Soundtracks are a lot more than movie music...
...or so I'm ready to argue as a 30 year devotee of this sorely under appreciated genre. So, in an effort to do my part, each week
I'll be making recommendations of soundtracks current and vintage, make a fuss over long awaited soundtrack scores finally getting
a well deserved release, and in general, make some noise about this often overlooked category. Beyond my long experience as a
listener and as a pianist and songwriter, both of which I've put to use in writing a quarterly soundtrack column for the Chicago
Tribune, I can only offer my recommendations. You'll discern my taste soon enough and upfront I'd like to make it clear that I'll
focus most heavily on SCORE soundtracks. In the end, all criticism is subjective but if I can point a listener toward a little heard
soundtrack or strongly advise you to either ORDER IMMEDIATELY or SKIP ALTOGETHER, all the better.
Who would have dreamed that an animated film about a lonely robot who
hums show tunes and falls in love with another android would be one of the
year’s most critically lauded and popular movies – and also contain the
year's best film score? Certainly music composer Thomas Newman’s ever
changing score helped audiences fill in the blanks for the wordless little
WALL-E throughout the movie’s first nearly silent 40 minutes. And
Newman’s music more than helped director Andrew Stanton convey that
section of the film’s alternate melancholy mixed with exuberance, once
again attesting to the overall importance of movie scoring.
The soundtrack kicks off with an exuberant snippet of the "Put On Your
Sunday Clothes" show tune from Hello Dolly from this animated delight about
the Little Robot Who Could and is heard throughout the movie. Newman’s
score runs the gamut from electronic musical squeaks, burps and bleeps, to
60s flavored Burt Bacharachesque bossa (“First Date”), the sweeping, lonely
expanse of a deserted earth ("A.D. 2815"), and a gorgeous theme that
captures the shared bliss as the two robots dance among the Cosmos
(“Define Dancing” – composed with Peter Gabriel). Fittingly, the little known
love duet from Dolly between Crawford and McAndrew (whose name is
mysteriously left off the soundtrack’s credits) also heard throughout the film,
is another soundtrack highlight.
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The soundtrack cover and composer
Thomas Newman whose score is the