Film Score Friday: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1’ by Various Artists

This week’s Film Score Friday is going to stretch the concept a bit. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn actually has an original soundtrack, not a full score release as of yet, but I did want to branch out a little bit. Plus there is a single track of original score on the album, hooray for loop holes!

The album is a collection of pop songs that either appeared in the film or were inspired by it. Soundtracks like this are a very interesting proposition, it is very possible to arrange a fantastic set of songs that both evoke the film and make for a great listening experience. In fact my first introduction to the world of film scores was through soundtracks like this one.

Now I am far from Twilight’s target audience, but I have seen all the films so I know what to expect going into this album. These are going to be a collection of songs that are harmless, sappy and most of them will probably sound the same, right?

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to me writing this, I actually started to really like some of these songs. Mayhaps I have grown soft in my young age, but some of these songs are actually damn catchy. Also, and much more importantly, the songs actually work really well in the context of the film.

I am not saying these are the best songs in the world, many of them probably would never get noticed if they were not on this soundtrack. But, they work together in the context of the movie and a soundtrack album made to represent said movie.

So of course with an album of this nature one of the songs is going to be groomed for constant radio play, and that song is ‘It Will Rain’ by Bruno Mars. I am not afraid to admit that it is a very beautiful song, maybe a bit on the nose with the lyrics, but a solid song none the less. I have a feeling it will get lots of love on the radio in the coming weeks and months.

I also wanted to spend a moment talking about the actual score portion of the album. Returning from the first film to score the final two parter is Carter Burwell, who is only one of the excellent composers who have taken a crack at the Twilight films, but the first to revisit it. I really liked the minimalistic nature of his score for the original Twilight movie, but as the movies got allegedly more epic and intense the various scores didn’t really up their game.

This time however, the subject matter of Part 1 lends it self very nicely to a softer, more minimalist approach. I found myself really enjoying the light touch of the score in the film, and the snippet that is on this album is a really good encapsulation of what I liked about the score.

Three Favorite Tracks:

Love Will Take You by Angus & Julia Stone – Yeah sure this song has that indy, hipster sounding simplicity, but I like it. I am a fan of the male and female harmonization in this song, it gives the tune a sweetness that is very pleasant to the ears. It also has some pretty prominent horns and strings, which is always nice to hear in pop songs. It gives this song a unique tone, it is up beat and happy, but at the same time there is something tender and soft about it too. It all makes for a very pleasant little song.

Sister Rosetta (2011 Version) by Noisettes – Easily my favorite song on the album. This song is fantastic, it is catchy, fun, and very smart. I was still somewhat on the fence with my opinion on the album as a whole before I listened to this track. Once this song started though, I was sold. It is like a quick burst of pure, unfiltered fun. A bit of hyperbole, but when a song like this sits amongst so many sweet little whisper singing love songs you really feel the exuberance. I am not sure that any of these songs will make it to a more common listening rotation for me, but this one has the best chance.

Love Death Birth by Carter Burwell – The Twilight movies have had an incredible pedigree of film composer. After Burwell’s first score the franchise boasted music from Alexandre Desplat and Howard Shore, both of whom are top tier composers who work on some of the biggest movies ever. Now that I have listened to Burwell’s second score of the series I am convinced he writes the best music for the series. There is a underlying menace in his music that is never played evil, but it exists to subtly remind viewers we are watching monsters, no matter how good their hair and abs look. This track represents the best of Burwell’s Twilight music, and I hope that it’s incusion on this soon to be very popular album will drive new young fans to the world of film scores.

Least Favorite Track:

Requiem On Water by Imperial Mammoth – Ugh, I don’t hate this song, but I can only take so much. One of my favorite songs on the album was a sweet little hipster-esque song sung by a guy and a girl. Well this song is bascially the same thing, and it isn’t the only other time a song that sounds exactly like this pops up on the album. Not enough variety, and my patience doesn’t extend far for these types of songs when they sound so redundantly similar. I am willing to bet the same song could have just appeared three or four times on the album and produced a very similar effect.

In the end, I haven’t said to much negative about this album, but I don’t want to give off the wrong idea. This album is not phenominal or even great, it is a solid collection of songs that fit contextually with the movie and within itself as an album. I am on the low end of liking it, but I do like it. I also think the album is mostly critic proof because it was made for a very specific audience, and I am not one of them. I do appreciate that there is some actual good music on the soundtrack, and in the end that is

 

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