superior to the 90's &


JoeinAR
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John Williams work in the 70's and 80's is clearly superior to his work in the 90's and 00's.

One only has to look at the body of work to realize this. I am not talking about a progression in his style of works, just the body of work itself.

While I see there is absolutely no argument here, others here will disagree, and I will be interested to see how they possibly argue their points.

Simply put the best of JW's works in the 70's and 80's are unmatched.

Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman the Movie, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Empire of the Sun, are a strong reason I say this.

some would reply

Hook, JP, SL, SPR, TPM, A.I., HPSS, HPPOA, ROTS, and MOAG, but that hardly comes close.

Look at what some consider the lesser works of the decades

Images, The Towering Inferno, Midway, Jaws 2, The Fury, Dracula, 1941, Monsignor, the River, Witches of Eastwick,

vs

Home Alone, Sleepers, Rosewood, Seven Years in Tibet, Amistad, Stepmom, Angela's Ashes, the Patriot, CMIYC, and Terminal

and still the 70's and 80's comes out on top,but this is my opinion, and there are others out there.

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well the Williams of the 90s and 00s is a very different Williams from the one in the 70s and 80s. I kinda prefer his big broad 70s and 80s style but I dont think his current form is actually worse.

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well the Williams of the 90s and 00s is a very different Williams from the one in the 70s and 80s. I kinda prefer his big broad 70s and 80s style but I dont think his current form is actually worse.

there are varying degrees of work here, and I didn't say worse, I said superior.

If I say E.T. is Johns best work, say compared to The Empire Strikes Back(even though most here disagree), that doesn't mean that ESB is worse.

so in other words when I say something is superior, it doesn't imply that the other work is worse.

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No but if you look at most composers their works aren't anywhere as good as the earlier works.

I think it has to do with a composers maturity, natural decline in creativity, films being made today as compared to yesterday. etc. etc.

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I love Williams work in the 70's and 80's (who doesn't?), but you only give examples of high profile soundtracks.

Music like Hook, Schindler's List, Amistad, Seven years in Tibet, Rosewood, Angela's Ashes, A.I, Munich, War of the Worlds and Memoirs of a Geisha is absolutely nothing to sneer at. Williams scored landmark movies in the 70's and 80's, but in more recent years he achieved levels of lyrical beauty and awe-inspiring orchestration that he did not before. The quality of his work is much more consistent now than it was back in those days, as great as they were.

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No but if you look at most composers their works aren't anywhere as good as the earlier works.

I think it has to do with a composers maturity, natural decline in creativity, films being made today as compared to yesterday. etc. etc.

Or could it be just the rose tinted glass of nostalgia?

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but you only give examples of high profile soundtracks.  

are you blind, I gave 10 examples of high profile soundtracks from the 70's and 80's and the 90's and 00's, whoops almost missed an apostrophe, hope Ross didn't see,

and I gave 10 examples of lesser works from those periods as well.

All in all I mentioned 40 scores.

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whoops almost missed an apostrophe

Actually, that apostrophe isn't obligatory.

This discussion is as pointless as a fox who has just been appointed professor of pointlessness at Oxford university.

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well you left The Lost World, War of the Worlds and Far and Away out from the modern greats.  

yes I did, but what 3 films should I have left from the greats, as I said I only named 10 greats from each period.

Joe, clearly disappointed by the lack of hard arguement for the 90's and 00's.

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Personally I think Williams continues to write amazing material from Jaws to Star Wars to ET to Last Crusade to JP to Phantom Menace to Harry Potter to Memoirs of a Geisha. Its all amazing brilliant work that in my eyes keeps reaching the same level of musical quality. I think the only thing that seperates one decade from another is each persons life. I grew up in the 90's and so I generally like to listen to the 90's works of Williams.

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Personally I think Williams continues to write amazing material from Jaws to Star Wars to ET to Last Crusade to JP to Phantom Menace to Harry Potter to Memoirs of a Geisha. Its all amazing brilliant work that in my eyes keeps reaching the same level of musical quality. I think the only thing that seperates one decade from another is each persons life. I grew up in the 90's and so I generally like to listen to the 90's works of Williams.

I grew up in the 90s watching 70s and 80s films JW scored (and Spielberg/Lucas directed). Does that make me some kind of pseudo 70s kid? :spiny:

Burga - who doesnt think SPR is a 'great'

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I guess the only real answer is because, well, you became a fan of JW in the 70's and 80's. My answer could, the 00's are in a way just as good, because that's when I became a fan of JW. There is, in theory, no conclusive answer.

