Saturday, August 17, 2013


I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings

To continue in the same vein as my last Film Music Musings where I talked about 1989 being the best year of the 80s for film music, I thought I would post my Top Five Scores for 1989 with my original commentary for perusal and perspective.
Now, you may be asking, why 1989?  What was so special about that year?  Well, for me 1989 was a seminal year in my life.  It was the year I graduated from high school and went off to college.  I was 18 and in the prime of my life.  For me, it was my greatest year.
But, let's talk about the Film Music of that incredible year.

Born on the Fourth of July - John Williams
Field of Dreams - James Horner
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - John Williams
*Batman - Danny Elfman
*Henry V - Patrick Doyle
Glory - James Horner
The Little Mermaid - Alan Menken

Italics = Nominated for Academy Award
Bold Italic = Winner of Academy Award
* = One of my Top Scores of the 1980s

Unquestionably, the best year for film scores in the last three decades (only 1993 or 1982 comes close),
1989 boasts two scores that are among the best of the decade and it is almost impossible to narrow the list down to five. John Williams completes the Indiana Jones trilogy with a score of religious overtones and Indiana Jones-action. Perhaps even better than its predecessor this score is exhilirating. Two newcomers, Patrick Doyle and Danny Elfman contributed scores that defined their styles. Doyle burst onto the soundtrack scene with a blaze of fire with Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. One of the best scores of the decade, this score is majestic, tragically moving, triumphant, and somber at different times and at the same time. Elfman defines the gothic action comic book movie with a finale that gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it and a main title/theme for Batman that makes you forget the 60s campy TV theme and realize that this is a hero for all time. James Horner gave two great scores for this year in Glory and Field of Dreams. One of the best of the decade, the only drawback to Glory is that at the climax it sounds a little too Orff-like but other than that it sings with heroism and, forgive the pun, glory. In Field of Dreams, Horner draws on a softer, more melancholic synthesizer sound but with incredibly moving results. John Williams also gave one of his most thoughtful and intensely powerful scores ever for Born on the Fourth of July, his first collaboration with Oliver Stone. And last, Alan Menken enters the Disney arena and elevates the animated musical to a new level of unprecedented heights. The Little Mermaid is a masterpiece of scoring and song-writing that sings with unforgettable tunes that were good enough to win the Academy Award and begin one of the most dominating string of wins in Oscar history but this score was the first and the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment