07.19.2009

Fastest Violinist In The World

Posted by AJ Harbison at 4:23 pm

I came across this video on CNN.com a few days ago. The violinist is David Garrett, a Juilliard graduate who studied with Itzhak Perlman, did some modeling on the side, and wears (for the interview) a leather jacket and a Von Dutch cap; he plays both classical music and pop music, “channeling” Michael Jackson and Metallica. But he’s also going in the 2010 Guinness Book of Records as the world’s fastest violinist for playing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee in 66 seconds–13 notes per second. If you’d like to skip the opening segments with the gushing interviewer who is clearly smitten with him, skip to the 1:30 mark.


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07.14.2009

Stockholm Syndrome, Derek Webb

Posted by AJ Harbison at 1:41 pm

I’ve been a big fan of Derek Webb for almost 10 years now, from his involvement with Caedmon’s Call through his solo career. Each of his solo albums thus far has had a completely different style to it: She Must And Shall Go Free was folk/acoustic/bluegrass; The House Show was just Derek and his acoustic guitars; I See Things Upside Down was more experimental and had lots of atmospherics and a much thicker texture overall; Mockingbird, as I’ve written about before, has a stripped-down, simple, house-recorded feel; and The Ringing Bell had a classic rock, Creedence Clearwater Revival-type sound. His most recent record, Stockholm Syndrome, keeps the tradition by going in a completely new direction: It’s an electronic album, full of drum loops, synthesizers and lots of fun “blips and bloops” (as Sean Dunnahoe would say)–a sound that he has described as “intentionally inorganic.” Live drums (played by Mckenzie Smith) appear on four tracks; other than that, every instrument on the album was played either by Derek himself or the album’s producer, Josh Moore of Caedmon’s Call.

Derek’s sure to win some new fans and alienate some old ones with this record, not least because of the content, which deals with issues of race and homosexuality. (Derek’s label, INO, refused to release one of the tracks on the album because of some of the content; the preorders available on his website will be the only way to get the CD with that song, “What Matters More,” and the physical CDs which are released on September 1st will have 13 tracks instead of 14.) And the musical style is sure to surprise many who are used to Derek as a singer/songwriter; despite the different styles of his earlier albums, this is surely the biggest departure from what people expect from his music.

Par for the course for Derek, the preorders available on his website all come with an immediate digital download of the full record (although the order volume was so high on the first day of preordering that some people waited more than 20 hours to download it). I downloaded it after things calmed down a bit, and have listened to it a few times since then.

On the first listen through, I wasn’t sure what to think, although I was pretty sure I liked it; on the second and third listens I was definitely sure I did. Electronic music is not something I typically listen to, and so I can’t offer an informed critique of the quality compared to other electronic music, but I like what Derek has done a great deal. The upbeat songs (like “The Spirit Vs. The Kickdrum” and “Jena and Jimmy”) have some pretty rocking grooves, and the slower songs (especially “The Proverbial Gun”) have a unique atmosphere and an emotional power familiar to Derek’s listeners but accomplished in a new way. The first line of “Black Eye,” the first track with vocals after the instrumental “Opening Credits,” introduces Derek singing in a low, gravelly voice we’ve never heard before, along with dissonant and funky backing music; the next song, “Cobra Con,” sounds almost like a Jason Mraz tune with more of a pop/rock feel and some falsetto vocals. “Freddie, Please” was described by Derek on Twitter as an “electro-industrial do wop song about fred phelps” [sic]. And those are just three of the first tracks!

The main thing that I didn’t like about the album was its use of repetition. When I was studying composition at Cal State Fullerton, one of the things my best professor told me was never to write the same thing twice; if you’ve already heard it once, you already know it, so if you write it again change something about it, even if it’s a small thing. Otherwise what’s the point of repeating something you’ve already heard? On Stockholm Syndrome, however, there is a lot of exact repetition, particularly in “The Spirit Vs. The Kickdrum” and “I Love/Hate You,” in which the exact same line with the exact same music is repeated three times with no changes. That rubs me the wrong way, for the reason mentioned above. However, it happens a lot on the album, and I think that it was done intentionally as a stylistic choice. Electronic music as a style/genre uses a lot of repetition musically, and the choice of continuous repetition in the lyrics (I think) was meant to reflect the musical style.

