Edward Scissorhands (1990), Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman had already proven himself to be a genius in past Tim Burton collaborations (Beetlejuice, Batman) but his beautiful
score for Edward Scissorhands made everyone (and by everyone I mean me) bow in respect. The film, as we all know, is a modern
fairy tale and even the soundtrack is presented that way. The album is called “The Story of Edward Scissorhands”
and is divided in 2 parts. Part One: Edward Meets the World is basically the first half of the film including the theme of
the superb opening Titles. Some great pieces of music include the enchanting Storytime, the strong Cookie Factory and of course
the beautiful Ice Dance. In Part Two, we have pretty much the most dramatic and bittersweet parts of the story. In this part
there’s even a Tom Jones song, With These Hands, for the “laydees” I guess…Overall, this is a beautiful
and charming film soundtrack: Danny Elfman at his most poetic.
Man on the Moon (1999), Various Artists
Jim Carrey films often
have cool soundtracks (Cable Guy, Bruce Almighty, Eternal Sunshine) and this is no exception. Of course, everyone knows the
terrific REM song ‘Man on the Moon’ (there’s an instrumental version as well) but the soundtrack also includes
that other REM hit ‘The Great Beyond’. If that’s not enough, we’re also given the themes from classic
cartoon ‘Mighty Mouse’ and from sitcom ‘Taxi’. That’s not all, the soundtrack includes 2 songs
from the real Andy Kaufman: ‘Rose Marie’ and ‘One More Song For You’ which are very nice indeed. But
the ‘piece de resistance’ has to be ‘This Friendly World’, a cute song sung by none other than Jim
Carrey (in full Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton mode) and REM: the result is hilarious
and sweet. The whole thing includes other instrumental songs and some funny extracts from the film. Overall, a great soundtrack
****1/2 / 5
Ocean's Twelve (2005), David Holmes
The Ocean’s eleven
soundtrack won an Oscar but is this one as good as its predecessor? David Holmes has created a breezy and enjoyable soundtrack
that surely goes well with the whole stylish, casino-robbing atmosphere created by Steve Soderbergh’s slick direction.
Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the film hasn’t received very laudable reviews. But the soundtrack has, which is one
thing to be proud about I guess. The score is very 60s (it occasionnaly sounds a bit like Get Carter or The Italian Job) and
very Spanish, since that’s where the action takes place in the film. Overall, it’s smooth and enjoyable film music
with some good rhythms and beautiful guitar solos reminiscient of Desperado but it’s nothing to go ape-caca about.
Big Fish (2004), Danny Elfman
Not as memorable or as good as magnificient scores such as Edward Scissorhands or Beetlejuice but it sure adds
some magic to an already magical film. Danny Elfman's ability to make beautiful scores has been a bit lost lately (Hulk) but
with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory coming up it looks as if he's back. on this soundtrack we also have the beautiful
Pearl Jam song: "Man of the Hour".
Vanilla Sky (2001), Various Artists
This Oscar winning soundtrack is a wonderful compilation: it contains older tunes by Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley
as well as some more recent songs by R.E.M and Radiohead.
The best song is definitely, however, Paul McCartney's "Vanilla Sky". Most tunes are full of brilliantly repetitive
acoustic guitar rhythms but there are also a couple of very good dance songs. Look out for a song sung by Cameron Diaz! A
World Underground, Where Are You Now? (2003)
Metric have been together for a while and this is their second debut album, the first being the lovely Grow Up and Blow Away.
But it’s this brilliant album which should put them on the map. It’s hard to describe Metric’s music, it
is quite retro with its electro-pop melodies and Emily Haines’ soft and moody vocals. But it feels very modern and fresh
at the same time. You could say they are the Siouxsie and the Banshees of the 21st century. The rest of the band
includes James Shaw (guitars, vocals), Josh Winstead (bass) and Joules Scott-Key (drums) The album kicks off with IOU, a terrific
song with a punky rhythm coupled with a gentle melody that’s a perfect showcase of Metric’s unique style. Hustle
Rose, the next song, is a melancholic, haunting little gem filled with sadness and irony. Succexy is a catchy, energetic tune
with a very cool chorus and clever lyrics about war coverage and how it’s becoming a reality TV show. Now we come to
Combat Baby, probably the best song of the album, it’s a brilliantly kick-ass song with an incredibly catchy chorus,
great vocals, guitar line and drums. Calculation Theme gives Joules Scott-Key the chance to rest a little as there is little
or no drums in this haunting, beautiful tune. The delightfully darker keyboard melody is filled with originality, melancholy
and even hope. Wet Blanket brings us back down to Earth with its punky vocals and guitar line, its energetic rhythm and witty
lyrics. But its not too raw as we have some lovely Beach Boys-style backing vocals towards the end (lol). On a Slow Night
is maybe not the best song of the album but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it. It’s a fine little
song with a welcome slower pace. The List has excellent guitar and bass lines and cool lyrics about class lines and social
differences. Dead Disco has the best bass line of the album and, like Combat Baby, it feels like an instant hit with its very
catchy chorus, energetic rhythm and Siouxsie-ish vocals. Finally, we have Love is a Place, a darker, Radiohead-style little
song with no drums, a good tune to end such a good album on. I must say I was impressed when I listened to this album, it
made me an instant Metric fan and it’s my favourite album of the year so far.
