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  1. 1. Do you enjoy the Force Awakens score?



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I only just got back from the film, hearing the music for the first time in the cinema. First reaction? Bizarre knowing that the TV Spot rendition of Rey's Theme was the goddamn finale track! The hell? Also, the Main Title was weak, I hate to say it. That opening trumpet just... sucks, especially after being conditioned to the same prequel score recording for 3 films. The opening note in that recording is just PERFECT. So whether you like to admit it or not, the LA freelance folks just can't come close to the LSO in this respect.

Overall, while the music felt on fire in the action scenes and every scene was perfectly scored in the opening act, I felt there was a real lull in the second act. The film kind of meanders around and the music doesn't elevate the material in this section.

In fact, it's so restrained you almost sense it was re-scored material and Williams had initially written more orchestrationally dense music for this act. It's just so flat; I consider this the KOTCS-esque section of the score (that film had a similar stretch of meandering dullness between the excellent opening act and the jungle chase). None of the music here has a lasting impression and seems to be scored on a scene-by-scene basis with little cohesion or momentum. It doesn't help the build-up to the film's final act, which just seems to ... happen. Even Lucas did a better job building up to the climax in the prequels.

Overall though, I don't buy the idea of the themes being forgettable. I loved the stuff with Rey on Jakku (very, very War Horse was my initial reaction but also indiscernible from the theme as featured in the finale). I easily recognised Kylo Ren's anthem after the second or third appearance. I tried to make out the March of the Resistance but it did get lost in the mix. If it's the last theme in the end credits suite, I only identified it after that. The most recognisable action motif was probably the Jakku escape cue.

Oh, and the material for Snoke was really, really disappointing. I'd already read it was as restrained as Palpatine's Teachings from ROTS, but it didn't lessen my disappointment. Maybe I was just too busy paying attention to the dialogue in these scenes, or being distracted by how bizarre this character's design choice was by Abrams, but I couldn't discern any themes or motifs here at all; seemed like a deep male choral "hum" with no structure. I was really hopeful this was just a low-key first rendition of a larger theme Williams has in mind for Episode 8, but I'm not so sure anymore. Even more disappointing if he indeed turns out to be Plagueis and the motif from ROTS has been abandoned.

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I'm enjoying it a lot and it's growing with every listen. As always in JW, the beauty is often in the details and there are lot of those here. Sonically, it seems to me that he's continuing the discou

That is a very good observation. And quite unique, if you think about it. Yeah, I liked this score both in the film (which is where I first heard it) and on album. I don't really expect things to "hit

That's put in words very well - kinda like 'your' favourite sportsteam not doing well. Would't go as far to claim, that it makes me sad though. It bothers me a little, can't completely say that I don'

I must admit I've fallen off most of the threads after they "took off". When it was only me and a couple of others who had seen it, it was more manageable to keep up. This place is so active!

In either case, it's a bit early for me to land on a proper judgement.

First impressions are still a bit on the disappointed side, due to its "whimsical" nature. To me, it sounds like someone approximating a sound he left behind a long time ago, but has no energy or desire to properly get right. It SOUNDS Williams, but it doesn't FEEL Williams (I'll copyright that last sentence).

I guess that's why "Rey's Theme" is the strongest, the theme that is closest to his contemporary stylings (WAR HORSE, THE BOOK THIEF).

But I've only seen the film once, and heard the soundtrack twice. I need more time.

I wonder how many people felt the same about TPM? To me, TPM was a departure from not only the music we heard in the OT but also a departure for Williams. But I think it needed to be. The music as heard in the OT wouldn't work in PT and vice versa. Many people have tried putting PT music in the OT and it just doesn't work. The sound is completely different. I think the same will apply for this new trilogy.

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I'm finding that a lot of the action material here is on par with Tintin in that I find it rather unfocused - Williams' typical timpani/brass or string marches, without much thematic integration. Some of it is really good though - perhaps where JJ has allowed the music to shine more.

Still 4/5 for me for now. There's a lack of highlights, and a lot of fragmentation. Ironically, I think a presentation which joins cues and has half as many tracks might've worked better here.

Might work better for me to make a ~40 minute playlist and expand it from that as I get used to the rest of the material.