The music itself is not always top-notch–it’s not bad, but it’s not always terribly interesting. There are lots of “blips and bloops,” but most of the time those little details add up to a very simple whole without too much musical complexity. But I think this is intentional as well. At a live show I attended a few years ago, Derek said (in reference to Mockingbird) that you could either have complex lyrics or complex music, but not both, because if you had both they would detract and distract from each other; simple lyrics with complex music, or vice versa, helps to highlight one or the other. (I don’t necessarily agree with this, myself, but it’s Derek’s view.) Derek has always, and especially on his last few albums, been all about deep, thought-provoking lyrics; so I think that he intentionally simplifies the music in order to focus on his message.

All told, this is a great album and I can even see it topping my favorites of Derek’s solo albums eventually. You may see some posts about individual songs in the near future. In the meantime, six different packages of preorders are available on his website at http://www.derekwebb.com/store, ranging from eight to sixty dollars. You can hear the controversial song “What Matters More” on YouTube here and see a live solo performance of it here; and you can also find a press release/review/recap of the release process (which included a crazy country-wide scavenger hunt) from Christian Newswire here.

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07.07.2009

“White As Snow,” No Line On The Horizon, U2

Posted by AJ Harbison at 4:30 pm

I’ve been playing U2‘s latest album No Line On The Horizon in my car for the past few days. I still haven’t gotten all the way through it, despite having downloaded the music from iTunes quite a while ago. But it’s really intriguing. I think it’ll take me a few listens to really get into it, but I like what I’ve heard so far.

The song I want to mention today, before I do a full review of the album, is “White As Snow,” track nine (you can hear a sample on the Amazon product page). I was listening to it for the first time yesterday, but the melody sounded familiar to me. It only took me a few moments to realize that (for the verses, at least) the melody is a slightly-altered version of the Christmas carol “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” It fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the song, and the lyrics, which are evocative and filled with longing.

The melody of the carol, of course, is public domain; ideas on when it was written range from the 8th century to the 15th. But it’s interesting that the band chose to use that melody for a new song having nothing to do with the original carol. I’m aware of several instances of new music being written to old lyrics (for example, the Indelible Grace Music project or my own new music to the hymn “Just As I Am”); but I’m not sure I know of new lyrics being written to old music. How about you? What do you think of “White As Snow,” and do you know of any other examples of new lyrics using an old melody?

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My lovely wife is a musical theatre connoisseur, and she recently gave me the soundtrack to Anything Goes (1934, although the version she gave me was the 1962 revival) to listen to. I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit, and just this morning finished listening to it all the way through. The lyrics by Cole Porter are quite clever–I must say that nothing I’ve heard thus far in my life can top Stephen Schwartz in Wicked, but I’ve been impressed with the lyrics in this show, especially in the songs “You’re The Top” and “Anything Goes.” And I’ve enjoyed the music as well. Musical theatre has never been one of my favorite styles of music; although I’m always up for seeing a good musical, I wouldn’t normally listen to a soundtrack on its own. But, when I gave Eleanor Coldplay’s LeftRightLeftRightLeft album and was looking for something of hers to listen to, I thought I’d take a musical to see what I could glean from the style.

I find that the music for Anything Goes is a little more interesting to me than “typical” musical theatre style. (Eleanor and I also listened to excerpts from Kiss Me, Kate recently, which is another Cole Porter musical from 14 years later, and we were both much less impressed.) The orchestra that it uses is an intriguing one: mostly piano, brass (in a big band sort of style), and drums/percussion, with only the occasional woodwind for color and a banjo (?!) just for good measure–hardly any strings at all. I have to give Mr. Porter props for that; I don’t think I could sacrifice strings in writing a musical, no matter how hard I tried. But I generally like the way the orchestra is used (even the banjo), although the piano parts can be a little hackneyed and most of its intros sound the same.

In listening to this musical, I also tried to deduce what musical elements make up the “musical theatre sound.” Certainly the orchestration (primarily brass and piano) has something to do with it. As far as the harmonies go, they tend towards a pop-jazz style, using lots of extended chords (sevenths, ninths, etc. without getting too crazy or dissonant), secondary dominants and active, mobile bass lines based around the tonic and fifth (C – G – C – G – C – G – C G A B – C etc.). And melodies and harmonies alike are in love with the sixth (e.g. the note A in C major)–somehow the sixth as a melody note is harmonious and “part of the chord” with the tonic triad in many songs (see, for example, the song “Heaven Hop” in Anything Goes). Apart from those, though, I’m not sure anything else jumps out at me, even though musical theatre is an almost instantly recognizable style.

