Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Corpse Bride Soundtrack by Danny Elfman [2005]

If I had to pick a favorite composer, I'd pick (after a lot of pacing and muttering) Danny Elfman. With Javier Navarrete, Yoko Shimomura, Michael Giacchino, and Murray Gold as very close runners-up.
(Not very good at staying on track, are I?) Anyhoo, Corpse Bride is kind of a hard movie to explain without sounding delisional, but it's basically this. A nervous young man goes out into the woods to practice his wedding vows. Jokingly, he slides his wedding ring onto the 'finger' of a dead bush, but turns out it wasn't a dead branch- but the skeleton arm of a dead woman killed on her wedding day. The dead woman rises from her grave and declares that they're now married. It's based on a Jewish folk tale, and is better than it sounds, trust me.
I fell in love with the soundtrack, and added it to the steadily growing list of musicals I like. Which is rather disturbingly long for somebody who professes to dislike musicals. Ahem. On with it.
Danny Elfman's music has a very sparkly, fantastical feel. I love his use of celesta, flute, and chorus especially. And he utilizes the string section to sound particularly 'spindly'. (You understand what I mean when I say 'spindly' sounding, right? If not, I'll try to be more wise in my choice of adjectives ;) I'm only going to describe the tracks that stand out to me, since Corpse Bride has a really long tracklisting. :P

1. Main Title
I love this track. The main theme pops up a lot in the soundtrack, and it might have turned out really repetitive *cough*christophebeck*cough* but I think that it worked very well here. The main theme is very melancholy and delicate sounding, and fits very well with the butterfly motif that is very prominent in the opening scene.
2. According To Plan
My siblings love this song. It ranks right up there with One Jump Ahead and Do You Hear the People Sing as a song that we like to sing at random times throughout the day. It's a pretty good song, though I wish it maybe had a verse with Victor and Victoria, instead of just their parents prancing around being haughty. But it serves it's purpose and establishes the plot nicely.
3. Victor's Piano Solo
Yay, the main theme again! This is a very beautiful arrangement of the main theme, but it ends rather suddenly with Victor exclaiming "Oh! Do forgive me!" Freaked me out the first time I listened. XD
4. Into The Forest
This track has some over-dramatic shrieking chorus towards the middle, but once you get past that bit it's quite haunting. I love the upbeat reprise of the main theme that appears in the first half, too.  Oh, and have I mentioned the use of organ/harpsichord? Because those instruments are used very well in this score, especially in this track.
5. Remains of the Day
Allright, Danny Elfman once again playing a singing skeleton. XD This song is really jazzy, and so catchy. I love the xylophone, it sounds kind of bone-ish. If that makes any sense? Anyway, this song explains the backstory for the Corpse Bride, and it does a good job of it.
6/7. Casting a Spell/Moon Dance
Listing these together because they're one of those pairs of tracks that segue into each other and are one piece of music even if they're separate tracks. Casting a Spell is a little ominous sounding, but not excessively so. And I just like Moon Dance because (a) that was a really gorgeous scene in the movie and (b) it has a flute solo and some cool choir stuff.
8. Victor's Deception
Not much to say on this one, but I really loved the little instrumental of Tears to Shed at the very end of the track. So I figured it was worth listing as a noteworthy track.
9. Tears to ShedThis track has singing in it, by Emily, A Spider Lady, and the Maggot that lives in Emily's head. It bounces between chipper and incredibly heartbreaking, and I love the contrast between The Spider and the Maggot's part, and then Emily's part in the song. The only thing is that the Maggot has a rather irritating voice.
10. The Piano Duet
I don't have a whole lot to say about this one, but it's a very lovely mashup of the melodies for Tears to Shed and The Main Theme.
18. Finale
... Yeah, I skipped a few. It's good music, but they don't stick out as much in my head. This song on the other hand almost makes my heart stop with how pretty it is. Especially at 1:25. And this still isn't the most beautiful track in the score (in my admittedly not so humble opinion)!
19. End Credits Part 1
This is the most beautiful track in the score, if you ask me. The Finale is a very close second, but this short song (Only 1:50) sends me into a dreamy stupor every single time. It's very melancholy and wistful, and for some reason it makes me think of a spider web with dewdrops on it. Am I weird? :P

The Verdict: A+
Three Favorites: End Credits Part 1, Finale, and... Remains of the Day? I can't decide!

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