But, of course, some 'facts' are right despite the fact the Joe stated them, and this is one of them. However, I don't think it is quite as clear cut as you'd have it, I'd easily pick his last couple of decades over the 'lesser works' of the 70's and 80's.

Morlock- who wonders why people take some sort of pride in liking JW's work of the 70's much more than his work in the 90's and the 00's. I get to thoroughly enjoy JW scores from the 60's through the 00's, while you sit around moping why Rosewood and Angela's Ashes aren't as good as The Towering Inferno and 1941.

Morlock2- recently wowed all over again by the extraordinary score that is Memoirs of A Geisha, as well as rediscovering a small gem like The River

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no, I simply went with 10 scores. And I agree SPR isn't a great score, and I will go one step further, its not even a good score.

Still you're missing the point, I gave examples, but the entire body of work from 1970 to 1989, is better as a whole IMHO, than the body of work from 1990, to 2006. I know that we have a 3 year shortage but I don't see John's music in the next three years helping the 90's and 00's.

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vs

Home Alone 2, Sleepers, Rosewood, Seven Years in Tibet, Amistad, Stepmom, Angela's Ashes, the Patriot, CMIYC, and Terminal

Those are the scores I listen to the most! His 70s and 80s output is indeed excellent, I just prefer his 90s and 00s stuff more when I want to listen to music, especially The Terminal. I would also add Stanley and Iris to the list.

MySpace Film Music Group:

http://groups.myspace.com/filmmusiccentral

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like I said this discussion isn't limited to the 40 scores I named, but the entire body of work since 1970

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I'm sorry, Joe, I missed the part where you included "lesser" works in your examples from both periods.

I really don't want to go down the route on deciding which period is better. However, I do not think the choice is as easy or as obvious as you make it seem. It's obvious that is fairly easy to make a legitimate argument for choosing the 70's 80's period and it's beyond questioning some amazing music was written by JW in this period. I do feel a bit dissapointed by the lack of atention several recent scores get. I won't question the quality of the movies they were intended for, but I honestly think his thematic ability, which several of you value above all other aspects, has never been sharper.

I wonder, for example, if Close Encounters was written today, how would some people value it.

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I wonder, for example, if Close Encounters was written today, how would some people value it.

pretty much like they value it now, not like they should, but put John's scores of today back in the 70's and they would seem as unremarkable then as they do now.
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well the Williams of the 90s and 00s is a very different Williams from the one in the 70s and 80s. I kinda prefer his big broad 70s and 80s style but I dont think his current form is actually worse.

there are varying degrees of work here, and I didn't say worse, I said superior.

If I say E.T. is Johns best work, say compared to The Empire Strikes Back(even though most here disagree), that doesn't mean that ESB is worse.

so in other words when I say something is superior, it doesn't imply that the other work is worse.

Well, technically it does, but I assume you mean that when you say A is better than B, that doesn't necessarily mean B is bad.

Anyway, enough with the nitpicking.

I agree with you that John's 70s and 80s output is superior to that of the 90s and 00s. But that doesn't mean he's not writing good scores anymore. There's been some excellent scores from him in the last 15 years, and some really good ones.

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I personally like all the decades equally. I would actually have to say that Williams' peak ended in 1993.

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For me; Williams had an amazing string starting with 1975's JAWS and ending with 1982's E.T.

Those were by far the best 7 years ANY film composer ever had.

But the 90's and 00's brought Schindler's List, Hook, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, etc. and those scores are just as good (if not better) than anything else Williams wrote apart from the instant classics from the 1975-1982 period.

So Williams is just as good nowadays as he was in the 70's and 80's. He is just not as good as he was from 1975 to 1982.

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For me; Williams had an amazing string starting with 1975's JAWS and ending with 1982's E.T.

I'm sorry that's just a load of rubbish. Did you come back to the MB just to spout sheer nonsense.

Everyone knows Williams Golden Age died after Temple Of Doom.

The River and SpaceCamp killed the winning streak.

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This discussion is pointless. People here are just to narrow minded.

I won't go into this idiotic idea of the 70's & 80's versus 90's & 00's, but will just say that John Williams out put has grown in consistency over the years untill the present day, and that as never, ever ended his "golden age" of composition, whatever people here may want to imply by using such an expression.