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I'm enjoying it a lot and it's growing with every listen. As always in JW, the beauty is often in the details and there are lot of those here. Sonically, it seems to me that he's continuing the discourse where he left it in 2005. I hear shades of Revenge of the Sith in more than one place. As it happened with the prequels, the music is not much about revisiting old ideas or style (save for quotes of classic themes when they're needed), but more a new tile added to this massive and amazing musical mosaic. Williams is doing what every true artist does and he always keeps an enormous integrity. I dare to say it's almost an ethical approach, before aesthetical. He's being true to himself and to his muse, no matter the commercial circumstances he has to comply. Right now I can't put it on a list, even just within the Star Wars canon, as I need to listen and study it more. But I'm loving it a lot.

Ditto!

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It was kind of weird in the Land of the Ewoks cue

That's because that rendition of the theme is an insert for the scene where Han is unfrozen, and has nothing to do with the Endor scenes.

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I enjoyed the score when watching the movie (certainly more than any other soundtrack this year); still waiting for my CD, unfortunately. I do agree that the music is even less like a traditional Star Was score than the last two episodes' soundtracks. It reminded me more of some of Williams' more recent scores, but this is hardly surprising. I appreciate the quotes of the old themes (I thought it was done exactly right) and like most of the new material, even though I could really only remember Kylo's theme after leaving the theater (which is quite memorable, I think). Overall, by far the most enjoyable soundtrack experience of the year for me (I have actually started to mostly listen to classical music - expecially Bach - these days because I simply can't get into the new style of film scoring). Can't wait to get my CD... Oh, and it was great to hear a new version of the opening music after Williams had recycled the Episode I version several times.

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Saw the movie last night (with little sleep and tired from work and baby) and based on a few spoilers I accidentally read on various sites, I already knew that mass audiences would enjoy it like the enjoyed the Original Trilogy more than the Prequel Trilogy. It appears to be the case. But since I enjoyed every Star Wars to date (a silent minority opinion, I suppose?), I'm happy as a fan but happier than everyone's enjoying it as much as I did for a change, so I'm not feeling like I'm the only one enjoying them while everyone else bashes it. That being said, the Prequels had more original stories, but this has the charm, enthusiasm, adventurousness and wit of the Original Trilogy (to which I believe the Prequels get bashed so much - not their stories but their lack of on screen chemistry and wit). During the movie, I did note that Williams score is heard and enjoyable, but not as memorable. I read many other had this experience as well. This isn't a bad thing... as it just probably takes more listens. Parts may have been covered by SFX and dialog, only time will tell. This is the 1st Star Wars score/film since RotJ that I watched the movie before listening to the soundtrack album (and having it nearly completely memorized).

As for the score, Amazon, which I pre-ordered months ago from, was supposed to have my CD copy here today. Still waiting and no tracking number. Seriously, Amazon? Usually they have my pre-ordered items at my front door quicker than I could've gotten by driving to a store. But on that thought, according to all inquiries, no store within a 100 mile radius has the CD in stock. I find this impossibly ludicrous considering the nature of the Star Wars franchise. At least not visible via online searches. Perhaps a few phone calls are in order, to which I will get the puzzled sounding questions from the stupid not-deserving-of-minimum-wage employees, "The DVD isn't out yet. Nor is the Blu-ray. CD? Huh? A Music soundtrack? There were no songs in Star Wars! Are you crazy? Wait... background sounds with no drum beat, guitar or words? They still make those? Who buys those? Oh well, I'll look [*20 minute wait later, to which I could have driven to the store myself*] You're still here? No, it doesn't exist, sorry.".

Before I determine what store to drive to (if at all), I am considering the online HD downloads. In fact, probably going that route after I post. I hate digital downloads, but this is Star Wars and John Williams, so I'll bite.
PS - And on a final note... ​King Mark why haven't I been able to email you in months? Did your change your email or does your server just block me?

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I feel like I'm listening to a different score than the rest of you. Rey's Theme is easily one of his best modern themes. These big villainous fanfares in Attack on Jakku and Torn Apart are just incredible. The march/fugue for Resistance is incredibly badass.

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I love the score and I don't listen to his concert output all that much.

Also, reactions are hardly extreme. People either think its OK, but a bit underwelming, or they love it.

