I think it’s true that the music we like by the time we’re 16 (maybe earlier) is the music we’re going to like for the rest of our lives. I was barely out of high school when the NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears abomination hit and-in my crotchety 19-year old opinion-broke music. I listen to a wide variety of stuff, but I grew up in an extremely strict household and music was tightly monitored. My brother could start his own blog about “The Day My Mom Found Nirvana’s Nevermind in My Room”. The prohibition extended to movies, as well, but for some reason I was allowed to listen to movie scores. So while other kids on the bus were cranking Metallica or Pearl Jam, I had John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Jerry Goldsmith.
If Mozart or Beethoven were alive today, they’d be composing movie scores. It’s THE venue to deliver instrumental music to the largest possible audience. Plus it pays, which some people tend to forget, is why the great classical composers composed. They had patrons; kings, barons, popes and others who sponsored their music and made requests of what they were to compose. Very much like the relationships that develop between directors and their composers of choice. Steven Spielberg and John Williams is the most obvious pairing. The duo have worked together for nearly forty years, but most directors have a compose they prefer to work with. Alfred Hitchcock had Bernard Herrman. JJ Abrams has used Michael Giacchino since Alias, long before he was an Academy Award winning composer. Sam Mendes uses Thomas Newman. Chris Nolan has used Hans Zimmer for every film since Batman Begins (save The Prestige) and will for Interstellar.
While 2013 has been a down year for the movies, there have been several very nice scores already, some (The Lone Ranger) for truly awful films. That can be another top 5: best scores from the worst movies. But looking back to 2012, here are my top 5 movie scores along with my favorite track from the effort. Happy listening and happy Friday!
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey by Howard Shore
2. The Dark Knight Rises by Hans Zimmer
3. Skyfall by Thomas Newman
4. The Adjustment Bureau by Thomas Newman & AudioMachine
5. Lincoln by John Williams