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The scores of 2021 (aka What Is The Last Score You Listened To? 2021 edition)


Jay
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What? There's 2 different albums out?

 

Holy cow! You're right!

 

19 tracks / 49:19: https://open.spotify.com/album/6u7bSYITa1h52g4rHDvi8W?si=XvqVG4H_SKimCC9XOETwpw

36 tracks / 94 mins: https://open.spotify.com/album/1A0MA4zNXzF8yYkf7NGPMB?si=vnCeYm5rTL2fLCe0_QVU_g

 

Huh.

 

The second one is the identical same 19 tracks, followed by 17 more after.

 

They have identical covers and everything.  I've never seen anything like this before!

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2 hours ago, JNHFan2000 said:

There's also an album almost half it's runtime. But for me personally it didn't do much

Hah. I thought it was odd as my version (bought from 7Digital) is only about 50 minutes. I thought maybe it hadn’t downloaded or imported properly. But apparently not. I quite enjoyed it but 50 minutes seemed like plenty. The main theme is quite blah and the rest is kinda Giacchino-esque without being specifically memorable. A couple of nods to Enterprising Young Men with the repeated repeated chords and also (oddly) a high trumpet figure from the Desert Chase from Raiders. 

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Though it is a 2020 release, I have to say that Queen's Gambit was a refreshingly competent score, I think my favourite since TROS.

 

I found it funny and fitting how Beth Harmon's theme resembles that from The Force Unleashed:

(0:00-0:10)

 

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Rob Simonsen - Ghostbusters Afterlife

 

Well that was kinda fun!  Not particularly memorable, but it was nice hearing Elmer Bernstein's themes played in a good modern performance and recording, since the original recording isn't the best sounding.  At other times I felt like I was listening to an Orville episode score, with the sort of general influence of 70s-90s orchestral scoring without directly aping any of them

 

 

James Newton Howard - Jungle Cruise

 

I listened to this again after seeing the movie this weekend, and now I like the score even more!

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New Marianelli, in large spots forgettable Hollywood-type xmas fluff, but takes up some speed in its second half ('The Precipice'!), where it's occasionally on 'Krampus' level (the last convincing *new* score of this type).

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29 minutes ago, publicist said:

New Marianelli, in large spots forgettable Hollywood-type xmas fluff, but takes up some speed in its second half ('The Precipice'!), where it's occasionally on 'Krampus' level (the last convincing *new* score of this type).

 

Didn't do much for me, I'm afraid, but this one did:

 

Askepott-poster.jpg?w=750

 

One of Norway's foremost film composers Gaute Storaas strikes once again with this beautiful orchestral score with a seasonal vibe. It's a Norwegian remake of the Czech classic THREE WISHES FOR CINDERELLA from 1973 that just premiered over here. The film looks kinda hokey, but Storaas cuts loose with adventure and fairytale tropes coloured with folkloristic elements on occasion. A soundtrack is forthcoming, but is postponed for some reason (hence a picture of the film poster instead).

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Ha, ha. True. But it should be around the corner (Gaute says the slight delay is because of factors "outside his control", whatever that means).

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If Wikipedia's wording about the score / blurbs from reviews are to be believed, there's more to this score than just this single theme that is Greenwood's entire presence on this soundtrack release. Hoping for a proper score release, because this is loverly :)

 

Haven't gotten around to watching this yet, but this is beguiling. Feels like a relative to Britell's Beale Street score.

 

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46 minutes ago, Under-Terrestrial said:

Haven't gotten around to watching this yet, but this is beguiling. Feels like a relative to Britell's Beale Street score.

 

I had some expectations for this too, but turned out it was a rather boring affair, IMO. Can only take sole trumpet modulations for so long.

 

ab67616d0000b273ec6624f84a351d6608d69a0f

 

This has a similar problem - outside the childlike glockenspiel opening and end theme, it's mostly drones in the low register. Not spectacular in terms of listening experience, but works wonders in the film. The film, incidentally, is one of the big Norwegian "buzz" films of the year -- fared well in Cannes, for example, and is an excellent little horror film that sends associations to LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, Brian de Palma and obviously director Eskil Vogt's friend Joachim Trier.

