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


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Black Widow

 

It's not as generic as I was expecting, and some action cues are genuinely thrilling. But it's still an average Marvel score some forgettable themes. I'd rank it below pretty much every Phase 3 score.

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Black Widow by Lorne Balfe

 

Better than I expected, but not great. It's still coasting on tired old cliches both of the RCP variety and the old "Russian baddie" tradition, but occasionally it manages to muster the kind of energy of Zimmer's Peacemaker days. Don't really remember much coming out of it though. 

 

I'm more surprised, however, at how often Balfe and like can make such massive ensembles (120 musicians!) sound so terribly small...

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Saw the first episode of Panic on Prime, and got a bit bored, but the ending cue struck me enough to investigate the score release. It's a mostly experimental electronic score, and not a lot happening in the 'themes' department, but if like me you like that sort of electronic approach, it's a satisfying 40 mins. The song's not bad either.

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Really enjoyed Fear Street Pt III: 1666 in the film, haven't listened to it outside of that yet. It was also far and away the best of the three. 

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9 hours ago, Jules said:

Really enjoyed Fear Street Pt III: 1666 in the film, haven't listened to it outside of that yet. It was also far and away the best of the three. 

 

Saw the 1994 and 1978 ones yesterday. Some highlights, but fairly disappointing and will quickly be forgotten due to their similarity and references to existing slasher fare (one whole season of AMERICAN HORROR STORY basically did the 1978 one much better). Will watch the 1666 tonight. It's by far the one I'm most curious about, since there are so few films taking place in that period in the US/colonies.

 

Bits and pieces of Beltrami and Sanders' score that were interesting so far. Definitely a Goldsmith vibe in 1978.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy by Kris Bowers.

Very fun score. Might be my favorite Bowers.

The orchestral writing is amazing and the more modern synths and drums really complement the score. 

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ab67616d0000b2736b0010935c7667bce98ab8e5

 

I had so high hopes for this, since Miami Nights 1984 is one of the legends of synthwave. Alas, it didn't quite grab me, despite some cool Berlin school references (TD-type sequencers, in particular). But my colleague at Celluloid Tunes seemed to like it better than me (he gave it three stars, I would have given it two).

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Now that I saw the movie, I gave a proper thorough listen to "Kaamelott Part 1" by Alexandre astier. The score worked realy well in the movie and was decently mixed too. The thematic ideas developed make sense and I can't wait to see what he oes in Part 2 and PArt 3 :)

 

 

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cherry_600.jpg

 

After scurrying about in Marvel land for years, the Russo brothers recently did this relatively small drama film (which I haven't seen). I love the moody, "synth cushiony" parts of Jackman's score; other parts are rather bizarre. But another testament to Jackman's immense versatility and skill; I think this has the potential to grow on me quite a bit.

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ab67616d0000b273c5f0eaf72c2b06535fb515ba

 

I remember everyone went crazy over Ilfman's GHOST STORIES a few years back, but alas that didn't do much for me. This, however, has some really cool cues -- especially those with a synth or rock vibe (with prominent harpschicord), but some of the more generic horror/action orchestral cues do less for me. An uneven affair.

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We watched that film over the weekend.  The score was a bit all over the place.  Parts of it sounded like he was told to mimic Stranger Things

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He was probably told to mimic a lot of things. There's a cue that directly references Morricone's spaghetti western music too.

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ab67616d0000b27396fe1603b921af691dae2849

 

Appears to be a 2020 film, actually, but the soundtrack is just coming out now. Beautiful little gem of a score, by someone I've never heard about. Undulating strings, acoustic guitar, piano and warm, reflective woodwinds that just breeze along. Favourable links to Cat's Eyes' THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY. Goes straight into my digital collection!

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ab67616d0000b27353225301d7cf1afd119ed5a8

 

Chad Cannon impressed me mightily last year with his SCHINDLER'S LIST-ian score for the documentary HARBOR FROM THE HOLOCAUST. For this Chinese mini series documentary about a national park, he fires on all cylinders in a more lush, traditional idiom. Good score!