Meet the Rogers Sisters.
This cool band from New York has been compared to the likes of The B’52s and The Slits but, to be honest, they have
a sound of their own. With its thumping drums, its screeching guitar, its catchy bass lines and its call-and-response vocals,
this is a band that’s well worth checking out. Real-life sisters Laura (drums, backing vocals) and Jennifer (guitar,
vocals) Rogers make a hell of a noise for 2 girls (hehe, I’m sorry did that sound sexist? lol). And Miyuki Furtado (bass,
vocals), the honorary Rogers…sister provides the melodies and even more energy (on stage, he’s surprisingly nuts). Their new mini-LP Three Fingers is a refreshing little album filled with some pretty
rocky songs. The first tune, Freight Elevator, is excellent and is definitely one of their best songs. It’s just very
energetic, original and terrific fun. 45 Prayers is also a good song, and it must be said that Laura Rogers could teach a
thing or two to Meg White about drumming. As for Fantasies Are Nice, it’s a song that’s simply impossible to dislike.
The lyrics are simple and even snotty, which isn’t bothering at all, quite the opposite. The song contains what is probably
the best bass line in the album and gives Jennifer the chance to get a little crazy. The Secrets of Civilization is also great
fun, with a terrific chorus and good vocals from Jennifer and Miyuki. Now we come to Check Level, arguably the most “kick-ass”
song of the album. With a notably cool guitar line, B’52s-ish punky vocals and a screaming chorus, it’s a real
rock song indeed. When you listen to some of those lame overrated new mainstream bands who pretend to make rock and roll it’s
discouraging, that’s why the Rogers Sisters are a breath of fresh air. Five Months is certainly an odd song. I say odd
because it’s just very different to the rest of the album: it’s pretty dark, with a strange, haunting chorus.
It’s a song that does grow on you. You Won’t Believe It, my personal favourite of Three Fingers, is simply excellent.
Great rhythm, very catchy chorus, I love it. The 4 remaining songs are “extra tracks”, Zig Zag wanderer and Object
are both cover versions of older songs. They’re both raw, rocky tunes and Zig Zag Wanderer is especially cool. After
that, we get a French version of Fantasies Are Nice, which I enjoy listening to purely for The Rogers Sisters’ interesting
French accent…There’s also a Japanese version of 45 Prayers which, for some unknown reason, I slightly prefer
to the original one. It’s a shame the album doesn’t have a few more songs but as it stands it’s a good introduction
to The Rogers Sisters (it’s not their first record mind you) and is a lot more fun than Coldplay (Zzzzzz) for example.
I highly recommend going to see the Sisters (and Miyuki, hehe) live because on stage they’re very entertaining indeed.
Believe The Truth (2005)
When Oasis made Standing on the Shoulder
of Giants (their weakest album), they had undergone numerous changes in the band and found themselves with a messy mix of
heavy inaudible bass-lines, loud thumping drums and unnecessary background effects. Heathen Chemistry was much better, with
a more stable line-up, the band was now more confident and their new lighter, more acoustic sound was refreshing. Don’t
Believe The Truth, which was recorded in L.A. studios, is arguably their best album since the slightly underrated Be Here
Now (I mean, come on, it had Stand By Me, All Around the World, My Big Mouth and D’You Know What I Mean?). It seems
the Gallagher brothers are comfortable with this, admittedly less “electric”
sound, and I find it admirable that instead of desperatly seeking their old Definitely Maybe sound (get over it NME, that
was like 11 years ago!) Liam and Noel have moved on with a different, perhaps more mature one. Heathen Chemistry contained
some terrific songs (the beautiful Songbird, Born on a Different Cloud and Stop Crying Your Heart Out) but sadly not enough.
In DBTT however, all the tracks are worth a listen and grow every time you hear them . The single, Lyla, is very catchy and
enjoyable and there are other energetic songs in there, like the Velvet Underground-ish Mucky Fingers and Liam’s The
Meaning of Soul. More freedom is given to the other band members Andy Bell and Gem who write a few songs on the album. Andy
Bell’s Turn Up The Sun and Keep the Dream Alive are the best ones (although the latter’s chorus is disappointingly
mellow). The new single The Importance of Being Idle, sung by Noel, is a terrific song with a cool black and white video and
is one of the best songs in the album. The Stranglers-ish Part of The Queue, written and sung by Noel, is also a great song
and it seems that Noel’s dark side is coming out through these recent tunes. Liam’s writing is getting better
and Guess God Thinks I’m Abel is a fine example of that fact. Love Like a Bomb is also a very good effort by Liam, very
catchy with an interesting melody. But, it must be said, that it’s Let There Be Love which steals the show. Written
by Noel and sung by both Gallagher brothers, it’s a beautiful, catchy tune that Lennon would most certainly enjoy thoroughly
if he was alive today. Gem’s A Bell Will Ring is the weakest of the lot but is still better than anything The Darkness
are likely to come up with in their lifetime. Overall, Don’t believe the Truth will charm and satisfy Oasis fans very
much but those who live in the past and are still waiting for Morning Glory 2: Reloaded will probably keep whining. Oh well,
I don’t think Liam gives a f*** and neither do Oasis fans, and rightly so.