What are your thoughts? What do you think of Anything Goes? Any technical or non-technical ideas about what makes something sound distinctly like a musical?

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06.18.2009

Sideways Score, Rolfe Kent

Posted by AJ Harbison at 5:25 pm

My lovely wife and I watched the movie Sideways for the first time last night (and drank a 2007 Robert Mondavi pinot noir to commemorate the occasion). The movie is about two middle-aged men who take a trip through Napa Valley wine country the week before one of them gets married; along the way, as the movie’s tagline states, they’re “In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves.” It was an enjoyable movie; it’s billed as a comedy, and the first half was quite fun and had a lot to do with wine (which of course I enjoyed). The second half, however, was much more of a drama, and had much less to do with wine (and I was a little disappointed). But overall it was quite a good movie.

The score was written by Rolfe Kent, who has written music for many of director Alexander Payne’s movies (including About Schmidt and Election) as well as other popular movies such as Wedding Crashers, Thank You For Smoking and Legally Blonde. It was a jazzy, piano-driven pop-music score–reminiscent in my mind of the style of Hitch‘s score by George Fenton. There was a lot of music in the film, probably because the movie covers the period of an entire week and thus there are a lot of short scenes and transitions that the music helps along, and the upbeat, poppy music definitely kept the atmosphere light and kept things moving. I was especially fond of the theme that plays on the DVD menu (you can hear samples on the score’s Amazon page; that particular theme can be found in a more subdued version in “Los Olivos,” track 8). But there was also some melancholy piano solo music that helped set the tone of the second half of the movie as well, that followed a common bass line progression: G minor – F# augmented – B-flat major over F – C major 9 over E – etc. (You can hear this theme in track 11 on the Amazon page, “Abandoning The Wedding.”)

Sideways progression

We watched the movie all the way through the end credits, as we always do, and it was interesting to note that through most of the credits the music was the jazzy, upbeat style of the first half of the movie; but the very last part of the score at the end returned to the doleful piano theme and ended on that. I wonder if it was an intentional statement by the filmmakers that although there are happy and upbeat times in life, the underlying theme (or perhaps the final theme) is melancholy. It certainly did seem that way for the characters in the film.

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06.08.2009

LeftRightLeftRightLeft, Coldplay

Posted by AJ Harbison at 4:32 pm

It took me a while, but I finally downloaded Coldplay‘s new live album a few weeks ago. It’s called LeftRightLeftRightLeft, and can be downloaded for free here (they’re also giving away free copies at their shows; according to the band, it’s a “recession-busting” thank-you to their fans).

It’s awesome, of course, since it’s Coldplay (and my love for the band is well-documented). But the dynamic of a live album is an interesting one. Of course it’s fun to hear the crowd in the background, cheering and singing along; to hear Chris Martin’s occasional comments; to hear the live version of “Death Will Never Conquer,” featuring “the singing abilities of Mr. William Champion” (their drummer). But for the most part, the rest of the songs appear very much like their counterparts on the studio albums (mainly Viva La Vida and Prospekt’s March, plus “The Hardest Part” from X&Y and “Clocks” from A Rush Of Blood To The Head). And that makes me wonder how interesting most people find the live versions. Take for example “Viva La Vida.” Apart from beginning with the chorus’ background vocals, the song is practically identical to the studio version, complete with the recorded string tracks, except for the fact that the vocals are a little less polished. I realize that this was a huge single, the title track from their last main record, their current signature song, etc., and that people would probably revolt in outrage if it was played a different way. But I, for one, would be interested to hear how the band might arrange it if they didn’t have the string tracks. Could the electric guitar take over the rhythmic harmony parts, with a keyboard doing some of the midrange riffs during the verses? Do I really want to get an album to hear a live track that could almost be a studio track with added crowd noise? (I know it’s a free download, but I’m talking about the principle here…)

Most of the tracks fit this bill, including “Glass Of Water,” “42,” and “Clocks”–the main difference is slight differences or added flourishes in the vocals–and the tracks that are different are the ones that stand out. “Strawberry Swing,” perhaps the song I underestimated the most on Viva La Vida, is basically the same instrumentally, but Martin changes some of the lyrics slightly (and they make more of an emotional impact in their changed form). It was exciting, listening through LeftRightLeftRightLeft for the first time, to hear the different lyrics–”that wasn’t how it was on the last record!” “The Hardest Part” is also interesting–Martin performs it solo on piano, so although the melody and lyrics are basically the same, it has a different accompaniment (and is also made into a medley with the instrumental track “Postcards From Far Away”).