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43 - Album Artwork - Daniel Hart.jpeg

 

I see that others have sampled this too, a few posts up. I'm afraid I don't get the Daniel Hart love. His revered A GHOST STORY didn't do much for me either. He's kinda plodding along, Desplat-style. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just...."meh". At least for me.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

43 - Album Artwork - Daniel Hart.jpeg

 

I see that others have sampled this too, a few posts up. I'm afraid I don't get the Daniel Hart love. His revered A GHOST STORY didn't do much for me either. He's kinda plodding along, Desplat-style. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just...."meh". At least for me.

Agree with you on that. Maybe 2 or 3 cues were very good but that's it.

I listened to his score for The Green Knight today. I was honestly depressed after the listen. I am very excited for the film, so maybe after that the score will do better. But I didn't get what he was trying to do.

 

Only score of Hart that I really like is Pete's Dragon

 

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Lorne Balfe - Black Widow

 

Meh.  Some of the choral work was pretty interesting.  Nothing else was.

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James Newton Howard - Jungle Cruise

 

My first impression is "all sizzle, no steak"

 

It's got a big orchestral sound, fanfares, action cues galore, percussion-based action music, the occasional sweeping adventurous feel... all the ingredients for the next exciting classic orchestral action/adventure score like we used to get on a regular basis.... but somehow it doesn't come together like that.  I don't recall any of the themes after a first listen, and that's really required to glue everything together.

 

I'll be giving it another chance though, especially after I see the movie.

 

The interpolation of "Nothing Else Matters" is great!  It worked really well.  Fit right into the rest of the score.

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:(

 

I'm still hyped for the score though. It'll probably be one of the best (or THE best) score for a blockbuster movie in 2021. Of course, in a year without Powell, Williams, etc., this has more to do with the mediocrity of the other scores.

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I will listen to it when I'll see the movie but for now there's been one great blockbuster score and it's Cruella by Nicholas Britell

For the rest of the year I think that John Murphy's Suicide Squad might surprise us, so might Djawadi's Eternals, Gia's Spider-Man, Zimmer's Dune and No Time to Die

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Not particularly high on nutritional value but occasionally fun: that's as good as it gets as far as Disney commercial fodder is concerned. And Newton Howard at least is able to deliver a catchy melodic grab hook in form of a short, vaguely swashbuckling brass triplet (no, it's not the Metallica song, it's starting ca. 01:14 in the suite).

 

The whole thing seems to be caught in a time capsule: Treasure Planet, Peter Pan, Atlantis, you name it, all the crafty utensils from the Disney toolshed are there, but as the many short, inconsequential cues suggest, a breathtaking narrative isn't what drives Jungle Cruise forward. At 72 minutes (probably the movie's running time minus credits) it's a chore to sit through, with too much empty huffing and puffing that accompanies the Rock fighting CGI obstacles every 5 minutes.

 

So it's again the long suite opening the album that remains the pièce de résistance (JNH prefers this format since at least least his Airbender score from 2010), with some cute nuggets along the way (A Steamer to Brazil, Jungle Cruise, Conquistador's Arrive). 

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The Green Knight by Daniel Hart

 

The album is long, and the choral clusters potentially overstay their welcome, but there is much to admire here. It's a delicately woven tapestry of subtle folkish tunes, modal writing and "medieval" colours extrapolated/distorted in an introverted but effectively psychological way. It is sparse and it might not have the lengthy, extravagant fantasy suites that JWFan lives for, but it is excellent film music.

 

 

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ab67616d0000b2733a6604414614a51d8e977f1b

 

I can't remember who played this earlier in the thread (publicist?), but it's a great score. The 11-minute "Riddles" is a true tour-de-force of Gordon's skill -- there are times in it where it sounds like it's going to break out into the E.T. theme! It's the first new Gordon in my collection since MAO'S LAST DANCER in 2009.

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I would add 'Adore', 'The Gift of Light' and his truly wonderful collection of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. 

 

I uploaded his Rugby World Cup theme, which also packs some serious punch:

 

 

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5 minutes ago, publicist said:

I would add 'Adore', 'The Gift of Light' and his truly wonderful collection of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. 

 

Now that you mention it, I actually had ADORE once, don't know where it went, or why. And I sampled his Commonwealth music. But I'll check out THE GIFT OF LIGHT, thanks.

