Saturday, November 9, 2013

Film Score of the Month : Wall-E (2008) by Thomas Newman

A Poignant Space Opera that must be in your library

Thomas Newman has always been in the top five of my favorite film score composers. His music has been described as being able to walk a very fine line between happiness and sadness with everything in between. And Wall-E (2008) is probably my favorite  Thomas Newman score (and also my fav Pixar film of all the films they have released). 

A beautiful film about the pangs of first love (even though it is between two robots) and strong, unbreakable bond of friendship, Wall-E transcends joy and sorrow and Newman's score is one of his very best. 

As the film opens we hear snippets of music from Hello Dolly! At this point in the film's history, Earth is a vast wasteland. Instead of skyscrapers made of steel and concrete, there are towers of trash that Wall-E and his fellow robots have compacted over the decades. It is uninhabitable for humans who have taken refuge on a mammoth sized space ship called the Axiom. It is on planet Earth where Wall-E meets EVE, a robot sent to see if there is ANY sign of life so the human race can return and start over.

'Put On Your Sunday Clothes' first stanza is heard as the film opens and then disappears into an echo and Newman's score kicks in with '2815 A.D' . It is a ghostly track about a civilization that has all but disappeared, but we follow Wall-E as he does what he is programmed to do; compact trash. He is lonely until 'The Spaceship' arrives and 'EVE' appears. 

'Eve' and 'Define Dancing' two are two of the most beautiful tracks on the album, and Newman uses a harp with the strings for an unforgettable couple pieces of music. They are similar but if you have seen the film then you will know they are important as the two robots begin there friendship. Wall-E is smitten, no doubt. As in 'First Date', a series of very funny attempts happen as Wall-E tries to make a favorable impression on EVE. 'The Axiom' is the title theme for the ship as Wall-E follows EVE back to the ship. It is a mysteriously majestic piece that Newman has done so well as in The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption and Cinderella Man.

'Foreign Contaminant', '72 Degrees and Sunny', 'March of the Gels' are a return to the quirky inventive pieces of music I first fell in love with by Mr. Newman. A dizzying mix of electronics and orchestral pieces that make them some of the best tracks on the album. 

Surprisingly, there are no bad tracks on this album and the end theme composed by Newman and Peter Gabriel called 'Down To Earth' is a real toe tapper, as well. La Vie en Rose' as performed by Louis Armstrong, the Hello Dolly! pieces and the end theme song give Wall-E some extra depth that is missing from a lot of film scores marketed for the MTV generation.

The entire score runs the gambit from happy to sad and it is effective in each piece, each note and nobody does it better than Thomas Newman. With 38 titles on the CD there are no tracks that I would skip on this magnificent score; not one. It is a beautiful, happy, sad, poignant and classically memorable score and my pick for score of the month. It is available on CD and digital download and worth every penny.  Thomas Newman's Wall-E score gives a little something for everyone. JohnnyTwoToes


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