Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Jul 12, 2013 - 11:57 PM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

About the fact of today's film music. Every decade someone has to complain about something. It is true in life to say there is no better way to lower one's concern about one complaining about a so called topical problem then to look back in history. What happens after you do look back awhile you learn there is very little difference over the years under the sun.

That's not entirely true. The present Zimmerization of film music has no historic precedent, not even the wave of jazz-infused scores in the mid-1960s or the profusion of "song scores" in the wake of The Graduate. Due to the fact that Hollywood is now relying on fewer and fewer (and more and more expensive) releases, targeted at 14-25 year-olds, a standardization of film music away from more complex, symphonic scores and towards schematic, pop/rock-originated material for the youth is gaining more and more ground. Even composers associated with the former, like Patrick Doyle or James Newton Howard, now have to imitate the latter in order to please the production and marketing departments, thus being forced to dumb down their art. Composers from around the globe have to jump on that particular band wagon, especially for higher-profile productions. This extends to Hong Kong, Thailand, India. Indirectly, a Gleichschaltung of film music is taking place as we speak.

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 12:00 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)

Conspiracy... of course, this Hans Zimmer is German!

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 12:03 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

That's not what I was saying. What I'm saying is that producers/investors are relying more and more on the same formula for success, and as a far as film music is concerned, this "success" is embodied by Zimmer and the style of film music he stands for.

More significantly, we cannot expect the pendulum to swing back in the opposite direction as it did with Williams's Star Wars in 1977. Since the world's population is ageing quickly, the present glorification of youth will intensify over the years, thus create the necessity to cater more and more to the needs and likes of the immature. There will be "pockets" of film production to entertain the elderly, but those will be low-profile and low-budget, but the power lies with the ones that provide, which will be the young providing for a growing number of very old people. Even the "suits" themselves will no longer be middle-aged, but more like 30-ish. Hence, commercial films will get more and more juvenile in content. That increasingly refined technique will be needed to create that illusion of immaturity is one of the great ironies of today's (and tomorrow's) cinema.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 1:07 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I think you're exaggerating a bit, OneGoodMusic. Sure, Zimmer is influential, but if you want other sounds and approaches, there's plenty on offer -- rock/pop influences, classical symphonic, small ensembles, big ensembles, jazz, synth, minimalism, 'world music', avantgarde and so on and so forth. Both within Hollywood and especially outside. IMO, there's more versatility now than in the history of film.

But to be honest, I'm not really in the mood for another 'oh, everything used to be so much better and now it's all crap!' debate. For me, that became a dead horse many, many years ago -- alongside topics such as 'Horner copies from himself and others', 'Elfman doesn't compose his own music', 'Who is better: Williams or Goldsmith?', 'Hans Zimmer sucks!' and so on. I'm far more interested in David's premise for the thread -- a positive outlook on what attracts you to film music, in particular, on a personal level.

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 1:24 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)


As for 5 scores I keep coming back to, is that another way of asking what my 5 favourite scores are? Are you talking about NEW scores or ALLTIME favourites? Scores-in-the-films or as listening experiences on album?


I over thought this as well and just went with his description of 5 scores that pop in immediately and I just had on my mind, regardless of any specifications. So go for it Thor! big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 1:25 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Sorry, I need specifications for my mind to work. smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 2:50 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)


More significantly, we cannot expect the pendulum to swing back in the opposite direction as it did with Williams's Star Wars in 1977. Since the world's population is ageing quickly, the present glorification of youth will intensify over the years, thus create the necessity to cater more and more to the needs and likes of the immature. There will be "pockets" of film production to entertain the elderly, but those will be low-profile and low-budget, but the power lies with the ones that provide, which will be the young providing for a growing number of very old people. Even the "suits" themselves will no longer be middle-aged, but more like 30-ish. Hence, commercial films will get more and more juvenile in content. That increasingly refined technique will be needed to create that illusion of immaturity is one of the great ironies of today's (and tomorrow's) cinema.


I think your perspective on this is not only one-sided, it is wrong.