John Williams is probably the single composer in Hollywood history to have remained in the top of his art for some four decades, and i mean this in any field, not only in music.

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I care for everyhting. But I'm the first to accept that not all are masterpieces. I'm the first to say that John Williams isn't the greatest composer. Many here look to his as if he was God, but there are far better composers than him, even living today. I just prefer his work.

But I do find that the quality curve has hardly take a turn down. Much the oposite. And for the record, i did grew up in the 70's, with the Star Wars, Superman and disaster movies.

And how many here have ever listend to The Screaming Woman? Or Daddy-O? Or Storia di una Dona?

One can only compare the work of one era if you really listened to it all.

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And how many here have ever listend to The Screaming Woman? Or Daddy-O? Or Storia di una Dona?

How many have had the chance, since none of these are in any sort of wide release?

Anyhow, one does not have to listen to Daddy-O to have an opinion about Williams' 90's scores.

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No one listen to those scores, because few bother to look after tham, because they aren't high profile projects, and you know very well, how most people's mind work around here.

And you do need to listen to Daddy-O, and say for example, Daddy's gone A-Hunting, or None But the Brave, or Pete'n'Tillie, or any other score, if you want to do any sort of proper comparission.

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This is purely a matter of taste, as there is absolutely no validity in stating that 70's and 80's Williams is superior to the Williams of the 90's and 00's from a musical perspective.

Some of Williams' finest scores have been written in the 90's and 00's, and we're talking about a career that his offered consistently stellar work! A composer's technique only improves with age, unlike most performing musicians', but Williams has to some extent become more economical, more understated. Also, he seems to generally go for more serious films, except for a couple of franchise films, and the occasional non-serious Spielberg opus. And I personally prefer his more recent concert works to his earlier works (and I LOVE the early works too!).

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Yes, his 70s and 80s scores are more melodical in a singalong kind of way. It's the period where his tunes became global hits. Perhaps it's fashionable these days but Williams doesn't write them iconic themes like Star Wars, Supes, E.T. or Raiders anymore.

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This is purely a matter of taste, as there is absolutely no validity in stating that 70's and 80's Williams is superior to the Williams of the 90's and 00's from a musical perspective.

Some of Williams' finest scores have been written in the 90's and 00's, and we're talking about a career that his offered consistently stellar work! A composer's technique only improves with age, unlike most performing musicians', but Williams has to some extent become more economical, more understated. Also, he seems to generally go for more serious films, except for a couple of franchise films, and the occasional non-serious Spielberg opus. And I personally prefer his more recent concert works to his earlier works (and I LOVE the early works too!).

I think Williams used to write more complex harmonies.

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In my mind, at least, Williams' recent themes are as memorable as his iconic themes from the 70's and 80's. I would imagine that for the 10 year olds of today, "Hedwig's Theme" is as recognizable as "Flying Theme" was for me when I was a young boy.

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And all those decades are clearly better than the 50's and 60's Williams scores.Unfortunately that's all the new releases were fgetting lately.

K.M.

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Yes heavens forbid we get to experience all of Williams' work.

Williams is my favorite composer and while the 70's to early 80's was his most creative period I still enjoy all of his works.

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With a few exceptions (Harry Potter), Williams musical style is of the 90's ad this decade is distinctly different then that of his Golden Age.

Frankly, most of the time it's not as good.

i disagree with you on this point. i prefer the late williams. by now, he is much more mature than he was 30/40 years ago. his style is more mature and more emotional than in his early days. some may bash me for this, but i think his later stuff is more subtler than the mickey mousing he used in some of the earlier movies. its more psychological than much of the earlier stuff.

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not bashing you, but more emotional, sorry thats not even close to being correct.

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and so are the moments in Jaws,( Father and Son), Close Encounters, Empire of the Sun, BOTFJ,

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No Stefan; Williams Golden Age ended after E.T.

ROTJ and TOD are great scores (no doubt there), but Jaws, SW, CE3K, Superman, ESB, Raiders and E.T. are just a notch better.

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and so are the moments in Jaws,( Father and Son), Close Encounters, Empire of the Sun, BOTFJ,

Again, no doubt. But besides E.T, does any score have the emotional power of Schindler's List?

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The 70's and 80's were clearly superior to the 90's and 00's period.

The overall output then relative to today was vastly superior, and as such each and every composer was striving to do better relative to each others work, which in turn resulted in an overall more creative and superior body of work.

