by Jon Brion
I know that the movie is one of those "love it or hate it" films that people argue about. I absolutely, unquestionably love the movie, and I knew I had to get the score as I watched it for the first time in a darkened theater. It's almost like listening to a musical journey, especially for the longer cues (two tracks are over ten minutes long, the total running time is 48 minutes). Most of the tracks are very string-heavy (which I always like) with some of the strings taking the melodies up along with woodwinds, and others keeping the gentle, constant rhythm reminiscent of Ravel's Bolero. (I'm sorry to bring up that comparison, but I guess I have to because it's perfectly valid in a good way.) In the film, the music has the task of stringing along with the camera as it glides from one disparate storyline to another, and it just happens to glide as smooth as the camera. The music is repetitious, but like Wojciech Kilar repetitious, not Philip Glass repetitious (in that it's more gentle, I guess, than Glass' music often is). I'm finding it difficult to articulate what it is about this music that I like, so I'll just gush now. I love this score, it's easily the best of the year for me. I can listen to it over and over, and I do. The only thing I don't like is the unnecessary and caustic interruption of the "What Do Kids Know?" theme blaring loudly in the middle of the fairly quiet disc. It's a well-written theme song, but I don't need it on the disc. It comes right after the very quiet, very sad, beautiful, wistful string piece "Jimmy's Breakdown" and can be quite a shocker with its blaring brass! As much as I love the longer tracks like "Showtime" and "Stanley/Frank/Linda's Breakdown" I have to say that my favorite is "So Now Then" which plays near the end of the movie. The score does a great job of bringing back the film to my mind, so I do suppose it helps to be an admirer of the movie before listening - but if you're not, or you haven't seen it, I still urge you to get this album somehow. If what I've tried to describe sounds like your cup of tea, don't hesitate for a moment. Very highly recommended.
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