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ab67616d0000b27371cde98e680874639d6049e8

 

Finally another new electronic score. Rone has impressed me for a decade now, with his IDM/minimal techno, but in terms of his film scores, I really dug his music for LA NUIT VENUE last year. This is another great effort -- open, moody, melodic and dynamic. Easily a contender for my top list of the year.

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On 26/11/2021 at 9:47 PM, Under-Terrestrial said:

 

If Wikipedia's wording about the score / blurbs from reviews are to be believed, there's more to this score than just this single theme that is Greenwood's entire presence on this soundtrack release. Hoping for a proper score release, because this is loverly :)

Man I sure hope so, because this track is fantastic. I've loved all of Greenwood's scores this year, what a 2021 he's having

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6 hours ago, KK said:

Lovely track indeed. I hope Greenwood walks away with an Oscar for something this year.

 

Even if i'm not especially taken with his more intellectual finger exercises of recent years emotionally (same with Wintory), i'd wholeheartedly agree.

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This is one of the strongest scores of the year.

Malagnini's orchestrations and control of the orchestra have always been good but this is just mindblowingly good.

Big orchestra, some electronics, beautiful waltzes. It really plays like a ballet or symphony. Really enjoyed this!

folder.jpg

 

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Whoever feels the itch to listen to Jerry's Walton's tune in a modern arrangement (sans pizzicati etc.), your ship has come in. At least in the first cue. The rest is nice in a superficial and not very stimulating way.

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It's good. Even Elgort's amateur voice. The recording and the orchestra are top-notch. Whoever conducted it knew his stuff. The 9-minute end credits cue sans signing is the best cue.

 

Netflix #1

 

The best one (though this only accounts for half of the 50 minutes running time), mainly written for cello and string orchestra with a bit of guitar thrown into the pot. Cues 1-4, 6-7, 11 and 16 could give you the impression there's more to the rest than there actually is. Still...

 

 

Pemberton #1

Pemberton scores the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz story (unbelievably cast with Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, actors at least 10-15 years to old for this story), a re-telling of one of Hollywood's big television success stories, but his alcoholism and infidelities threaten to destroy it all. Keeping with the Netflix aesthetic, it's often very subdued and reduced, save for a few short up-tempo drum numbers that go nowhere. Luckily, there's an articulated emotional main theme that's under-utilized but gets to it in at least a few cuts, i. e. in 'The Biggest Asset' or 'The End of a Dream', that at least halfway sells the tragic love story supposedly being told.

 

 

Pemberton #2

 

The nadir. Every Pemberton gets a chance with me, but this is faceless, corporate droning, where you desperately wait for even the slightest musical movement (which you get only in a few of Pemberton's patented karaoke backings, meaning percussions for percussions' sake).

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1 hour ago, publicist said:

 

It's good. Even Elgort's amateur voice. The recording and the orchestra are top-notch. Whoever conducted it knew his stuff. The 9-minute end credits cue sans signing is the best cue.

 

Netflix #1

 

The best one (though this only accounts for half of the 50 minutes running time), mainly written for cello and string orchestra with a bit of guitar thrown into the pot. Cues 1-4, 6-7, 11 and 16 could give you the impression there's more to the rest than there actually is. Still...

 

 

Netflix #2

Pemberton scores the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz story (unbelievably cast with Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, actors at least 10-15 years to old for this story), a re-telling of one of Hollywood's big television success stories, but his alcoholism and infidelities threaten to destroy it all. Keeping with the Netflix aesthetic, it's often very subdued and reduced, save for a few short up-tempo drum numbers that go nowhere. Luckily, there's an articulated emotional main theme that's under-utilized but gets to it in at least a few cuts, i. e. in 'The Biggest Asset' or 'The End of a Dream', that at least halfway sells the tragic love story supposedly being told.

 

 

Netflix #3

 

The nadir. Every Pemberton gets a chance with me, but this is faceless, corporate droning, where you desperately wait for even the slightest musical movement (which you get only in a few of Pemberton's patented karaoke backings, meaning percussions for percussions' sake).

Not sure why you labeled them all Netflix. I don't know aboyt the fkrst, but the other 2 are from Amazon & National Geographic

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1 hour ago, JNHFan2000 said:

 

Not sure why you labeled them all Netflix. I don't know aboyt the fkrst, but the other 2 are from Amazon & National Geographic

 

Right, i wanted to label them Pemberton 1 & 2, but then c/v'd wrong.

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Very similar to other Aaltios, like 'Tale of a Lake'. Big and orchestral, it's the closest to the now-classical Hollywood 90's sound we possibly gonna get these days, but it never rises above Debney-level in its handling of the requisite clichés. But that's something, so...

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Alberto Iglesias scores Almodóvar's latest as a subdued successor to 2019's Dolor y gloria (which was similarly excellent). Typically strong symphonic sensibilities with a frequent taste for the Herrmann-esque. Fotos a la niña, Madre de día, and the 10-minute finale (tracks 4, 8 and 17) are your best route as far as sampling goes, but it's great work from front to back and sure to rank high on my end-of-the-year list. Definitely wouldn't hurt to follow it up with the stunning finale from the duo's last outing either. 

 

Mentioned earlier in this thread by @Thor. Decidedly pleasant contemplative listening. Has its limits but worth a listen for the accessible half-hour runtime alone. I like it. 

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15 hours ago, publicist said:

Pemberton #2

 

The nadir. Every Pemberton gets a chance with me, but this is faceless, corporate droning, where you desperately wait for even the slightest musical movement (which you get only in a few of Pemberton's patented karaoke backings, meaning percussions for percussions' sake).

 

I liked bits of this, and I disagree that it's corporate droning, but it relies a bit too much on rhythmic and atmospheric material to be consistently interesting. The opening cue is kind of nice, as is Finding The Thirteen, but cues that I thouht would be really interesting such as The Rescue... just aren't. I may eventually buy it as purely background material.

 

I'm sure it works great in the film, but not really as a score for listening to. Disappointingly nowhere near as engaging as Beltrami's Free Solo, which is a score I love for a great film.

 

My next listen will be this. I've enjoyed the first 3 Yellowstone scores so expect this to largely be more of the same.

 

 

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Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer - The Matrix Resurrections 

 

I sat through the entire FYC album and am incredibly underwhelmed.  The first track gave me hope that they'd use a lot of Davis material, but instead it's just a lot of completely generic and unmemorable modern scoring hoo-ha.  It's boring an uninspired.

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95620.jpg

 

I'm looking forward to the film (if all goes well, there's an IMAX press screening next week) -- another Del Toro is always a highlight. Johnson's score is surprisingly melodic and symphonic -- he often prefers to do oddball sonic landscapes. Dark, slowmoving with lots of descending scales. He solved film noir wonderfully in BRICK, but this is a more oldfashioned affair.

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Michael Giacchino - Spider-man No Way Home

 

A nice score that is not as good as his first two (at least from what I can hear on the OST album), but is still good.  The biggest problem it has is the lack of great new themes (there are 3, but none of them are spectacular IMO).  Instead it relies heavily on his existing main theme (giving it a new choir-backed epic version in a handful of tracks), and having the villains scored by returning Elfman & Young themes.  His Marvel Fanfare, MJ, and Mysterio themes cameo as well, which is great, but the overall experience just doesn't pack the punch the first two scores did.  Hoping my mind will be changed when I hear the rest of the score in the film!

 

 

James Newton Howard - Jungle Cruise

 

I like this score more than I did before now that I've seen the film!  So many catchy themes

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FFDrnvuXIAAqfbT.jpg

 

I've sampled some Malagnini in the past (like CALL THE MIDWIFE and PETER AND WENDY), but none has made it to my collection. This one is the first that has potential -- an orchestral whimsy score with plenty of fluttering flutes and dancing strings. But somehow also a bit non-descript. I'll have to give it a couple of whirls to see if it qualifies.

