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Junkie XL's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2021)


Edmilson
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That's the thing that I always found interesting about the DCEU Bats material. In how much they feel very inspired by previous incarnations. I keep hearing tidbits of Goldenthal in both the BvS and ZSJL themes. Probably is the better way of honoring prior history while also doing your own thing.

Having listened to the last set of tracks (since I assume they're theme suites), I am a bit surprised by how much I liked them. Particularly with the Batman tracks, given the amount of fun energy and bits of interesting sound design that they have. It manages to tickle my electronic bone just enough. The WW rendition is fairly solid too, and the Flash piece seems like a good summation of the score.

That being said, with this being 3+ hours of overall material, I'm not going to be surprised if I view this exactly the same way that I do MoS/BvS. Where I like the general ideas, but the whole piece ends up feeling tired and lacking much dimension. It's frustrating how much I can hear good scores coming from these motifs, yet they get paired with largely uninspired affair. At the very least, it'll probably be good exercise and wake up music.

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The funny thing here is that this is not even the complete movie soundtrack. A lot of superman-themes were omitted (plus some boring background score)

It could just have been tracked music, but I didnt care to see that mess of a movie more than once out of curiosity. Its just that the superman themes stand out the most.

I do like some of the action material here, but this is one time I would have been fine with a 70Min release (and if you have to, a bonus CD for the suites)

Like MOS its also a lot to take in at once.

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18 hours ago, MedigoScan said:

How we Achieve Ourselves has a nice reprise of one of BVS' unreleased tracks.

 

Also random synths Monument Builder, which really draws a lot from Man of Steel to the extent that I am surprised Zimmer is not co-credited for it.


Which one?

Tom wrote a good chunk of the Zod/Kryptonian and action material for MoS, so I'm not surprised that he got solo credit on that particular track.

As for the rest of the score, I'm actually surprised by how generally decent I found much of it to be. There were very little points where I felt it dragged, and there were a good amount of tracks that I can say I legitimately enjoyed. It's absolutely junk food music, which is only compounded by the amount of rock and electronic elements. But it not being so dreary and monotonous generally made it so that it was actually fun to listen to, compared to MoS and BvS.

It's definitely got its issues though. For as much as I wasn't bored with it, there's probably a good chunk you could remove from it without missing anything substantial. Also, thematically, while you could see this as being better than Elfman's effort on that front from a superficial sense, this has a similar issue of not being particularly great in always distinguishing the individual motifs. Particularly with the villains, which might as well be nonexistent from the initial listen. Can't say I picked up anything on the Aquaman front as well, but that could change when I view the film. And while I do feel this is a more approachable score than MoS/BvS, I do think those had the better ideas. Not to say the ZSJL ones are bad, but they definitely pale motif wise, and find myself wondering if the Snyderverse is ever gonna get a score that meld both compelling ideas and solid execution.

As for if it's better than Elfman's JL: I think they're ultimately incomparable. They both aim for very different things, and I'd say that each succeeded at them. I will say that there is no track on ZSJL that quite hits me on an emotional level like "Home" does from the theatrical cut, but that's likely because it's exactly the kind of intimate DE cue I'd enjoy from other works of his. I know Holkenborg less than I do Danny, but the one conclusion I can make here is that this is definitely my favorite JXL thing currently, which I feel says a lot.

So yeah, it's pretty alright. Am a bit surprised by how mixed the reception has been in even RCP dominated circles. I figured with what I mentioned that it'd make for a good crowd pleaser, but with the behemoth that is this whole project, I suppose some aspects were bound to underwhelm. Which is a shame, as I find it more entertaining than its predecessors (though I certainly like WW84 the most out of the DCEU lot that I heard).

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6 minutes ago, HunterTech said:

I will say that there is no track on ZSJL that quite hits me on an emotional level like "Home" does from the theatrical cut, but that's likely because it's exactly the kind of intimate DE cue I'd enjoy from other works of his.

 

I'm sure that piece picked a bit from Mars Attacks. I can't name the tracks, but they're from the scenes relating to Lukas Haas' family.

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18 hours ago, Drew said:

A chord from the Elfman theme appears in the last track. Might be all this has going for it.
 

 

 

Complete trash. Who in their right mind listens to this dreck and enjoys it?

 

It's an insult to film music to call this noise music.

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As I said elsewhere, the start is rough.