Why can´t we expect a change like Williams brought it on? At that time, nobody expected it either.

And the world´s population is not "ageing quickly", it´s just that with more life expectancy people grow older than before. But that exactly is the best thing that could happen to the entertainment industry. They will target this audience much more than ever.

And make no mistake: the "suits" starting to make an impact have been in their 30´s all the time. Which does not mean that the older "suits" will just leave their positions to make room for even younger ones. In fact, they will be able to work for much longer with better life expectancy.

Of course, there has been a shift in the recent decades to produce more youth-oriented fare. However, no film that is only targeted at teenagers has ever been that kind of hit all studios want and need. Instead, they need the four-quadrant film - only those who reach all parts of the audience become mega-hits.

Family entertainment, of course, is part of this equation. These films can always hit the bullseye because the parents go along, sometimes the grandparents, too - and repeat business with all ancillary possibilities is guaranteed as well.

Concerning the big mega-budgeted wanna-be blockbusters that target teenagers and young adults, you can see particular during this summer how risky that business has become. Spielberg and Lucas recently talked about the danger of this trend, and certainly the "suits" are becoming worried that so many of their sure bets are only costing too much, unable to recoup their investments.

While they will always try to get the "sure thing" out there and throw all the money into it, studios will have to become more cost-effective to still please their shareholders. The solution can only be: films that are cheaper to produce and market, with a clear profit in sight. Which means: better targeted fare. And you can bet on it: the audience over 40, 50, 60, 70 will be the next big target, especially with changing distribution ways. Older audiences don´t make it to the theater so often, due to time constraints, work and illness. But if they can watch a new release at home they will do so.

What does this mean for film scores? Exactly the same. To target a special audience the studios will try to give them what they want to pay for. The older audiences who still love their Golden Age/Silver Age music will get that kind of score for their films. And who knows, maybe some producer/director will go for that flair, too, when they try to give the younger audiences something different.

Because, in the end, everything in the entertainment is cyclical. The current MV sound, IMO, already has reached its zenith of popularity. It´s not the cool new thing anymore, and at some time the customer will get bored and want something different.

This does not mean that people will just switch back to the Silver Age. But a new mix of old and new is probably in the cards. Just as Williams did not just copy Korngold but gave it his own spin.

And don´t we STILL like soundtracks because they always develop? Just offering sameness would be boring for everyone.

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 3:02 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

And the world´s population is not "ageing quickly", it´s just that with more life expectancy people grow older than before. But that exactly is the best thing that could happen to the entertainment industry. They will target this audience much more than ever.

That would be true if the majority of those elderly were affluent, but we can't expect them to be. As, thanks to gloablism and neo-liberalism, the gap between the poor and the wealthy is steadily and rapidly increasing, with the middle class vanishing, PLUS the fact that an increasing number of those elderly will be suffering from dementia/alzheimers in their old age (thus not being able to even frequent media, except maybe the occasional re-run of Teletubbies), even if the total of said groups increases exponentially, they won't matter in terms of the cinema-going public. It'll be a combination of Logan's Run (minus the killing, hopefully, of post-25 year-olds) and Brave New World (with the mindless entertainment that keeps the masses quiet). Thus, this group won't have any influence on film music.

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 3:58 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)

You can´t be serious - do you really think that from a certain age on everyone is broke and dementia-stricken?

In fact, it´s the "best-agers" who have more money to spend than young people who find it increasingly difficult to get a job.

Old is the new young, my friend. At least in the eyes of the marketing department of the studios. It already is happening, as I can clearly confirm.

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 4:03 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

You can´t be serious - do you really think that from a certain age on everyone is broke and dementia-stricken?

Studies indicate that there will be a hugely increasing number of elderly poor, plus (of necessity) an exponentially increasing number of dementia-stricken ones. Of course unless someone will develop a "cure" for dementia or Alzheimers. One can only hope.

 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 4:03 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

You can´t be serious - do you really think that from a certain age on everyone is broke and dementia-stricken?