Of course, these thoughts haven’t kept me from listening to the album nonstop for a week or two. But it’s interesting to me that a band as musically genius as Coldplay would not only play songs live the same way they appear on the album, but also release a live record of songs as they appear on the album. What are your thoughts?

P.S. For some reason, over the past few days TLB has been absolutely deluged with spam (in the space of two or three days I’ve gotten as many spam comments as I’ve gotten legitimate comments over the entire history of the blog). In the process of vehemently deleting the spam comments, I also deleted a few legitimate comments, back to April 20th–including the first comment on the redesigned site, which was from Idhrendur. So, even though the comment itself no longer exists, I can still commemorate his great achievement here in this post. I’ve installed the Akismet plugin, which has eliminated all the spam thus far, so hopefully this won’t be a problem again. And if I deleted your comment–you should just leave another one!

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05.26.2009

One year ago, on this date and at this time, TLB was born! So raise a glass of your favorite wine or champagne and toast to your favorite listening blog!

As you can see, I finished the redesign just in time. All your favorite features are still here–subscriptions via RSS and email, the Amazon widget (although it looks a little funny right now), post tag categories–but it’s packaged in a brand-new look (and the Twitter widget is much fancier now). I’m loving the new digs at WordPress as well. I’ll be making some tweaks here and there, but for the most part, this is how TLB will look from now on. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

And now, for the big announcement I promised two and a half weeks ago! Drum roll please….

I’m going to be recording a new pop music album!

That’s right folks, for the first time since the release of Following A Star in 2005, I will be writing and recording a new CD. I have a collection of new songs, and a few old songs I want to rerecord, that have been sitting around for a long time; and now that I have new (and much better) recording technology and a renewed passion, I’m gonna do it. I’ll be writing some new songs for it as well, and my goal is to release it by the end of this year.

And that’s not all! You, my loyal readers and fans, can play a part in the making of this album. And here’s how: The CD will be entitled Songs From My Shelf, so-called because every song on the CD will contain at least one literary allusion–to a novel, a poem, etc. And as I mentioned above, it’s going to have at least a few rerecordings of old songs on it. So here’s how you can participate: Vote for your favorite previously-recorded song from the list below. The song or two with the most votes will get a brand-new recording and will make it onto the album!

And even that’s not all! The first five people who can correctly identify at least one literary allusion in each of the songs below will receive a free copy of Songs From My Shelf along with an exclusive bonus song.

So let’s recap:

  1. I’m making a new album!
  2. You can participate by voting for your favorite song to get a new recording and a place on the new album!
  3. If you correctly identify at least one literary allusion in each of the songs below, you’ll get a free copy of the CD with a bonus song!

If you need a refresher on the music or lyrics for the songs, click on the title to be taken to the song’s page on my website. Then click the link after the list to be taken to the voting page!

“All I Need”

“The Aisle”

“Beren’s Song”

“Too Far”

“Watchin’ From A Distance”

And now that you’ve refreshed your memory, click to vote here!

Thanks for your interest and support! I’m really excited about making this new record, and I can’t wait for you to hear it. Stay tuned to your favorite listening blog–further news will be forthcoming!

EDIT (5/27): All the old Blogger posts have now been imported, complete with their labels/tags/categories! Some of the links may not work anymore (since the URL path for links to other posts is different now), and it looks like embedded videos show up simply as links; but all the content is there now. Rock on!

EDIT (later on 5/27): I’ve reconfigured the RSS feed link in the sidebar. If you’ve previously subscribed to the RSS feed, you might need to subscribe again since the address has changed, and the past TLB RSS feed no longer works. Sorry for any inconvenience!

