'Frozen' leads recent soundtracks
Owls Head — Frozen original soundtrack deluxe edition (Disney, 2 CDs). "Frozen" is a return to form for Disney animation. It is likely to win the Oscar Sunday night for best animated feature and could grab a second for the song "Let It Go," sung by Demi Lovato on the soundtrack. It already has won a Golden Globe for best animated feature.
In the film, optimist Anna (voiced and sung by Kristen Bell) teams up with love-interest Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have the kids kingdom trapped in a wintery grip. The story was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen." The first disc contains 11 songs -- very Disney Broadway style, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez-- and 21 score cues by composer Christophe Beck. Highlights of the songs are the aforementioned "Let It Go," the opening "Frozen Heart" sung by workmen, the lyrical "For the First Time in Forever" (a chance not to be lonely and perhaps find love) and the duet on "Love Is an Open Door." Also singing on the album are Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Maia Wilson.
This deluxe edition has a second disc with Anderson-Lopez's original demo versions and outtakes of eight songs and Lopez singing one. There also are 13 score demos and the "Coronation Band Suite" source score, plus four instrumental versions of the songs for karaoke purposes.
I, Frankenstein motion picture soundtrack (Lakeshore CD). The film is an adaptation of the graphic novel and original screenplay by Kevin Grevioux. Stuart Beattie wrote and directed the film, which involves gargoyles. There also is a score album, composed by Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, but this is a song-based album, and reportedly, only the first two songs are actually heard in the film.
Paired especially for this project, and appearing under the moniker By Maker, are former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo (1995-2002), who has done a lot iof soundtrack work, and vocalist-guitarist Daniel Davies, frontman for Year Long Disaster and son of The Kinks' Dave Davies. As one would expect, the music is industrial-based rock. The songs, overall, lack much dynamics and Davies' voice, often doubletracked, is too often too buried in the mix. A nice exception is "After All." The first two songs are the loud and punchy "Misgiving" and the better "Trouble." The other standout tracks are "Gimme Soul" and a cover of Edgar Winter's classic instrumental, "Frankenstein," with Prashant Aswani contributing the wild guitar licks.
August: Osage County motion picture soundtrack (Sony Classical CD). This is a mix of songs, old and new, and instrumental score by Adam Taylor (4 tracks) and Gustavo Santaolalla and Anibal Kerpel (3 tracks with a classical guitar sound). The score music is slightly above average. The classic songs are Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" and Billy Squier's "The Stroke." Of the other songs, there very much is a singer-songwriter vibe, as on John Fullbright's "Gawd Above" and JD & The Straight Shot's "Violet's Song." The album's highlight is Kings of Leon's "Last Mile Home."
Knights of Badassdom motion picture soundtrack (Sparks & Shadows CD). Composer Bear McCreary, who also does a lot of scoring for TV, proves his versatility once again with this predominantly hard rock score for the much-delayed Joe Lynch film. In the film, Joe (Ryan Kwanten) is the lead singer of Doomstalker, a struggling heavy metal band. His friends Eric (Steve Zahn) and Hung (Peter Dinklage) get him involved in live action role playing. Of course, there is an evil curse, wizards, warriors and the Hell Lord Abominog. The film has gestated for four years.
McCreary reached out to Brendon Small, the creator and composer of "Metalocalypse" for advice on writing heavy metal music, and Small ended up contributing guitar solos and rhythm guitars. One of the highlights, "At the Gates," features Whitesnake's Doug Aldrich on killer guitar. It is one of four songs with lyrics, each sung by McCreary's brother, Brendan. The guitar textures on the horror cues are provided by Oingo Boingo's Steve Bartek. The opening track and a few others feature beautiful Uilleann and small Scottish pipes, played by Eric Rigler, who was featured on the score of "Braveheart" and has worked often with McCreary on "Battlestar Galactica." This is a robust, fun score, with what even seems a nod to the James Bond scores in "Earn Our Valor."
Doctor Who The 50th Anniversary Collection original television soundtrack (Silva Screen, 2 CDs). This is a wonderful keepsake from the classic British TV series with musical selections from episodes featuring each of the 12 Doctors (the one-off American movie is included). There is Ron Grainer's original theme, some now a bit clunky-sounding early attempts at spacey music, and even some swinging Sixties pop sounds in "Three Guitars Mood," played by the Arthur Nelson Group. The cool things here are the occasional sound effects. For many of the episodes mini-suites have been created. This is highly recommended and it comes with an informative 16-page booklet.
That Awkward Moment motion picture soundtrack (Varese Sarabande CD). This disc contains six tracks from David Torn's score. Torn is noted for his work on "Friday Night Lights." Here, he uses modern synths with strings, piano, gamelan, upright bass and unique guitars. The score is pleasant, if unremarkable. The film is the story of best friends -- played by Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Imogen Poots-- who have reached the point in their relationships where they need to decide where things are going. There are several tracks of electronica here, the best being "Closed Shades" by Crozet (it made me think of Human League). "After Dark" by Night Drive is more electronica, while the quirky "Tales and Truths" by Night Drive has Phil Spector-like wall of sound backing. There also is nice electronic pop in "Morning Sun" by Strange Talk.