Gradually new players began entering the industry, and the older ones becan running out of gas in a sense, they pushed so hard that they peaked and declined. As such, the overall standards for film music slowly went down. The general quality of the output of any single player in an industry is relative to the overall output of the said industry. Anyone who dares deny this, is quite foolish.

When material like The Omen, Jaws, The Godfather, Star Wars are in, of course expectations are higher, the goals are loftier, and directors want to push the envelope like those movies. When material like Pirates of the Caribbean and Brokeback Mountain are selling like hotcakes, the expectations become "if we can achieve that much with so little cost, why bother pushing with so much cost, when this is an idea which is working?"

No one is out there saying "How can I write a score that's worse than Star Wars." They simply work within the standards of their time.

Relative to this time, John Williams is still in his Golden Age, and his work is consistently good, relative to himself (aka his past) his current work is decent, but much less consistent in terms of quality.

Many of those who've claimed the 90's and 00's as equal to his past, I can pretty confidently say have barely scratched 5% of the material that was out in the 70's and 80's, by Williams and his colleagues. There is a lack of insight in to the bigger picture, and therefore AoTC seems like gold in comparison to PoTC.

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Well, it's questionable. E.T is pretty emotional, no doubt, but so is Schindler's List and Angela's ashes.

Angela's Ashes, while good, it doesn't stand out.

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not bashing you, but more emotional, sorry thats not even close to being correct.

Joe, you wrong, you're so wrong.

Williams recent sores are at leaset as emotional, if not more, than his older ones.

Yopu just should understand that isn't the kind of emotioanlity you can relate too, and stop with this silly comparission.

The 70's and 80's were clearly superior to the 90's and 00's period.

The overall output then relative to today was vastly superior, and as such each and every composer was striving to do better relative to each others work, which in turn resulted in an overall more creative and superior body of work.  

Gradually new players began entering the industry, and the older ones becan running out of gas in a sense, they pushed so hard that they peaked and declined.  As such, the overall standards for film music slowly went down.  The general quality of the output of any single player in an industry is relative to the overall output of the said industry.    Anyone who dares deny this, is quite foolish.  

When material like The Omen, Jaws, The Godfather, Star Wars are in, of course expectations are higher, the goals are loftier, and directors want to push the envelope like those movies.  When material like Pirates of the Caribbean and Brokeback Mountain are selling like hotcakes, the expectations become "if we can achieve that much with so little cost, why bother pushing with so much cost, when this is an idea which is working?"

No one is out there saying "How can I write a score that's worse than Star Wars."  They simply work within the standards of their time.  

Relative to this time, John Williams is still in his Golden Age, and his work is consistently good, relative to himself (aka his past) his current work is decent, but much less consistent in terms of quality.

Many of those who've claimed the 90's and 00's as equal to his past, I can pretty confidently say have barely scratched 5% of the material that was out in the 70's and 80's, by Williams and his colleagues.  There is a lack of insight in to the bigger picture, and therefore AoTC seems like gold in comparison to PoTC.

While I understand your points, and to some extent you're true, I can't fully agree, surelly not in Williams case.

His style is more mature,somewhat diferent, and people here are finding excuses to say that one is better than another, just because they like one more than the other. Give it a break. Each one is intitled to like what one does, and liking somethign doens't make it better.

I can even enjoy a couple of Zimmer scores, but I still see them as sub-standart (I apologise to all Zimmer fans, but that's my feeling, sorry.)

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Again, just to clarify: Williams' harmonic language is not less complex than it used to be. "Anakin's Theme", for instance, is the most harmonically complex of any Star Wars theme, and even "Across the Stars" is more harmonically complex than "Han Solo and the Princess", just to give an example...Of course, it depends on how you judge complexity. I would argue that Williams' harmonic language is constantly getting more sophisticated (not that it ever wasn't). A good example would be A.I's "Hide and Seek", which is simply technically beyond the Williams of the 70's and 80's.

I am the first to bemoan the general lack of a solid standard among Hollywood film composers, especially compared to the composers of the gold and silver age, but Williams is as good as he ever was, and in certain respects better. PERIOD.

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This is a very interesting thread.

"This period is better!"

"You are wrong. this period is better!"

The discussion hasn't extended far beyond establishing where different posters' tastes lie.

Ted

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Yes, but it's hard to argue that Williams' most outstanding career-moment began with Jaws and ended with E.T.? (1975-1982)

It's almost factual.

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