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On 7/30/2021 at 10:32 PM, KK said:

The Green Knight by Daniel Hart

 

The album is long, and the choral clusters potentially overstay their welcome, but there is much to admire here. It's a delicately woven tapestry of subtle folkish tunes, modal writing and "medieval" colours extrapolated/distorted in an introverted but effectively psychological way. It is sparse and it might not have the lengthy, extravagant fantasy suites that JWFan lives for, but it is excellent film music.

 

I have the same problem as with most new film/tv score albums after the 2010's (to draw a line): while it has its moments, it never betrays a real narrative throughline. It's just a concept album of all the things you mentioned. And to me, if i want that i have thousands of better choices. Stuff like this ain't the reason i once got interested in this artform.

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6 hours ago, publicist said:

 

I have the same problem as with most new film/tv score albums after the 2010's (to draw a line): while it has its moments, it never betrays a real narrative throughline. It's just a concept album of all the things you mentioned. And to me, if i want that i have thousands of better choices. Stuff like this ain't the reason i once got interested in this artform.


You’re not wrong. But I think coming fresh off the screening, I was just especially struck by how effectively it colours the film. And not in a one-size-fits-all “moody drone” kind of way, but in how it actually accentuates and bends our perception of the images unfolding on screen, which I don’t think many contemporary film scores do anymore. And I just appreciated the sense of play in all of it.

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4 hours ago, KK said:

You’re not wrong. But I think coming fresh off the screening, I was just especially struck by how effectively it colours the film. And not in a one-size-fits-all “moody drone” kind of way, but in how it actually accentuates and bends our perception of the images unfolding on screen, which I don’t think many contemporary film scores do anymore. And I just appreciated the sense of play in all of it.

 

Granted, i haven't seen the movie. It just seems to me that there must be a middle ground between a Korngold score and a collection of, say, 15 different minstrel songs posing as one. Hart is a talented fellow, so it's not for a lack of chops. I'm still waiting for his own 'Motherless Brooklyn' (another Daniel).

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Zola by Mica Levi

 

A collection of 30-60s cues that feel like an assembly of the same harp gliss, some random string tremolos, irregular loops and meandering glocks. Sometimes the cues abruptly cut into each other for some reason. This is not really music that has its own legs outside of being an "off-kilter" sonic texture for the film. Which could be said for most of Levi's film work post-Under the Skin (the last good score she did imo). 

 

The only long-form cue in the whole thing. Make of it what you will.

 

 

Jungle Cruise by James Newton Howard

 

Fun idiomatic genre acrobatics aside, I honestly can't remember anything at the end of this (except for the Yoda's Theme knockoff). I guess I like this cue's particular assembly of JNH's familiar tricks:

 

 

19 minutes ago, publicist said:

 

Granted, i haven't seen the movie. It just seems to me that there must be a middle ground between a Korngold score and a collection of, say, 15 different minstrel songs posing as one. Hart is a talented fellow, so it's not for a lack of chops. I'm still waiting for his own 'Motherless Brooklyn' (another Daniel).

 

I like Motherless Brooklyn, but I think Hart is the far more interesting Daniel. I do see your point, though I think The Green Knight is perhaps a bit more nuanced than that. And A Ghost Story is great. I more or less like everything he's done, but am also waiting for him to take it to the next level.

 

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11 hours ago, KK said:

like Motherless Brooklyn, but I think Hart is the far more interesting Daniel. I do see your point, though I think The Green Knight is perhaps a bit more nuanced than that. And A Ghost Story is great. I more or less like everything he's done, but am also waiting for him to take it to the next level.

 

Nah, i prefer Pemberton. I listened to all of Hart since 'Pete's Dragon' up to his last real narrative score, The Last Letter from your Lover (i linked it here recently) and his reliance on static long notes and his reluctance to use and develop a good old melody make him a second winner at best. Pemberton can be irritating (i hate his tendency to write what sounds like karaoke backings with the top tune missing, naturally often for Netflix movies), but tell me one score of Hart's where he manipulates two simple but effective motivic ideas into a cohesive 1-hour score like Motherless. I'm waiting. :)

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13 hours ago, publicist said:

 

