Wow, I’ve really been bad at keeping up with these weekly posts, haven’t I? What can I say, summer is a busy time, and dashing off a quick five minute post isn’t really my style. In a continuation of departure from tradition, this week’s post is going to be themed, since I haven’t really gotten into any new songs in the past little while. This week’s theme: not quite individual songs, but soundtracks and scores!
1 – The Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
Lord of the Rings is probably engraved into my heart at this point. Above all other stories or fandoms or what have you, Lord of the Rings along with Tolkien’s other works on Middle-Earth is my absolute favourite. I was first introduced to it through the Peter Jackson trilogy, which I still love and have watched so many times I can recite half the thing from memory. Even though I have some issues with how certain aspects of the films were handled, like any fan, one thing I’ve never had cause to complain about is the soundtrack, which is absolutely beautiful and perfectly accompanies, encompasses, and defines the story. It’s my go-to study music, my casual listening playlist, my mental symphony. Bravo to Mr. Howard Shore (a Canadian too!) for his amazing compositions that truly made the movies great.
2 – The Prince of Egypt – Stephen Schwartz and Hans Zimmer
One of the very first non-Disney musical films I fell in love with was The Prince of Egypt, and a large reason for that was the amazing songs. The vocals, the composition, the lyrics, all of them come together to tell the story perfectly. Moments of mighty grandeur, softer moments of faith and hope, so many of the great scenes in this movie are possible because of the wonderful songs and score.
3 – The Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart
In my opinion, for grandeur and skill, no musical surpasses the Phantom. It’s the first musical I really fell in love with, and though the modified story for the stage is not the strongest I’ve seen, the music is perfectly sublime. The technical skill alone needed to perform the songs is astounding, and the music itself just catches you up and takes you to a whole other time and place.
4 – Beauty and the Beast (1991) – Howard Ashman and Alan Menkin
The original, so of course it comes before the new live-action. One of Disney’s biggest strengths in its movies has always been its songs, and in my personal opinion, Beauty and the Beast has the most iconic and timeless repertoire of the entire Disney collection (time will tell if Moana joins it there, but forecast is looking good). Not just one or two songs, but every song is memorable, well-written, and well-performed. My favourite Disney movie ever, and a huge reason for that is its music.
5 – Shrek – Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, et al
Ah Shrek, the movie that defined a generation. I saw a tumblr post floating around once that said you know a song is good if it makes it onto Shrek, which has a large kernel of truth in it. The ‘et al’ is for the original songwriters of the many pop songs that were incorporated into the movie and soundtrack, which really gave the film a relatable, familiar feel. Since the songs are already known to the audience, they provide an emotional and situational context for what’s happening on screen, without having to explain anything in the dialogue. So Shrek is on the list for twofold reasons – firstly its great and iconic playlist, and secondly its masterful selection and of songs.
Phew, I’ve finally churned one of these out! Seriously though, soundtracks and scores are great. They’re my favourite genre(?) of music, I love all those grand orchestral themes and memorable lyrics. As always, I highly recommend each soundtrack, which are probably available at your local library or on YouTube. That should probably tide you over until the next post, hopefully next week! See you then 🙂