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  1. To claim that Winter Soldier has no soul is just plain wrong. Fine, if you don't feel anything, leave it be, but other people do. I can easily well up while listening to the album's long concluding track, because it immediately takes me back to the movie's brilliant way of dealing with modern politics and the way it was foreshadowing what's happening right under our noses, right now. That track is haunting me in the best and saddest of ways.
    • CommentAuthorJules
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2019
    I really like Winter Soldier the film, I don't think it's reputation as one of the best Marvel flicks is for nothing, it's a very good and seriously fun blockbuster. It's hard to tell if my appreciation of the score is more to do with the quality of the film then (often find this is the case, but then there's also the fact that many great movies inspire great scores).

    But have to agree with you Ralph, that the score is in no way soulness, I actually think Jackman can be a very intelligent composer and the way the score plays with the rhythm of the film is quite intelligent for mine. I think maybe the quality of the sounds produced lend themselves to be described as basic and generic, where that was a deliberate choice to fit the aesthetic of the film? It has somehow come to represent the blandness of modern scoring though, which is interesting because I don't think I can name many scores that actually sound like it.

    Loved the discussion that this has sparked though, and surprised to see so many defenders of the score! Would be awesome to see conversations like these where lots of people are weighing in more often here.
  2. To me stating that Taking a Stand is soulless is just plain wrong... It's among my favorite top 5 RCP cues.
    http://www.filmmusic.pl - Polish Film Music Review Website
  3. Jules wrote
    I really like Winter Soldier the film, I don't think it's reputation as one of the best Marvel flicks is for nothing, it's a very good and seriously fun blockbuster. It's hard to tell if my appreciation of the score is more to do with the quality of the film then (often find this is the case, but then there's also the fact that many great movies inspire great scores).

    But have to agree with you Ralph, that the score is in no way soulness, I actually think Jackman can be a very intelligent composer and the way the score plays with the rhythm of the film is quite intelligent for mine. I think maybe the quality of the sounds produced lend themselves to be described as basic and generic, where that was a deliberate choice to fit the aesthetic of the film? It has somehow come to represent the blandness of modern scoring though, which is interesting because I don't think I can name many scores that actually sound like it.

    Loved the discussion that this has sparked though, and surprised to see so many defenders of the score! Would be awesome to see conversations like these where lots of people are weighing in more often here.


    It's an interesting aspect to explore, the fact is that some of the more bland or generic sounds (the action music pre-finale, especially Lemurian Star and Fury) harken at Harry Gregson-Williams' Tony Scott music, which had as big an impact on the RCP sound, as Hans Zimmer had. I'm not much of a hater of the opening cue as the ways he incorporates the theme make it actually far more interesting than the typical ostinato fare.

    In the Winter Soldier material, and again, I'm not a hater of it as I think it works as a decent reference to the character, yes, it's a knock off Dark Knight's Joker music, but more in the way it is used with the manipulated tortured vocal serving as a sort of warning siren, what makes the suite interesting is that there is actually an ostinato for the character (largely overlooked and I can understand it) and there is actually some nice desperate string material, which is in any ways not sampled (too expressive for that).

    But what I will defend the most actually, it's the theme for Captain himself. This is where I take the biggest issue with the criticism of the score. Knocking it off as generic RCP material and not seeing how it interplays with the Silvestri bits in the film is what I find quite unfair in the treatment of this score.
    http://www.filmmusic.pl - Polish Film Music Review Website
  4. Ralph Kruhm wrote
    christopher wrote
    Did you listen to what Chance Thomas composed to try to get hired on Avatar 2?

    No, I'm not in loops that would allow me to do so, though I'd love to. ^^


    No loops required, sir!

    http://www.chancethomas.com/avatar2musi … Chkth0zx3A
    •  
      CommentAuthorErik Woods
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2019
    PawelStroinski wrote
    To me stating that Taking a Stand is soulless is just plain wrong... It's among my favorite top 5 RCP cues.


    Sorry, it's soulless, IMO. It's generic action scoring which completely uninteresting compositionally.

    Again, IMO, it's something any composer can spit out in a few minutes. I expect better from film composers than this generic trailer like scoring. Congrats... you can do generic trailer music, what else can you do? Jackman is WAAAAAAAY better than what he was asked to do in this film and Civil War.

    -Erik-
    host and producer of CINEMATIC SOUND RADIO | www.cinematicsound.net | www.facebook.com/cinematicsound | I HAVE TINNITUS!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRalph Kruhm
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2019 edited
    christopher wrote
    Ralph Kruhm wrote
    christopher wrote
    Did you listen to what Chance Thomas composed to try to get hired on Avatar 2?