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05.09.2009

Red Balloon, Sandra McCracken

Posted by AJ Harbison at 9:11 pm

This past week and a half or so, I’ve been listening again to an album by Sandra McCracken, Derek Webb’s wife. Her latest, entitled Red Balloon, is my favorite of her seven albums, and the best in my opinion (which I recently relayed to her, although sadly I didn’t get a response).

In order to make some of the comments I’d like to make about this CD, I have to go back a bit and mention a few things about her last few albums. (If you’d like to follow along you can see her discography here.) She’s always had a folk/acoustic/singer-songwriter sound, with some country flavoring, and apart from her third release (Best Laid Plans) her music has always fallen on the underproduced side, opting for real-life simplicity and grit instead of slick production. However, following Derek Webb who used the technique beginning with his album Mockingbird in 2005, on her next few albums (The Builder and the Architect and Gravity | Love, as well as Ampersand EP with Webb) she adopted what I tend to think of as a “tired” sound. Most of the instruments and vocals on those albums were recorded in her home as opposed to a studio, and so have a very unproduced, almost grainy sound to them. (This sound, though, is intentional, it’s not due to a lack of quality recording or production.) The songs were generally slow or mid tempo, without too much energy or quick movement. The main aspect of the “tired” sound, though, was a technique of recording the main vocal track twice, that is, singing and recording it once, and then singing and recording it a second time without changing the first one. The slight differences in intonation, different timings for final consonants (e.g. the “t” sound at the end of a word being heard twice, one a little after the other), and lack of polishing on the vocal production leads to a sound that is very original (in my experience). It’s almost like an in-tune, good-song version of the Juno sound”, in a way. But it’s still not a sound that I particularly enjoy, or at least it’s not one that I could listen to all the time.

Which is why I love Red Balloon, which was released last September and produced by McCracken, Webb, and often-collaborator Cason Cooley (whom I recently wrote about on TLB). It keeps the best aspects of the “tired” sound–the house-recorded feel, the cool drum sounds, some effective use of the vocal doubling–without the tiresome aspects, like the lack of variation in tempo, the lack of energy and too much use of the doubling. Guitar and piano (both of which Sandra plays) freely trade primary importance, and the drums and percussion sound really good and have some really cool grooves (listen, for example, to the sweet percussion on the sixth track, “On The Outside,” and the drums on “Halfway,” track seven).

I also enjoy the lyrics quite a bit. Red Balloon was her first solo studio album released after the birth of her first child, and most of the record is about the emotions and experiences that that brought with it. (I especially love the opening lyrics to the second song, “Storehouse”: “The first uninterrupted sleep since July / The first waves of wisdom swing like a wrecking ball / A child takes the throne / Displacing us all / In good time, just in time…”). McCracken is not as brilliant a lyricist as Webb, but she’s got skills and the lyrics on this album are particularly emotional and evocative.

I only have two problems with this album. The first is that her promotional email touted it as including “ten previously unreleased songs.” Technically that’s true, but the last song, “The High Countries,” was previously released by Caedmon’s Call on their album Back Home, and so I didn’t get the ten brand-new songs that I was hoping for. Even though it’s a different recording, calling it a “previously unreleased song” is a bit of a stretch. And that’s really the only song I’m not a big fan of on Red Balloon–I think the Caedmon’s version is better. The other problem I had was that it came “in a special two-disk package.” The entire album consists of ten songs, of normal song length (between three and five minutes); but it arrived as two CDs, labeled “Side A” and “Side B,” each containing five songs. Kind of a cool idea in theory, and listening to the songs there’s definitely a coherent feel to each of the halves by themselves; but practically, that’s just annoying. The first thing I did when I got the album was to burn all the songs onto a single CD.

But those are my only beefs. This is a great album and I’ve listened to it a lot without growing tired of it. The songwriting is great (especially when you know the back story about her son being born), the sound is original, and it’s inspiring to those of us who are aspiring independent songwriters ourselves.

You can find Red Balloon on iTunes and Amazon, as well as at the Sandra McCracken Official Online Shop. If you’d like a test drive first, you can hear four tracks from the album (“Guardian,” “Lock and Key,” “On the Outside” and “Big Blue Sky”) on Sandra McCracken’s Myspace page. You can see video of Sandra and Derek performing “Halfway” and “Lose You” at a recent house show by clicking on the links; and on that same page you can read Sandra’s account of the recording of the album.

