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THE LAST JEDI - OST Album MUSIC Discussion (No Movie Spoilers)

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8 hours ago, gkgyver said:

I certainly hit my quota of deep male guttural choir for Sith characters, and Binary Sunset. Seriously, stop trivializing this cue by rehashing it ad nauseam.

 

 

The use of it here is anything but trivial.  It becomes a moment in which Luke literally gives up his life for what he believes in, and retroactively deepens its use in A New Hope.  One of the best moments in the movie and in the entire series becomes TWO of the best.

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2 hours ago, indy4 said:

consider ROTS, which used the force theme a lot but in very interesting ways IMO. Or the set pieces (ie ROTS opener) that don't introduce many new themes but are still different than previous music we've heard. Instead of just tracking in TIE fighter attack.

 

Consider ROTS with the worst hack job imaginable, namely pasting in the 'Duel' from ESB in a sequence that was a major opportunity for new dramatic music. You are barking at the same tree here.

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At least that one made some sense because it mirrors the duels, and it's about Vader's future. If Palpatine dies, so does Lord Vader.

It's also better integrated into the score than the copy paste stuff in TLJ.

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6 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Duel of the Fates, Anakin's, Darth Maul's, Qui Gon's, Jar Jar's, The Trade Federation - that's more than enough for a Williams' score. Here, there's three motifs, and maybe another one hiding somewhere but I doubt it.

 

Darth Maul's motif is pretty debatable I think. 

 

And I feel like there's at least a couple more motifs in TLJ. Though on the whole I do think it's pretty disappointingly light on new themes, probably the worst of the saga in this regard.

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1 hour ago, DominicCobb said:

 

Darth Maul's motif is pretty debatable I think. 

 

And I feel like there's at least a couple more motifs in TLJ. Though on the whole I do think it's pretty disappointingly light on new themes, probably the worst of the saga in this regard.

 

Worse than AOTC or ROTS?

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Worse than Revenge of the Sith, for me. Revenge of the Sith had more of its own identity, it had more themes, it has some of the most moving music from the entire series, and I generally like scores that have the feel of an opera in the way that Sith does.

 

I don't know about Attack of the Clones, but none of the themes in the sequels so far are anywhere near the beauty of that love theme, although - like the force theme in here - its overused.

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

 

Worse than AOTC or ROTS?

 

Yeah, Across the Stars is one of JW's all time best themes.

 

ROTS is a much closer call, though Battle of the Heroes is better (and more prominent) than the best TLJ theme, and so is the lament.

 

TLJ is better overall than both, though.

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48 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

If anything ROTS has the least self-identity of any of the SW scores, imo.

 

Come on!

 

It is the most elegiac and the most operatic - and by those virtues it has more than enough of its own identity, compared to The Last Jedi. This identity isn't necessarily conveyed through Battle of the Heroes (which, I agree, isn't one of Williams' best), but more-so through the excellent lament material.

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But its appearances are center-pieces of the score. Its also very cleverly derived from "Across the Stars" so it feels like you've heard it before, and more than three times.

 

And again, its not just a leitmotivic thing, its an issue of musical color, as well. The only new instrumental choice here is solo piano at the end credits, and its over before you know it.

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You're just looking for reasons to disaprove of this score and "proof" that the reason you don't like it so much as the older ones is because John Williams' heart wasn't in it.

 

Dude, i've been on this forum since 2000, i've seen this behavior hundreds of times.

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TLJ has plenty of musical color. I say it's pedantic point-labouring because if originality and freshness were so important, AOTC would be the supreme leader of the last 5 scores and it's the least beloved. All the rest is perfectly-well-if-messy Williams Star Wars grandstanding with ROTS actually being the most schizophrenic. 

9 hours ago, gkgyver said:

At least that one made some sense because it mirrors the duels, and it's about Vader's future. If Palpatine dies, so does Lord Vader.

It's also better integrated into the score than the copy paste stuff in TLJ.