But it got enjoyable for me halfway in, (and I am pretty sure I am not insane)

The fact that I have to add 'halfway' though I understand is a problem with the OST presentation.

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24 minutes ago, crumbs said:

Complete trash. Who in their right mind listens to this dreck and enjoys it?

It's an insult to film music to call this noise music.

I perfectly see your point although I would say that music is a matter of taste which doesn't prejudice one's state of mind. Anyway the music is certainly not the Everest of film music like Holkenborg likes to say (unless if SW's scores are the size of the universe in comparison :P) but it's can be listen entirely (with some aspirine of course) without any mental issue.

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It's just my opinion. Good luck to anyone who derives enjoyment from listening to this. I just hope they have a decent supply of aspirin!

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I will also concede that the start takes a bit to get going. It wasn't until a couple of tracks in that I felt it got a good groove going.

 

Given my background in EDM type music prior to listening to scores, the loudness of the tracks aren't really a problem (though in this case, I was at the park for the first couple of cues, and had ReplayGain enabled the whole listen, so perhaps that softened it considerably). I just care if it actually manages to be tuneful, to which I got from at least 20 or so tracks. A heck of a lot more than I'd have expected, so for that I'm grateful.

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Lol. It's interesting to be someone that hated both the Man of Steel score and Batman V Superman score which most here also hated.

 

However, Wonder Woman 1984 got considerably more praise on here than I think it deserves, meanwhile this score is immediately being disregarded by some people as Trash. 

 

This is a better score than Wonder Woman 1984. It raises to higher highs and has far more interesting moments than almost anything from 1984.

 

I'll elaborate with some of my personal highlights later on, but yes, there's several cues where it's a lot of highly compressed pounding drums. You get tired of that Wonder Woman drum beat by track 9 and yes, it does take some time to get going. But there are quite a few good heartfelt moments. This score is at it's best when it embraces a more rock and roll driven sound for the action cues, it's lower key emotional moments, and when it decides to be hopeful and heroic.

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3 minutes ago, Drew said:

Man of Steel is quite good compared to this, honestly. That’s how low the standards are becoming.

 

Nah. Note: I don't think this is good per say. It's nothing compared to Williams or a slew of other composers and scores, but did any of us expect it to be? Junkie has done better with Zimmer's material than Zimmer did IMO. 

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Man of Steel has more moments to calm down with.. I guess is another problem.

This movie does too, but it does owe those themes to MoS.

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This movie got the film score it deserved, that’s all I can say.

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2 hours ago, JNHFan2000 said:

I think what Holkenborg meant by 'everest score' is the amount of music. That was something he had never done before.

 

And I don't think you can call something just trash. Everybody has different opinions. If you don't like it, but somebody else does, what does it matter. But just calling something trash because you don't like it or it's not your style is a bit unfair.

 

Here's the usual passive aggressive "sniff sniff it's an OPINIOOOON" snowflake bullshit. 

Nobody calls it trash because they don't like it. They don't like it because it's trash. 

There's a shitload of objectively brilliant music quite a lot people don't like, and there's a metric fuckton of farts pressed on CD that sell like hot cakes. 

What does it matter? It matters because if enough spineless drones are content with whatever retreated trash they are presented, it will become the gold standard, and therefore musically uneducated with the proper equipment, and only out to make a name for themselves, will flood the industry, at which point there will be no return. 

 

This hours long masterclass in modern film music block building bullshittery is noisy, mundane, lacking poignancy entirely, and harmonically excruciating. 

 

The only thing lacking now is someone daring to claim Junk didn't produce this sound on purpose, and would be so much better "if only given the chance". 

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Quote

Holkenborg: Well, you see, one day whilst trying to input fifty drum lines my computer shat itself and when it restarted, it messed with what I'd input and I when I played it back, I thought 'Eureka!' this is amazing! Later, I showed it to my wife who quickly informed me it was just the Wonder Woman theme again...'

 

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While it seems most here aren't liking this score (be that as it may), does anyone know if the 54 tracks (other than the 2 songs at the beginning and end) are in chronological order as they appear in the film? And if not, has anyone been able to piece together a chronological order yet? 

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12 minutes ago, TSMefford said:

 

Absolutely this.

 

I'm a weird middle ground because I like bits about both worlds. I like scores like National Treasure or some of the "epic" trailer music for the 2000s for one reason, but also like many of the more commonly celebrated scores around here for other reasons. I don't really have a solid preference. It depends on the film. It probably is more classic orchestral as that tends to be what speaks to me and interests me most, but I'm not going to lie and say that there aren't tracks or even full scores I like that are not that.