    No, I'm not in loops that would allow me to do so, though I'd love to. ^^


    No loops required, sir!

    http://www.chancethomas.com/avatar2musi … Chkth0zx3A

    Oh, wow. THANK you!!!

    EDIT: I listened to all the stuff, and... yeah, it fits the mood, I'll give him that. But I'm missing quite a bit of the emotional grip of the original. Someone like JNH would get that with a snap of his fingers. Well, okay, I know some other Chance Thomas stuff, so I'm sure, given the task, he'd meet it somehow. But I'm not convinced. Yet.

    Anyway, thanks for the link. beer
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteven
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2019
    People sure do love that Winter Soldier score. dizzy Anyone would think I insulted their child.
  5. Ralph Kruhm wrote
    christopher wrote
    Ralph Kruhm wrote
    christopher wrote
    Did you listen to what Chance Thomas composed to try to get hired on Avatar 2?

    No, I'm not in loops that would allow me to do so, though I'd love to. ^^


    No loops required, sir!

    http://www.chancethomas.com/avatar2musi … Chkth0zx3A

    Oh, wow. THANK you!!!

    EDIT: I listened to all the stuff, and... yeah, it fits the mood, I'll give him that. But I'm missing quite a bit of the emotional grip of the original. Someone like JNH would get that with a snap of his fingers. Well, okay, I know some other Chance Thomas stuff, so I'm sure, given the task, he'd meet it somehow. But I'm not convinced. Yet.

    Anyway, thanks for the link. beer


    You bet! I wasn't convinced by it either, but I love his initiative. It would be interesting to see what he might have done with the kind of budget that score will have. I don't think he has a chance (ba-tum TISH) of getting the gig, but I think it would be really cool of Cameron to give him the opportunity.

    NP: JAWS - John Williams
  6. christopher wrote
    You bet! I wasn't convinced by it either, but I love his initiative. It would be interesting to see what he might have done with the kind of budget that score will have. I don't think he has a chance (ba-tum TISH) of getting the gig, but I think it would be really cool of Cameron to give him the opportunity.

    I think it's too big a risk. We're talking about several frighteningly expensive sequels to a not-yet completely accepted franchise, and Disney has been burned so many times in recent years I'm pretty sure there will be no more risks involved than they would absolutely necessarily have to take.
  7. PawelStroinski wrote
    Also, one has to take into consideration that the film was essentially modelled on the 1970s conspiracy thrillers. While much more creative in terms of the way they were used and written (especially in its historical context), one has to bear in mind that the scores to the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s, like Parallax View, like The Marathon Man, the unused China Syndrome, essentially the David Shire and Michael Small (even if they could have BRILLIANT themes) weren't among the most easy-listening, warmest music ever written. In fact, they were quite modernist in approach and highly dissonant.

    Now imagine if Jackman had taken his cues from Shire and Small and Fielding when writing Winter Soldier rather than Hans Zimmer? That would have actually been worth hearing. Everyone always says stuff like "it's a conspiracy thriller, Silvestri would have been inappropriate" - okay, but the score Jackman did write sounds nothing like a conspiracy thriller score either. It sounds like a modern action score.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteven
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2019
    Exactly. Those are two surface level similarities. Lots of things are non-melodic and dissonant. A fart is dissonant.

    A typical modern action score tends to be limited in its effectiveness: It relies more on rhythm and generic tones without relating it to the wider narrative of the film. It copies the literal action happening on screen without adding to the experience or elevating the film.

    Take Michael Kamen's Die Hard scores. To most people, these are (understandably) rather un-listenable scores with tons of dissonant writing and exhausting action. Some might even say it's just noise. But hear them in the films, and suddenly they take on a whole different life. They don't just tell you if scenes are scary or exciting, they elevate the films by giving them unique and specific tones tailor made for the story and characters, often through clever orchestrations (that elicit particular feelings appropriate to any given point in the story), as well as effective and memorable motifs with clever call-backs - Kamen was the master of this.

    Winter Soldier doesn't do this. If it attempts it, it does so very poorly. The point is it could easily be replaced by an alternative generic score and nothing would be lost from the experience of the film.*

    *Save for the extreme few who have a connection with the music. All power to ya, glad you enjoy it. Don't get your knickers in a twist. I have emotional connections to crappy things too. But for remaining 99.99999% of people, replacing it with an equally generic score would make little difference
    •  
      CommentAuthorErik Woods
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2019
    ^ Well said!

    -Erik-
    host and producer of CINEMATIC SOUND RADIO | www.cinematicsound.net | www.facebook.com/cinematicsound | I HAVE TINNITUS!
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2019
    Surely, the fact that the score is so divisive, and that there are passionate views on both sides, suggests that there is SOMETHING here; not just your run-of-the-mill generic wallpaper. Whether one likes that 'something' or not.