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04.27.2009

Xylopholks

Posted by AJ Harbison at 5:23 pm

Thanks to Seán Dunnahoe for the tipoff to this…. Nothing too profound here, but it’s a lot of fun. Cookie Monster on xylophone and a pink gorilla on standup bass, plus a chicken on banjo in the second video, playing “novelty ragtime music from the 1920s” (http://www.myspace.com/xylopholks).

Seán’s wife’s comment: “Cookie Monster should definitely eat his mallets at the end of every set. Expensive, yet effective.”

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04.18.2009

Watchmen Soundtrack, Tyler Bates

Posted by AJ Harbison at 9:57 pm

As you may have seen on my Twitter page (or the sidebar on the right), I went to see the movie Watchmen on Thursday night. It’s the only film adaptation of what is generally accepted to be the greatest graphic novel/comic book of all time, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ work of the same name. It was considered “unfilmable” for over twenty years, but director Zack Snyder (of 300 fame) did a terrific job and made a movie worthy of the book. I’ve heard that he used the graphic novel basically as a storyboard for the movie, and many scenes are recreated almost shot-for-shot; overall it’s probably the most faithful book-to-movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. The performances were all great, especially Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach and Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II. One of my few reservations was that the movie didn’t give the Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias character enough credit–he was too much of a pretty boy and not enough emphasis was given to his intelligence–but overall I vastly enjoyed it. (IMDB’s trivia page on the movie is rather extensive, and is an interesting source of information on the long process of making the movie as well as a compendium of many of the subtle references made to the book in the movie. Well worth checking out, if you’re interested.)

I really enjoyed the music, as well. Most of the soundtrack consisted of songs from the time in which the movie takes place–”The Times They Are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan, “All Along The Watchtower” performed by Jimi Hendrix, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “The Sound Of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, etc. Some of the songs play with the action happening on screen; for example, “The Times They are A-Changin’” plays over a historical montage setting the context of the movie and “The Sound Of Silence” plays over the graveyard scene of The Comedian’s funeral. Other songs play against the action, for example when “Unforgettable” performed by Nat King Cole plays over the intense violence of The Comedian’s murder at the beginning. Both uses are very effective in their own way, and I was impressed at how well all of the songs (which already exist in a set form, and were chosen because of their fame in the era) were put to use in the film. It’s also worth noting that many of the songs were referenced in the original graphic novel, several being the basis of issue titles; another example of Snyder paying homage to the source material in as many ways as possible.

The movie also uses several “classical” cues like Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” for one of the Vietnam War scenes (the piece is referenced in the book, though not in that context). During the scene of Dr. Manhattan’s origin story, which takes place on Mars, the music played is Philip Glass’ “Prophecies,” from the movie Koyaanisqatsi; the eerie, otherworldly quality of Glass’ minimalism is a perfect complement to the isolation and (literally) otherworldliness of the scene.

I enjoyed the actual score by Tyler Bates too (many if not all of the choices of pop songs would have been made by the music supervisor). It was unintrusive, and mostly consisted of background atmosphere-type cues. The one moment that stood out, however, was the scene where Laurie and Daniel (aka Silk Spectre II and Nite Owl II) decide to put their costumes on and go out adventuring, like they did in the old days. The music grew to a stirring, inspirational feel as the characters gained confidence and sensed old excitements coming back. The first thing that stood out was the music’s subtle homage paid to the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight scores, by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, in its rhythmic string pattern (I wrote about the Dark Knight score back in August). But scarcely before I began smiling at recognizing the reference, the score paid a much less subtle homage to Don Davis’ score for The Matrix, particularly part of the last cue “Anything Is Possible” which occurs when Neo comes back from the dead and realizes all of his powers inside the Matrix. It was practically Bates’ paraphrase of the Matrix cue. Both of the score references were to “superheroes,” of a sort, and indicated strong decisions to take up superhero-like powers–which, of course, was exactly what was happening in that scene in Watchmen. It was rather brilliant.

Watchmen was a great movie with a great soundtrack. The caveat is that there’s a lot of blood’n'guts and a few sex scenes, but I would recommend the movie highly to anyone who enjoyed the graphic novel. I rarely purchase film score albums, and even more rarely do I purchase soundtrack albums; but I’m considering both from this film. Well done, Zack Snyder and Tyler Bates.

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