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ab67616d0000b273560add74fb1e72fafd44a3d1

 

Ooh, fascinating score. Some ROSEWOOD-like gospel, some moody orchestral tracks (with aching strings), obligatory downbeat western music with guitars and harp, wonky jazz and other elements. Not sure how well everything goes together as a whole, but maybe it can be playlisted. Never heard of the composer Jeymes Samuel before.

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On 05/12/2021 at 3:59 PM, Jay said:

Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer - The Matrix Resurrections 

 

I sat through the entire FYC album and am incredibly underwhelmed.  The first track gave me hope that they'd use a lot of Davis material, but instead it's just a lot of completely generic and unmemorable modern scoring hoo-ha.  It's boring an uninspired.

 

Apparently, boring and uninspired is the new fun an inspired!

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On 08/12/2021 at 10:39 AM, Thor said:

FFDrnvuXIAAqfbT.jpg

 

I've sampled some Malagnini in the past (like CALL THE MIDWIFE and PETER AND WENDY), but none has made it to my collection. This one is the first that has potential -- an orchestral whimsy score with plenty of fluttering flutes and dancing strings. But somehow also a bit non-descript. I'll have to give it a couple of whirls to see if it qualifies.

 

I didn't know Maurizio has started scoring films.

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Not exactly the VICE successor I was hoping for, but it's mostly fine stuff and probably some of Britell's most distinctive work yet. Just not what I'm after. Oh well, bring on the third Succession album!

 

Exactly what you would expect from a 15-minute Alberto Iglesias score for a Christmas-themed Luca Guadagnino short film, even if the combination itself is coming out of left field. Harmless.

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ab67616d0000b273585bc1eda3cabc0f9cbc1efe

 

Zimmer teams up with Fleming again, after HILLBILLY ELEGY. The score is quite good -- can best be decribed as a lot of "shimmering" textures, with voices, el guitars and synths. Whether there's enough to "hold on to" in terms of keeping it in my collection, I don't know yet. Perhaps. The film was released on Netflix a few days ago, I've added it to my watch list (never seen the original UK show it's based on).

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IMDB says this is a kind of nature doc, amongst unexplored and inaccessible valleys high up on the Tibetan plateau lies one of the last sanctuaries of the wild world, where rare and undiscovered fauna lives. 

 

The Cave/Ellis style is what you would expect, voices (male/female, electronically manipulated, beautifully), low string and guitar chords, but much more lively (woodwinds!), better orchestrated and varied than i. e. The Road and such things, which i find terribly one-note. This one is occasionally even spellbinding, maybe because it describes very different nature scenes. Obviously there's running animals as well as atmospheric stillness, so the album keeps changing moods and tempos (comparable to Bruno Colais' nature scores) and i'm not afraid to pick it as one of 2021's best (no big feat, tbh). 

 

The epic last 10-minute cue is bookended by a Cave song that unfortunately carries rather cheesy lyric-making, but in a way this is Cave/Ellis 'Wolf Totem' (even the final cues lengths match). Recommended.

 

Sketchy, thy name is 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'. In what must be his 100st outing for Marvel ip's for people with a low entertainment threshold, Giacchino is his usual self: a bit like these asian or italian Jaws etc. rip-off's in the late 70's he sounds a bit like the real deal (meaning the film music of yesteryear), but after one or two blinks you realize the lack of finesse and craftmanship that good writing for orchestra requires. Stumbling, unnatural chord leaps, whenever there is brass (or a bold theme) in sight, action and suspense stitched without much consideration to join them, and in quiet moments (you know, these 'meaningful' single piano hits you often find in trailers) it's just boring. 

 

But every cinema generation gets the music it deserves.

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:music: Ghostbusters by Elmer Ernstein and Ghostbusters: Afterlife by Rob Simonsen. Probably my favourite work from Elmer - so infectious and charming. It was the first time for me to hear it outside of the film and it is a lot of fun. And the new sequel score is actually one of the best modern follow ups if its kind. Feels organic and genuinely well crafted. Something the superfluous by-the-numbers film itself struggles with. Very pleasantly surprised by this score and album. 

 

Karol

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