Nah, i prefer Pemberton. I listened to all of Hart since 'Pete's Dragon' up to his last real narrative score, The Last Letter from your Lover (i linked it here recently) and his reliance on static long notes and his reluctance to use and develop a good old melody make him a second winner at best. Pemberton can be irritating (i hate his tendency to write what sounds like karaoke backings with the top tune missing, naturally often for Netflix movies), but tell me one score of Hart's where he manipulates two simple but effective motivic ideas into a cohesive 1-hour score like Motherless. I'm waiting. :)

 

Well, as you point out, Pemberton's harmony is too vanilla for me. Feels not too shy of a modern Debney-esque workman-like film music. With exceptions, sure (Motherless BrooklynSteve Jobs to a degree). But Hart's palette (both instrumental and harmonic) is at least more distinctive, and for all the textural chops, I think he's got some good tunes in his bank (in more of a singer/songwriter sense than a Williams-esque one). I haven't heard Last Letter yet, but my impression is he's still too much in the indie lane to be doing anything as extroverted as the Netflix fare that Pemberton usually does.

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SILED4910-ProfessorT-cover-V2.jpg

 

This is out August 20th. Hannes de Maeyer got on my radar after his propulsive, orchestral action score for TORPEDO in 2019, but then truly impressed me last year with his synth score for THE RACER (which came in 5th on my top 10 of 2020). This is a little uneven, however. Has some beautiful, waltz-like elements, but then resorts to standard RC tropes with regular intervals, or other types of bland music. Doesn't really gel together over 37(!) tracks. Pull out your playlist skills for this, as the highlights are well worth keeping!

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Schmigadoon! by Christopher Willis

Though the score cues are too far and few between all the episode albums, they do betray Willis' typically impeccable craftsmanship and the fact that he needs bigger films on his roster, ones that ask for a musical imprint beyond pastiche.

 

 

 

Minamata by Ryuichi Sakamoto

It has everything you'd expect from a Sakamoto score. A melancholic piano theme, a rousing string-driven call to action and some more ambient sonic noodlings, all in one convenient package. It's entertaining enough, though it offers nothing new to Sakamoto's oeuvre.

 

 

 

Pig by Alexis Grapsas & Philip Klein

 

Pleasant, folksy and mercifully short. There's a nice tune and I like the textures, but it has little replay value for me.

 

 

 

Old by Trevor Gureckis

The movie was fun, and the score worked. But really, the whole thing sounds too much like a new Spitfire library demo (quavering strings, shaking metal knick-knacks and close-mic felted pianos, blah blah blah) than it does interesting music. All the production acrobatics aside, there's just not much to hold on to. The few tonal passages that do appear seem to draw on the kind of broader JNH gestures that would have graced these films once upon a time...

 

 

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Aaltio has the conventional Hollywood 90's orchestral sound pat down - it's oozing McNeely, Debney and Broughton - though the question remains if anyone really needs it.

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MV5BMGVkNTFjY2QtZTBkMi00YTE2LTk1NTYtNGRj

 

Sakamoto's score is a blend of electronics, strings and some piano. One track sounded pretty close the something on The Last Emperor. Dementia is kicking in for Ryuichi?

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The Suicide Squad by John Murphy
Quiet a fun score with some good highlights like the Main Title, Ratism, King Shark and the Clorax (I think it's temp on A Cure for Wellness by the way) and The Suicide Squad Fight Back

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On 8/11/2021 at 10:44 AM, AC1 said:

 

MV5BMGVkNTFjY2QtZTBkMi00YTE2LTk1NTYtNGRj

 

Sakamoto's score is a blend of electronics, strings and some piano. One track sounded pretty close the something on The Last Emperor. Dementia is kicking in for Ryuichi?


Well, Sakamoto is at the tail end of his career where he basically just gets to draw from and recycle his existing pool of music ideas and repertoire, much like the maestro himself. Alas, where Williams’ stuff oozes a sophistication that makes them attractive enough for its craftsmanship alone, Sakamoto’s new work plays like pleasant, but perhaps tired nostalgia.

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Yes, it's getting repetitive. I guess a lot depends on what the director wants. And mostly they hire a composer based on their previous work.

 

 

 

 

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This original CD didn't sound so great on my new speakers. It lacks a bit of sparkle. Not sure if there is a remastered version.

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I'd love a suite for this. It's quite good, very short cues as you'd expect from the structure of the episode however. 

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