 

It is not!!!! Do you people have ears?

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10 minutes ago, publicist said:

if originality and freshness were so important, AOTC would be the supreme leader of the last 5 scores and it's the least beloved.

 

Well, there is more to a score than just originality. Take The Force Awakens: Its original, alright, but it just doesn't have any presence in the film, and I'm not the biggest fan of the new thematic material. The same goes for Attack of the Clones: is it original? sure. But other than the love theme, there is little music to hang on to.

 

12 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

You're just looking for reasons to disaprove of this score and "proof" that the reason you don't like it so much as the older ones is because John Williams' heart wasn't in it.

 

Which makes my lesser liking of it less legitimate because...?

 

I'm not "looking for reasons" to not like it, just as much as you aren't looking for reasons to like it. You just like it; I do, too, just not nearly as much.

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4 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Well, there is more to a score than just originality. Take The Force Awakens: Its original, alright, but it just doesn't have any presence in the film, and I'm not the biggest fan of the new thematic material. The same goes for Attack of the Clones: is it original? sure. But other than the love theme, there is little music to hang on to.

 

TFA is not original in the least (or we are talking about a very relativist application of the term). AOTC has the most surprising deviation in that its harsh and dissonant modernistic writing for the action music based on musical micro-cells is a total novelty for SW (at least in 2002). The Tchaikovsky love theme is actually the least interesting part of that score.

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I'm talking more in terms of thematic material rather than the general style of the writing. You don't listen to Attack of the Clones and think you've put Empire Strikes Back or Star Wars in by mistake. You don't put The Force Awakens on and think its another album: most of the music is either statements of new themes (Rey, Ren, etc...), or none-thematic material, and even with the statements of the existing themes there's often an attempt to do a new variation on the material.

 

Here, however...

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24 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

originality for the 8th Star Wars score composed by John Williams.

 

Nevertheless, originality has been a touchstone of Williams' career. He always, A L W A Y S stresses and takes pride in just how much of the thematic material in the film is completly new, and how little of the score (typically, as he puts it, as little as 10%) is based on pre-existing thematic material. Its true of his Star Wars endeavors, its true of his Indiana Jones scores and, largely, of his Harry Potter scores. And rightly so: if you're treading old grounds, what really are you doing from a creative standpoint?

 

To suddenly eschew that, on our part, I think is a travesty to the way he works, as is the insistence of some members of the board that we should all love his new input with no questions asked.

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2 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Nevertheless, originality has been a touchstone of Williams' career. He always, A L W A Y S stresses and takes pride in just how much of the thematic material in the film is completly new, and how little of the score (typically, as he puts it, as little as 10%) is based on pre-existing thematic material.

 

Originality has not been a touchstone of Williams' career, rather the opposite (most of you would not be here if Williams were not the traditionalist he is, heavily relying on all kinds of role models). It's inspired melodic writing and superb craftmanship you are really referring to. 

 

And please, do not try to idealize interview snippets you read over the years into a doxology. You're just hung up on those elusive 'new' themes as if those would lift otherwise bland or themeless/motif-driven underscore which happens often enough even in SW to a whole new dimension. Themes do not play that big a part in SW after AOTC. They are there, sure, but often not used or used rather fragmentarily. 

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Shore works in a somwewhat different idiom to Williams, so its not a fair comparison to make; and even if it were, two wrongs don't make a right.

 

In regards to Shore, even when he writes a lot of new thematic material for a second installment, you don't necessarily hear him boast how each film in the series is based predominantly on new themes, as Williams does, because his scores are based on continuous weaving of material, new and old, through the fabric of the score. The third score of each of his trilogies, in particular, is based very little on new material and more on "pitting" his existing themes against each other, and bringing the development of the themes to a culmination. He also constructs his themes so that new themes are formed through the development, combination or fragmentation of existing themes, etc..

 

If this was a third installment and if Williams did all of this - I'd be content. But, unfortunately, it isn't, and he doesn't - so I'm not.