Studies indicate that there will be a hugely increasing number of elderly poor, plus (of necessity) an exponentially increasing number of dementia-stricken ones. Of course unless someone will develop a "cure" for dementia or Alzheimers. One can only hope.

But how do you expect one employed person to be able to pay for himself, his own family, and two or three pensioners, statistically speaking. It's not going to work out.

The pure depressing fact is that, even today, there's an increasing number of people who can't even afford a cinema ticket (much less a theatre, concert or musical one). Tell me that that's not going to have an influence on the attendance of movies, and, as a consequence, on the kind of music being composed for those movies.

Mind you, I wish it were otherwise, but I just don't see it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 5:58 AM   
 By:   samlowry   (Member)

Getting back to the subject...

I still love soundtracks, however I've been experiencing "listener's fatigue" as of late.

Two reasons, one is that my collection has simply grown to unsustainable levels (over 6000 albums). Too many cd's, which dilutes in no small way the "fun" of enjoying an album. I still do of course when a highly anticipated score comes out, but in the back of my mind, there is this constant frustration that many other albums I have, I'll either never get to listen to them again, or barely, with only the few that will get the "deluxe" treatment and be given the multiple listening treatment, the way it used to be for all my cd's back 20 years ago.

The other reason is even though film music is as varied a genre as it gets... after a while it tends to induce the same emotional response and I've found that I am craving different categories of music now in order to balance it out. I actually re-connected with some classic Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel albums recently and they just made me fell awesome!

But my primary love has been and always will be film music, not because they originate from motion pictures, but because they serve as "score" to my own movie, which is my life.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   MikeyKW   (Member)

I was fortunate to have discovered film music with STAR WARS (at age 8!), a time when the quality of popular music was (to my ears) abysmal in comparison. Even before seeing the film, I was completely caught up the music. I began my LP collection right then and would always ask for soundtracks for my birthday and easter (instead of chocolates!) So much great music came out of that time and the films themselves had a magic about them rarely seen today: Star Wars, Empire, Superman, Raiders, Superman 2, Close Encounters, E.T., Indy 2, The Black Hole (film, not so much), Poltergeist (the music at least...too young to see that in 1982), Jedi...

It's great to reconnect with that time through the music and try to find that rare new release that you can connect with. I still love John Williams' work, and re-discover his older world through re-releases and expansions. Of the "newer" composers, I'm quite fond of Michael Giacchino and Thomas Newman. Hans Zimmer has done some interesting work, but he seems to churn out so much of it that the quality suffers.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 4:26 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO SAMLOWRY- is that 6000 soundtracks or all types of music?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 1:46 PM   
 By:   samlowry   (Member)

TO SAMLOWRY- is that 6000 soundtracks or all types of music?

It's 90% film music, so about 5400 titles. I started attributing less listening time to cd's once I got passed the 3000 mark and by 4000 I stopped listening to entire albums on certain titles, just sampling them. And today, I admit having a certain amount of scores I've never listened to altogether...

I got caught up in the collector's mindset and now I'm paying the price for it. On a more positive note, I more than did my share in supporting our specialty soundtrack labels (they're counting on people like me), so it's all good in the end smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 1:55 PM   
 By:   Kim Tong   (Member)

Because there is nothing better out there to listen to other than score soundtracks. 98% of my collection is score soundtracks, the other 2% is classical. Use to have some rock/pop but those left years ago. I do have some musicals, but ones that include some of the score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO KIM TONG- I agree with you for the most part. I devoted years ago and still do to a lot of non film music so my answer is one of pure honesty why I admire film music. The melodies when they are there, the excitement when it's there in mood music etc. The thing that always struck me funny is unlike a avid book reader or film fan or art fanatic. Most people even if they like music a lot listen to such a small quantity. This is because throughout most of the 20th century between the HIT PARADE and TOP 40, THE MASSES were semi coerce into listening to limited amount of songs over and over again. In many ways it has only been in recent years we now have a great ability to hear what we want and as much as we want . COMPUTER, INTERNET.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 4:25 PM   
 By:   ChristianKühn   (Member)