 

There are things here in Junkie's Justice League score I like. I'm still working on my list with links to share and all that, so I'll try to have that later on. However, there are also things I don't like. 

 

While I do somewhat see the point gkgyver was making where it feels like we shouldn't lower our standards or stuff like this will take over, but I think that's almost an inevitability. Music goes through phases of change and resurgence. I also think it's silly to have to either love or hate it entirely. I like parts of it, I don't like other parts. Granted if you don't like a single bit of it, then sure, feel free to hate it.

This is exactly how I feel. Bit of both worlds. I do love the old big orchestral scores and the newer ones from composers like Giacchino.

But I also love some of the newer 'less' orchestral score from Zimmer, Jackman & Holkenborg.

 

But my preference will always go to the more orchestral theme based scores. And I think Holkenborg did a good job on this score. Every hero has their own theme, as well as the team and the villains.

Sure there are parts I don't like and I don't think it's his best, and it's not the heighest form of film music but I think it's enjoyable for what it is

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I dunno about that, I like more modernistically slanted scores too. I go through phases of listening to traditional and cutting edge, depending on my mood. I'm not down on new scoring per se. 

 

But I can still discern the difference between good and bad - and good and bad has long existed in old and new. There's some awful fully orchestral scores out there, and not all of them are from Michael Giacchino. 

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24 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

The one thing that does aggravate though, is when scores of this style are usually the ones that receive expanded/complete releases right off the bat - it would be nice if a wider range and style of score were available in complete form.

 

Yeah I agree with this as well. Where are our 4 hour Star Wars releases, damnit!?

 

25 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

I suspect that the backlash against scores like this is that those who wish all scores would be orchestral feel cheated out of a four-hour John Williams opus, when Holkenborg comes up with this.

 

I mean...maybe, but would a John Williams style score have suited this film? I don't think so. Perhaps thats another conversation all together, but regardless of the quality of the score on it's own, it works perfectly in the imperfect film for the most part.

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1 hour ago, Panama Jack said:

While it seems most here aren't liking this score (be that as it may), does anyone know if the 54 tracks (other than the 2 songs at the beginning and end) are in chronological order as they appear in the film? And if not, has anyone been able to piece together a chronological order yet? 

 

It is, sorta. The 2 songs play in the middle of the film somewhere instead of the beginning and end.

Completionists are gonna go berserk anyway, since even this release is not the full film mix. The lengthy tracks are often microedited or completely rearranged

(in one case I dont even know why, since it sounds exactly like one of the later suites now)

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26 minutes ago, MedigoScan said:

 

It is, sorta. The 2 songs play in the middle of the film somewhere instead of the beginning and end.

Completionists are gonna go berserk anyway, since even this release is not the full film mix. The lengthy tracks are often microedited or completely rearranged

(in one case I dont even know why, since it sounds exactly like one of the later suites now)

 

Thanks! I really appreciate the reply.  I generally like to (as much as possible without getting into editing tracks, etc) play soundtracks in the basic order the music plays in the films. 

 

With this, I've only seen the film once so far, I've only just purchased this soundtrack, and, as has been mentioned, the track names aren't very helpful.  So as long as it is more or less (micro edits and rearrangements aside) already in chronological order other than the 2 songs, then that's pretty much what I wanted to know.  Thanks again! Cheers! 

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1 hour ago, MedigoScan said:

 

It is, sorta. The 2 songs play in the middle of the film somewhere instead of the beginning and end.

Completionists are gonna go berserk anyway, since even this release is not the full film mix. The lengthy tracks are often microedited or completely rearranged

(in one case I dont even know why, since it sounds exactly like one of the later suites now)

 

Bless my soul I haven't had the chance to listen to 4 hours of OST but from the film I got the sense there was a shit ton of tracking. Like the main theme sounded the exact same several times - same instrumentation and performance and everything.

 

And the female solo for WW sounded nearly identical most times.

 

So I am wondering that even though 4 hours was created, in the edit, they slapped some cues they liked over multiple scenes.

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9 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

Bless my soul I haven't had the chance to listen to 4 hours of OST but from the film I got the sense there was a shit ton of tracking. Like the main theme sounded the exact same several times - same instrumentation and performance and everything.

 

And the female solo for WW sounded nearly identical most times.