 

As for being tiresome - I find that it is only disagreement that generates a discussion that's worth having. Otherwise, it will be a thread of replies that are just variations on "great."

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

I'm not "looking for reasons" to not like it, just as much as you aren't looking for reasons to like it. You just like it; I do, too, just not nearly as much.

 

Oh I disagree there. I think plenty of people here want to love it so much, and are given so little reasons to do so, that they do look for reasons to like it more than they would have in any case, and are more defensive because of it.

Williams could have recorded a Best Of Album for this score and people would love it.

 

There are even people defending the awful Episode I Ultimate Edition CD.

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Generally, this kind of seeing the piece through rose-tinted glasses fades over time. Right now, its the best thing since sliced bread, but given time I'm sure people will have realized that while it is a good score (In many ways, I like this more than The Force Awakens), it is far from top-tier Williams, both in Star Wars mould and otherwise.

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I don't know, there is far more cohesiveness about TFA, which I'm more likely to go back to. This is more like a Superman III (or was it IV?) situation, just with better surrounding underscore and a better Recording quality.

Speaking of which, another thing that makes TLJ uninteresting for me is the fact that I think for pretty much the first time, Williams doesn't give the second movie a different sonic identity. I'm not talking about the Film mix, but the orchestrations themselves. It sounds identical to me, to the point of where you could think TLJ is a collection of unused music from TFA.

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But this is a unique case for Williams sequels, in which the movie picks up RIGHT after the previous one ends, so the score being a 2.0 of TFA absolutely makes sense.

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

"Originality" in terms of coming up with new themes. And yes, Star Wars scores are and have remained leitmotivic scores at their core, so its a valid argument.

 

New themes are not a quality in itself and indeed SW prior themes have been met with mixed success. That's what i'm saying all along, you use terms that are not really helpful discussing the subject and i think it's not really what you want to say, anyway.

 

But as all this has stopped being relevant probably three paginations ago - we might wait till E9 hits theaters and see how the last three have worked out. My take after TLJ is that the more pragmatic franchise-oriented nature of the Disney movies has made them less interesting musically (AOTC, while flawed, has such gorgeous individual parts like the palace music that is lacking from these). Probably the JJ will be more of the same and the ideal of the first three parts is now a galaxy far, far away, new themes or not.

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38 minutes ago, Holko said:

But this is a unique case for Williams sequels, in which the movie picks up RIGHT after the previous one ends, so the score being a 2.0 of TFA absolutely makes sense.

 

Yes, that's a valid interpertation. Although while the timeline is one of direct continuity, the style of the film is wholly different, and as a result the film doesn't at all feel like a direct thematic and tonal continuation of The Force Awakens which, to my mind more than the chronological continuity, would require a score that does feel different. Williams had a much shorter period of time between these two films than any other two Star Wars features, and to my mind, that is the cause for the similarity.

 

If you choose to frame it as Williams choosing to treat this as an extension of his previous score because it takes place immediately thereafter - I think that's a sound way of contextualizing it. Although the influence of previous Star Wars entries which is also heavily felt here, is not explained through this argument.

 

43 minutes ago, gkgyver said:

I don't know, there is far more cohesiveness about TFA, which I'm more likely to go back to. This is more like a Superman III (or was it IV?) situation, just with better surrounding underscore and a better Recording quality.

 

Yes. To my mind, the biggest flaws of The Force Awakens are the film mix, and the fact that its much too insistent on Rey's theme. Here, that doesn't happen with any of the new themes because of the none-linear structure of the film, and the mix is way better. So in that sense, I like it better. I also really like the new themes.

 

However, The Force Awakens again has more new themes to fall back on. It doesn't abuse past themes in the way this does.