Let's see if I can be coherent enough to actually come up with a sensible list! big grin

La Ligne Droite - Patrick Doyle

I don't really know what it is that makes this score the small miracle it is, as the thematic content is rather straightforward and the orchestral (obviously and intentionally) very limited. Maybe it's the endless rhythmic drive, maybe it's the melancholy prevading the entire score, maybe it's the sheer emotion Doyle manages to get out of his musicians and onto me. This score is at the very top of Doyle's achievement for me, and not once does it get boring. The second track, "Stadium Memories" is, as odd as it may sound, a musical summary of my personality: http://youtu.be/6Bbt8ZkUNJc (music under the first part of the video).

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit - Howard Shore

Ironically, there shouldn't be all that much explanation needed for these choices, but there is... Fellowship of the Ring, from the first time I heard it on Dec. 21, 2001, is my favourite score ever and my favourite part of the trilogy (same goes for the book and movie). It was exactly what I had wanted to hear for Middle-Earth and my mind was blown ca. two dozen times during the movie.

It's been said in a review of the score that Shore's music has a natural sombreness/melancholy built into it and once again, this seems to appeal to me. Unlike the two other scores, Fellowship also had going for it that it was the first entry and a completely new sound for me. I had heard the Williams/Horner/Elfman take on this kind of music before and I still think that what Shore brought into play was distinctly fresh. This music is a force of nature in my books and I can listen to it endlessly.

Getting back to Middle-Earth with The Hobbit was a grand experience, however "maltreated" the music was in the movie. Once again, Shore sounds like nobody else and there are parts in this score that are even more forceful than stuff in LotR. (Favourite bit: http://youtu.be/cHaJ77a0AJI?t=2m30s That phat brass sound is scoregasmic...) And the re-scored finale, using the Reclamation of Nature theme in its as-of-now most grandiose setting had me floating under the ceiling as well.

Star Trek - The Motion Picture - Jerry Goldsmith

This one came before The Lion King (which made me a "proper" film music enthusiast)...and before I had a CD player. So I use a tape recorder to record the music from the TV. Not much to point out here that isn't well-known or obvious, but to this impressionable young lad, Goldsmith's masterful music (whether it's the Klingon Battle, The Enterprise or The Cloud) told a story that was epic and spell-binding (unlike the movie...). To my ears, Goldsmith's never written anything better. A classic of classics.

Joe Hisaishi at the Budokan - 25th Anniversary Studio Ghibli Concert

Watch this, and you'll know what I mean:

(Make sure to watch it in HD!)

And for some reason, I've become quite enamoured of trailer music over the past couple of years, especially from Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine. Sue me, but there's some outstanding music to be heard there! big grin

That's all I can come up with right now in terms of specific examples.

I listen to film music with an emphasis on the music. A film score can be as great as it wants in the film (which I will readily acknowledge), but if it's not a good listen apart from the film, chances are that I won't revisit it very often. Also, thematic scores will always be given priority over ambient scores. Use of choir is a plus. And I value originality, whether it's thematic, harmonic or in orchestral colour. James Horner and Hans Zimmer, to relate this to the recent article by James Levine, can be as masterful dramatists as possible, if I have heard it all before, they'll be losing brownie points in my books.

But more power to those of you who think differently than me on that last point.

Ta & tata, Christian

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2013 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   barryfan   (Member)

My collection has simply grown to unsustainable levels (over 6000 albums). Too many cd's, which dilutes in no small way the "fun" of enjoying an album. I still do of course when a highly anticipated score comes out, but in the back of my mind, there is this constant frustration that many other albums I have, I'll either never get to listen to them again, or barely, with only the few that will get the "deluxe" treatment and be given the multiple listening treatment, the way it used to be for all my cd's back 20 years ago.



I feel exactly the same way and I "only" have 700 or so soundtracks. The way I do it is that I pick one CD a day and listen to it repeatedly. If it is really terrific and I want to listen to it beyond that, I play it in my car. Its very OCD of me, but it works.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.