    I'm just glad there's a little bit of discussion going, in what has basically become a film music forum 'mausoleum'.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteven
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2019
    Thor wrote
    Surely, the fact that the score is so divisive, and that there are passionate views on both sides, suggests that there is SOMETHING here; not just your run-of-the-mill generic wallpaper. Whether one likes that 'something' or not.


    The 'something' is a small minority of people getting in a tiffy when a generic score is described as exactly that.

    I could go on a forum of flat earthers right now and say "The earth is not flat" and it would generate a shitstorm of activity.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2019 edited
    It's not a small minority. If you go around messageboards, you'll see the same thing. FSM etc.

    Furthermore, if you read some of the comments by its defenders (many here have been more eloquent than I), you'll see plenty of good arguments as to why this is one of the most interesting and unusual Marvel scores. This would probably not happen if it was just a 'nothing'. But of course, criticizers like yourself can easily ignore these arguments and pretend they don't exist.
    I am extremely serious.
  8. Thor wrote
    I'm just glad there's a little bit of discussion going, in what has basically become a film music forum 'mausoleum'.


    Agreed!

    NP: Sordo: The Silent War - Carlos M. Jara

    This is an interesting score. Some of the tracks are a little bleak for my taste, though I'm sure they're perfect for the film. But there are some really excellent highlights here. I highly recommend you give it a listen. I'm not quite through my first listen of it, but it's a standout score for 2019, I think. "Rosa's Theme" is my favorite track so far.
    • CommentAuthorJules
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2019
    Steven wrote
    Exactly. Those are two surface level similarities. Lots of things are non-melodic and dissonant. A fart is dissonant.

    A typical modern action score tends to be limited in its effectiveness: It relies more on rhythm and generic tones without relating it to the wider narrative of the film. It copies the literal action happening on screen without adding to the experience or elevating the film.

    Take Michael Kamen's Die Hard scores. To most people, these are (understandably) rather un-listenable scores with tons of dissonant writing and exhausting action. Some might even say it's just noise. But hear them in the films, and suddenly they take on a whole different life. They don't just tell you if scenes are scary or exciting, they elevate the films by giving them unique and specific tones tailor made for the story and characters, often through clever orchestrations (that elicit particular feelings appropriate to any given point in the story), as well as effective and memorable motifs with clever call-backs - Kamen was the master of this.

    Winter Soldier doesn't do this. If it attempts it, it does so very poorly. The point is it could easily be replaced by an alternative generic score and nothing would be lost from the experience of the film.*

    *Save for the extreme few who have a connection with the music. All power to ya, glad you enjoy it. Don't get your knickers in a twist. I have emotional connections to crappy things too. But for remaining 99.99999% of people, replacing it with an equally generic score would make little difference


    To each their own I guess, but that's exactly what happens to the WS score when I watch the film. The car chase, highway action scenes are all taken to a different level by the music, and the themes for the Winter Soldier himself are very effective. I don't think it does it as well as Die Hard, but it's certainly not a bland action score. I'd give that banner to something like the Hurriance Heist by Balfe.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteven
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2019
    Fair enough! It doesn't do anything for me, but clearly some people like it. *shrug*

    Balfe is worse, yes. Like Jackman, he's capable of decent stuff but cowers to mediocrity far too often.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2019
    Anyways....

    NP: CLOCKWISE (Maciek Dobrowolski)

    Haven't played this in a while. Still an excellent score. How's your career been since, Maciek?
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRalph Kruhm
    • CommentTimeSep 21st 2019 edited
    Steven wrote
    Thor wrote
    Surely, the fact that the score is so divisive, and that there are passionate views on both sides, suggests that there is SOMETHING here; not just your run-of-the-mill generic wallpaper. Whether one likes that 'something' or not.


    The 'something' is a small minority of people getting in a tiffy when a generic score is described as exactly that.

    I could go on a forum of flat earthers right now and say "The earth is not flat" and it would generate a shitstorm of activity.

    Nonsense. I felt the very same way I still feel today about the score when I watched the movie first day and listened to the score the first time. My emotional connection to certain elements of it has NOTHING to do with how it's received anywhere.

    Okay then, I'll try to describe it. There's a sort of apocalyptical eerie-ness in track 18, "Captain America", near the end, when the synth(?)choir is added to sound layer. The political crisis happening in the movie, very close to what is happening all over the world right now, creates in myself a feeling, a forboding, a sense of social collapse. There's true fear here. Worry about the world, and how the world I will leave to my daughter is going to look like in a couple of decades, even years. And the track reflects that feeling almost exactly, that, despite everyone fighting against it, represented by the ostinati, the end is coming, and the choirs give it a sense of epic, even heavenly confrontation.