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4 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Yes, that's a valid interpertation. Although while the timeline is one of direct continuity, the style of the film is wholly different, and as a result the film doesn't at all feel like a direct thematic and tonal continuation of The Force Awakens which, to my mind more than the chronological continuity, would require a score that does feel different. Williams had a much shorter period of time between these two films than any other two Star Wars features, and to my mind, that is the cause for the similarity.

 

If you choose to frame it as Williams choosing to treat this as an extension of his previous score because it takes place immediately thereafter - I think that's a sound way of contextualizing it. Although the influence of previous Star Wars entries which is also heavily felt here, is not explained through this argument.

 

 

Yes. To my mind, the biggest flaws of The Force Awakens are the film mix, and the fact that its much too insistent on Rey's theme. Here, that doesn't happen with any of the new themes because of the none-linear structure of the film, and the mix is way better. So in that sense, I like it better. I also really like the new themes.

 

However, The Force Awakens again has more new themes to fall back on. It doesn't abuse past themes in the way this does.

 

I can't judge the film mix because I have seen neither TFA nor TLJ. I'm judging this as an album experience. Williams scores are usually always the best album experiences you could get. And to be fair, I never heard a Star Wars score after I watched the film. Even the OT Soundtracks I heard before watching the movies because I was into Soundtracks way before I bothered to watch any of the Star Wars films on DVD.

You like making comparisons to Shore it seems; and if I compare TFA and TLJ to FotR and TTT, I never once felt while watching/hearing TTT that I'm listening to a repackaged FotR the way I get that feeling in TLJ. And TTT is as much of an immediate story continuation as TLJ apparently is. Yet, while being unmistakably written in the same vein as FotR, immediately feels somewhat different in colour, also because we are within 10 minutes of the film introduced to the grand new Rohan theme, which is immediately recognizable, and not comparable to Holdo's theme, which to me is only recognizable once it reaches its last 4-6 notes. And the movie even starts with a grand setting of the Ring theme, in a way it was never heard in FotR, so it immediately feels fresh.

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I'm actually not a fan of comparing to Shore because again, he writes his Middle Earth scores in a different way to Williams. For Shore, those pieces are part of a bigger whole. For Williams, they are separate but interconnected pieces.

 

And yes, you're absolutely right about The Two Towers, which is to say nothing of The Desolation of Smaug which is completely different to An Unexpected Journey (in a very, very good way).

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To be honest, I don't think that TLJ has much originality to offer in regards if themes. But it has dozens of original musical moments and underscore throughout the more than two hour long score. And that's why I appreciate it so much. TFA was the complete opposite.

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1 hour ago, gkgyver said:

I can't judge the film mix because I have seen neither TFA nor TLJ. I'm judging this as an album experience.

 

That's what sets me apart, not just from you but from most around here: I'm a fan of film, first. As such, I'm a fan of film music first and foremost as music for a film, and so the film mix is a major factor in my enjoyment of the score, because the point of leitmotivic music in an operatic rf filmic setting is that the music plays against the visuals and become associated with certain onscreen moments, which it just didn't in The Force Awakens, for me.

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50 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I'm actually not a fan of comparing to Shore because again, he writes his Middle Earth scores in a different way to Williams. For Shore, those pieces are part of a bigger whole. For Williams, they are separate but interconnected pieces.

 

And yes, you're absolutely right about The Two Towers, which is to say nothing of The Desolation of Smaug which is completely different to An Unexpected Journey (in a very, very good way).

 

Yes, they do approach these films differently, I was just trying to make the point that despite Shore treating his trilogies as several parts of a big whole, his second pieces in said trilogies still set themselves apart more than TLJ sets itself apart from TFA. With the different approach Williams prides himself on, TLJ should set itself apart from TFA way clearer than TTT sets itself apart from FotR.

 

Desolation Of Smaug I think is not a fair comparison because the whole writing/orchestration dynamic changed from AUJ, so naturally DoS feels different.