Only among filmmusic fans, other SWfans (non trolls just fans) seemto find it rather weak from what I have read online

They have but should we even take into account their opinions? Their tastes are far enough from ours that there's no point using them as a frame of reference. It's like asking a Kei$hia fan what they thought of Black Sunday.

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It's definitely one of his best modern soundtrack albums, yes.

I'm realizing also that this is one of the very few times where JW went fully chronological and also avoided conjoining two or more cues from different scenes into a single track, but letting the cues being presented as heard in the film (save for a few trims here and there, maybe). Isn't it?

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That Rey's theme is amazing. I heard it first in the theatre, learned it during the film. In the end credits it felt so familiar and lovely, that

it was difficult to explain my teenager kids why the daddy is crying.

It's interesting that there seems to be some more development even between the concert suite and end credits. The former is great, but there is even a greater sense of determination and focus to the latter statements. That minute in the last track is among my favourite bits in the entire score. Just classic Williams end title arrangement of a theme.

Karol

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I love the score and I don't listen to his concert output all that much.

Also, reactions are hardly extreme. People either think its OK, but a bit underwelming, or they love it.

Only among filmmusic fans, other SWfans (non trolls just fans) seemto find it rather weak from what I have read online

They have but should we even take into account their opinions? Their tastes are far enough from ours that there's no point using them as a frame of reference. It's like asking a Kei$hia fan what they thought of Black Sunday.

I think there is something to be said for the enduring popularity of the SW scores, and how they were always different from your average film score. It was always neat how much Joe 6-Pack loved a John Williams adventure score as much as your hardcore score listener, and how things would stand out musically to them after only one viewing. I don't think it means anything for Williams' craftsmanship in TFA, but it still makes me kinda sad that a lot of people don't seem to be getting the magic this time.

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This whole situation reminds me of when everybody was giving James Horner shit for his fine score to The Amazing Spider-Man. You just can't trust popular opinion about this stuff any more.

The film score community in general enjoyed that one, no?

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It's definitely one of his best modern soundtrack albums, yes.

I'm realizing also that this is one of the very few times where JW went fully chronological and also avoided conjoining two or more cues from different scenes into a single track, but letting the cues being presented as heard in the film (save for a few trims here and there, maybe). Isn't it?

if we are to nitpick, it's not quite fully chronological. ;)

But it is, for the most part, in chronological order, yes.

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This whole situation reminds me of when everybody was giving James Horner shit for his fine score to The Amazing Spider-Man. You just can't trust popular opinion about this stuff any more.

The film score community in general enjoyed that one, no?

It diverges a bit in that area.

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This whole situation reminds me of when everybody was giving James Horner shit for his fine score to The Amazing Spider-Man. You just can't trust popular opinion about this stuff any more.

Yeah, same with Silvestri's Avengers theme. But when Age of Ultron came out, everybody was saying how much better his original theme was! WTH, make up your minds people.

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Finally was able to download and listen to it 3+ times with the download (from ProStudioMasters.com) after Amazon failed me with the CD that I pre-ordered months in advance (VERY pissed about that!).

Most of the non-"Classic Theme" parts weren't as immediately recognizable in the theatre, but I recognize the scenes (track titles + fairly chronological order that you all have noted). Now getting a better feel of them via the album. A lot of material to digest, but love every second of it.

Very pleased, and the HD files sound great. But then, along with the fun... there's always an additional sadness with an initial John Williams / Star Wars score knowing there's so much more that does not get released. This should hold us... for a while.

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My 2c on first listen..

It doesn't sound auto-pilot but "overall" I don't hear any magic.. a bit like Tintin. Functional but not really compelling me to listen again and again like original triology or prequels.

The main problem I have when comparing to ROTS and AOTC is that in those I felt each track was entirely listenable interesting piece. With FA each track seems to be in 2 or 3 parts sometimes with direct quotes from original trilogy. Overall there seems a lack of identity moving from idea to idea to idea. This maybe intentional on JJ Abrahms part. When you go from idea to idea the whole track seems to lack focus. Again, Tintin and War horse to me sounded focused but FA doesn't.. the long "new" melodic lines are not there it's more motivic.

Also there is something wrong with the recording, the sound is flat. Brass and strings are too closely miked and acoustic is too dry IMHO, you can't fix it by adding artificial reverb it just muddys sound. Tintin had this problem aswell.

I hate to make these critisims, but I'm being honest!

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