    Now, follow me to James Horner's Deep Impact. In the track "Drawing Straws", there is the exact same kind of epic foreboding mood, this time with a real, planetwide catatstrophe looming. Again, there are the (slower) ostinati, and the choir giving us the epic struggle for survival.

    For me, Jackman's track recreates that exact same mood. I'm sorry, but that's what it does for me. And that's not imaginary, that's real emotion created, right there.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeSep 21st 2019
    NP: A SUMMER STORY (Georges Delerue)

    cool
    I am extremely serious.
  9. Edmund Meinerts wrote
    PawelStroinski wrote
    Also, one has to take into consideration that the film was essentially modelled on the 1970s conspiracy thrillers. While much more creative in terms of the way they were used and written (especially in its historical context), one has to bear in mind that the scores to the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s, like Parallax View, like The Marathon Man, the unused China Syndrome, essentially the David Shire and Michael Small (even if they could have BRILLIANT themes) weren't among the most easy-listening, warmest music ever written. In fact, they were quite modernist in approach and highly dissonant.

    Now imagine if Jackman had taken his cues from Shire and Small and Fielding when writing Winter Soldier rather than Hans Zimmer? That would have actually been worth hearing. Everyone always says stuff like "it's a conspiracy thriller, Silvestri would have been inappropriate" - okay, but the score Jackman did write sounds nothing like a conspiracy thriller score either. It sounds like a modern action score.


    The 1970s conspiracy thriller score would have been fairly interesting if it was molded to the more blockbuster sound that it had to, being a blockbuster.

    I'd argue that the conspiracy-like sound is somehow far out in Jackman's mind in the underscore cues for Pierce and Hydra. It could have been taken further, though I don't know how would it fit in the action.

    My appreciation of the score grew after I saw the film. I liked some cues before (Taking a Stand was always something I really liked, for one), but then I realized one thing the film does and the score does in it that makes me appreciate it.

    Now, for full disclosure: I never really hated the Winter Soldier material. It's jarring, etc., but there is some interesting stuff going on where it goes beyond the distorted vocal call and goes into the harsh ostinato territory. If some of that string writing was used for the character in more bits of the score, then it would have been more accessible to everyone. Especially if some of that stuff was integrated with the more orchestral action rather than working a faux-leitmotivic one-or-the-other approach, then I think it would be more acceptable.

    Now to why I appreciate it. It's not totally far from Ralph's post, but in my case it's appreciating what the theme refers to in the film. For me the use of Silvestri's theme during the "run-across-the-Washington-monument" scene with Falcon in the beginning actually legitimizes Jackman's choice rather than undermines his theme. To me, the theme, hinting also at some faint Americana (a single fifth used near the end of any full statement of it), epitomizes the tragic realization of how the world works. It is a personal tragedy for Steve, who has to deal with the fact that what he stood for might be losing. And his realization that it's his best friend that he has to fight.

    And I will always HIGHLY respect anyone who ends a big tentpole franchise big-budget film like this with a somber piano solo.
    http://www.filmmusic.pl - Polish Film Music Review Website
  10. PawelStroinski wrote
    It is a personal tragedy for Steve, who has to deal with the fact that what he stood for might be losing.

    THAT.

    Thank you.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteven
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2019
    Conan The Barbarian Basil Poledouris

    When it comes to great themes, this is an embarrassment of riches. A nice way to start a Monday morning.
  11. TRAUMFABRIK - Philipp Noll

    Wow. This is really impressive. It has some absolutely HUGE moments (those last two tracks), and is just really solid all the way through. One of the best scores I've heard from 2019, and highly recommended.
  12. NP: A Beautiful Mind (2001) - James Horner

    This film aired on German TV recently. Watching bits of it reminded me on how great a score this is. A very fine film too.

    Volker
    Bach's music is vibrant and inspired.
  13. Captain Future wrote
    NP: A Beautiful Mind (2001) - James Horner

    This film aired on German TV recently. Watching bits of it reminded me on how great a score this is. A very fine film too.

    Volker


    Agreed.
  14. christopher wrote
    TRAUMFABRIK - Philipp Noll

    Wow. This is really impressive. It has some absolutely HUGE moments (those last two tracks), and is just really solid all the way through. One of the best scores I've heard from 2019, and highly recommended.


    This is the first time that this composer comes to my attention. I see, that this is his first cinematic project. He had some notable TV assignments though. I checked out those two last cues you mentioned. Wow! I'll listen to the entire album these days and I'll keep an eye on the fellow.
    Bach's music is vibrant and inspired.
  15. Steven wrote
    Conan The Barbarian Basil Poledouris

    When it comes to great themes, this is an embarrassment of riches. A nice way to start a Monday morning.

    Now THAT is a FACT. punk