 

See, I'm thinking the other way around. Yes, the primary function of a score is in the Film, and how it works with the images. But beyond that, I think I can attest pretty much every film composer a firm grasp on dramatic film scoring, so it's pretty much a given that 95% of all scores accompany their films just fine and how they should. I have heard so many film music in my life that I look for more than that, for a musical experience that can hold its own, without needing the cinematic images to amplify it, or to give it a reason to exist.

I feel watching a movie before listening to the soundtrack on its own manipulates your initial impression of the music too much.

From the perspective of a music lover, the movie should only add more meaning to the music, the music shouldn't entirely depend on it.

Just like in opera, where the vocals and texts are certainly essential to tell a story in detail, and add to the music, but where the music doesn't depend on them to tell a story on its own.

 

And there are certainly various degrees to which scores are operatic, and of course you don't need to listen to every score independently from the film, most scores neither need that, nor would it be greatly rewarding, but Star Wars is among the most operatic subjects you can get, so I think the question whether it works in the film shouldn't even be an issue.

 

And there are scores that can convey a coherent sense of the subject, and be exciting, without needing the film at all. A fan of Spider-Man or Batman can probably listen to Danny Elfman's soundtracks without having seen the films even once in order to love it. 

 

Which ironically is the problem with TLJ, I really think you need to be a fan of Star Wars or Williams specifically in order to love it thoroughly. I can't see this one having nearly the same mainstream appeal as even the prequel scores.

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Fair.

 

Shore's MO is always to use the first film to establish the main thematic through-line, use the second film to expand the catalog with new themes, and use the third film as the culmination of the whole work. And yes, each film certainly has its own identity. When I mentioned The Desolation of Smaug I was thinking more about the more ominous feel of the music and the texture: just from the opening bars you know you're in for something very different.

 

Williams doesn't do that, and if he did - the third film would have been more suitable for that treatment than the second one.

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59 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

That's what sets me apart, not just from you but from most around here: I'm a fan of film, first. 

 

80% of the posters here are exactly that.

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Of his blockbuster scores, yes. And often the fandom is very much connected to those movies and how the music functions therein. That's not an issue but it's obvious that film music fans by and large are film fans first.

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1 hour ago, Taikomochi said:

I am a film fan before a score fan, but with franchises like Star Wars, I’m a score fan first. 

Kudos! 

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New to the forum.

 

Am I the only one who heard cues from the Kamino theme (Attack of the Clones) at various points in the movie? This theme is found in 'Star Wars Main Title and Ambush on Coruscant.' I feel like the cues I heard came from 2:38 on the track mentioned. Wondering if anyone heard the cue while listening to the official soundtrack or if it was something added in post-production? 

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I think that's more a motif for Dooku and the Separatists, which admittedly is very close to the Kamino motif. Or is it the mystery motif? That score is something a mess for me to sort out.

 

And if there is any semblance its most likely unintentional. I doubt those bits were even in the temp track.

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I feel like sometimes these "similarities" that people are hearing are just stylistic traits that JW uses when writing scores. It's like an artist's signature. Maybe they weren't intended to be motifs, but because it's a similar sounding technique or pattern, some people mistake them for motifs. At the end of the day, there's just no way to know for sure what his intentions were and that's why this board exists.

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That, in general, is very true of all of Williams' work on these: people see leitmotives anywhere and don't stop to ponder on whether the recurring gesture they're hearing is, to paraphrase a Doug Adams proverb, a "williams device" or a "Star Wars device." Take for instance the supposed map motif - its just a stylistic device of Williams' to evoke mystery. He uses it for the droids escape in the original Star Wars and in his Indiana Jones scores for the mysteries of the Ark and the Skull. It can recur in Star Wars a hundred times and it still wouldn't be a leitmotif. Its like classifying "sweeping strings" or "ominous choir" as a leitmotif.

 

As much as I do think that Williams stuck to the temp-track on those "Battle of the Heroes" near-quotes, it should be said that its a very simple sequence of notes, so the possibility of it being entirely random isn't completely unreasonable.

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