 

So I am wondering that even though 4 hours was created, in the edit, they slapped some cues they liked over multiple scenes.

 

That's entirely possible.

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Oh they definitely pasted the same WW female solo for like most of her big moments

And they've tracked material from the suites (and maybe MoS) here and there too.

The OST does get repetetive itself though.. mostly almost all the steppenwolf scenes.

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See herein lies the rub. The 4 hours of music claim is bogus. Much of this is suites repeated again and again. It isn't all new 4 hours of music.

 

If Williams wrote a 4 hour score, you bet it would be 4 hour of music.

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1 hour ago, TheUlyssesian said:

See herein lies the rub. The 4 hours of music claim is bogus. Much of this is suites repeated again and again. It isn't all new 4 hours of music.

 

If Williams wrote a 4 hour score, you bet it would be 4 hour of music.

 

Oh yeah? I still haven't had time to separately listen to the score yet. Lol.

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Four hours? WaterTower Music says eight hours. :unsure:
 

 

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I still occasionally get review digital download promos sometimes... even though if I haven't done any soundtrack reviews in the past 4 and a half years. This thing was something like 8GB. 😮

 

Karol

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37 minutes ago, The Big Man said:

Is Junkie XL another one of those so-called "composers" who can't read music but somehow managed to con his way to the very top?

If they're from RCP, and they make the biggest, noisiest, flavor of the week that people call masterpieces, the answer is almost always yes. 

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On 3/19/2021 at 10:12 AM, TSMefford said:

Lol. It's interesting to be someone that hated both the Man of Steel score and Batman V Superman score which most here also hated.

 

However, Wonder Woman 1984 got considerably more praise on here than I think it deserves, meanwhile this score is immediately being disregarded by some people as Trash. 

 

This is a better score than Wonder Woman 1984. It raises to higher highs and has far more interesting moments than almost anything from 1984.

 

I'll elaborate with some of my personal highlights later on, but yes, there's several cues where it's a lot of highly compressed pounding drums. You get tired of that Wonder Woman drum beat by track 9 and yes, it does take some time to get going. But there are quite a few good heartfelt moments. This score is at it's best when it embraces a more rock and roll driven sound for the action cues, it's lower key emotional moments, and when it decides to be hopeful and heroic.

 

IMO, WW84 is much better score than JL (both versions). Much better melodies and themes. It has the perfect combo of orchestral and synth music, action and romance, and was able to coherently link those elements together.

 

With that said, Junkie's Justice League is much better than Batman v Superman. The main theme alone is much better than that score. Also, JL has some genuine character scoring. The Cyborg theme is beautifully representation of a tortured, shadowed man. The Darkseid theme is melodramatically epic and even though I am don't like the Batman theme much, it propulsive and energetic. The only thing good about BvS is the introduction of the WW theme and "A Beautiful Lie," a single glimmer of beauty. I am disappointed that he didn't use RGW's Aquaman theme though. 

 

As for Man of Steel...I think Junkie's Justice League is probably better too. But I still like "Flight" and "What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World" better than anything in JL.

 

Lastly, compared to Elfman's work, it is exactly what I predicted. Elfman's JL is everything right and wrong with Marvel scores. They are very technically proficient scores, with some complex orchestration, even quality scoring throughout. But they lack any sort of memorability. I can listen to Elfman's JL twice and not remember anything about it. Junkie's JL is everything right and wrong with DC scores. Extreme highs and lows. The highlights are epic, dramatic, and worthy of attention. DC scores have some of the best, memorable cues/themes in the genre. However, outside of those highlights, the scores lack the finesse of Marvel scores, mostly deconstructed to simiple electronics or sound design. Overall, Elfman's work has better composition and Junkie's work is more memorable.  

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I'm listening to the album right now. It has some truly great moments, but it is surrounded by so much "generic RCP epicness with loud drums". Some tracks (like We Do This Together) are almost insufferable if you're not in the right mindset.

 

The best thing to do is to wait someone to create a 70-minute playlist with the highlights of the score.

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36 minutes ago, Edmilson said:

I'm listening to the album right now. It has some truly great moments, but it is surrounded by so much "generic RCP epicness with loud drums". Some tracks (like We Do This Together) are almost insufferable if you're not in the right mindset.

 

The best thing to do is to wait someone to create a 70-minute playlist with the highlights of the score.

 

I am curious to see others' playlists too. I have been trying to assemble mine:

 

 

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