Monday, November 17, 2008

Quantum of Solace - David Arnold

Remember a couple years ago when I changed your world with my Casino Royale Soundtrack review? And remember how you begged for a follow up soundtrack review to the follow up movie to Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace? And remember how Mx Zoran almost destroyed Silicon Valley with an Earthquake full of Cow Bells? So Here is what I am thinking on the Quantum of Solace soundtrack by great film composer David Arnold.

The first two tracks (Time to get out, The Palio) open with powerful action themes for about 8 and a half minutes. The Tracks are loud enough to make you deaf, and unable to listen to the rest of the score (but that is a good thing right!). Much of the style of these two tracks are; there is a bomb, its about to blow up, and James Bond will defuse, escape, or just blow something else up with that bomb with a trickily planned Bond move. You can hear slight use of the James Bond theme through out, but you really really have to listen for them (they are not as blatantly obvious as they used to be). Some electronic spiffy sounds ends the second track out, and I would hope to hear that more.

Tracks 3 through 6 are those great Bond moving around the world tracks. Track 3, Inside Man, must mean Bond once again is undercover and traveling with bad guys. Track 4 Bond in Haiti, sets up the idea that Bond is now in Haiti, some nice island music rhythmic beating is abundant. Track 5, Somebody wants to kill you, is implying that someone wants to kill you. It is a slightly fast track, but not to the strength of tracks 1 and 2. Then comes Greene & Camille Track 6. Kind of boring, a few repeated themes come up as you start to recognize from previous tracks. There is a real nice daa da deee dah de daaaah (probably means nothing in words), used in many of the tracks for possibly the main Quantum of Solace theme.

Track 7, Pursuit at Port au Prince 5:58 is another loud action track. It starts slow, but quickly increases in intensity. Lots of electronic guitars, drum machines and that ‘daa da de dah de daaaah’ is used nicely in the end mixed with a bit of Bond theme to create an erie atmosphere. The track is a little more hard rock than I would usually prefer out of Arnold.

Track 8 starts, kind of uneventful in-between music but uses another Quantum of Solace theme, maybe its one of the Bond Girls music? Track 9, Night at the Opera, continues this mystery solving theme, and is a good middle ground melody track to fill in between the intense tracks. Make sure to mention that to your boss for no apparent reason tomorrow. Just say “ Track 9, Night at the Opera, continues this mystery solving them, and is a good middle ground melody track to fill in between the intense tracks.” See what kind of reaction you get, and get back with me on that important research.

Track 10, Restrict Bond’s movements, is exactly that, restricting Bonds movements. So don’t get any ideas, not to restrict Bond’s Movements.

Track 11, yeah Talamone, the best shortest track of the soundtrack at 35 seconds! Very pretty as that Daa da deeee dah de daaaaah is played with some sort of light guitar. Something you might expect at Olive Garden restraunts.

Track 12, What’s Keeping You Awake, is the return of Vesper’s music. You know the girl Bond liked from the last movie. How rare is this, to have a returning theme for a character in a previous movie in a Bond score. Pretty rare! Except for Bond of course.

Track 13, Bolivian Taxi Ride, Bongos and deep electric guitar. There always has to be one bongo track-thank you very much from Russia with Love. Track 14, Field Trip, has a short 10 second Bond theme use and some more filler music. Track 15, Forgive Yourself, starts big for a couple seconds, and then belly flops to very quiet background music. Little bit of piano, how nice. Oh wait its more Vesper music, very sad and haunting. Bond must be having a bit of a sad day. Ah track 16, DC3 what ever that stands for starts the music picking up.

Track 17, Target Terminated, is the second best action track runner up to track 2. For sure some Target is about to be Terminated and that is felt through the entire track. Listen to this one when you are trying to tailgate and chase someone on the highway, it’s that intense and will help you with your kill.

Camille’s Story on track 18, is a stand out. Its soft and quite and kind of sad. Although, I am hearing some World is not Enough filler music in this track before you get to the good stuff that sounds like the X-files so says my wife.

Track 19, Oil fields begins the last few tracks. They are not as explosive as a typical Bond score goes, but they have much suspense. David Arnold is finally catching up to the legendary John Barry (11 Bond scores from Connery to Moore to Dalton) in creating music that inspires you to hide behind curtains and jump out at people.

Have you ever killed someone? That's what Track 20 is asking. Its a half rousing little track, sounds like beating someone up on an aluminum garage door. That's gotta hurt!
Track 21, Perla de las Dunas, is the longest of the tracks at 8 minutes. There is always one Arnold track that is super long and goes everywhere. This one is about 5 minutes too short, and doesn’t go as far as I would like. Kind of a bummer that this score does not have a lengthy track to finale on. Kind of makes the score fall flat again. This track does use the ‘dom doom doomm, dum duum duuum’. Which you hear in the main title song. Its not to impressive. I also hear some Die anther Day similarities with the Korean Son and Father music being slightly altered (but not to worry, no piercing electronic diamond cutting sounds that Die Anther Day liked to surprise you with). This track could put you to sleep towards the end before it picks up some slight usage of the Bond theme, but then puts you back to sleep, like this review.

If you have made it this far, I commend you! Track 22, ‘the Dead don’t care about Vengeance’. Hopefully your attitude after wasting your time reading all this. Some of those cool electronics theme from the end of track 2 finally shows up for a second and then goes away. I wish there was more of that. And track 23. ‘I never left’ finishes up the soundtrack by complete falling asleep.

Now for the title song. ‘Another way to Die,’ performed by Jack White & Alicia Keys. Another way to Die is to listen to this song. YUCK! Most reviewers came down pretty hard to the soundtrack to ‘The Man with the Golden Gun.’ The main theme was harsh, keyed in a weird key, and was all over the place. This new song takes the trophy. They must have used the Golden Gun theme for inspiration for the new song, because it uses the same, Dom, Doom, Dooom, the same DAH DAH DAH! and the same singing then pausing funny, then singing more, then pausing funny, then singing. It is so awful. What were they thinking. Sad, because Alicia Keys could have sung a fantastic Bond song. (not to say I don’t like the lyrics to Man with The Golden Gun, those were at least catchy, Another Way to Die is not catchy-Yuck!)

Overall soundtrack greatness? As you can tell from my complete rundown, it starts out great, continues with some fun stuff on the islands, bores for a bit, then comes back with some action, then hits you with a full heavy pillow of sleep. Not the best effort by Arnold, but nothing too horrible (except the horrible title song). One big mistake-Where the Q was the Gun Barrel theme. I know it gets left out of the bond scores all the time, but this score really needed more Bond theme treatment. Its nice when you get at least a short burst at the start, and then some other track with at least a couple minutes of treatment. I understand the new focus of these movies is not to be so campy as before, but part of the Bond experience is to hear the theme, the gadgets, and the silly one liners. Even the trailers have better use of the Bond them then this soundtrack. I am sure as always, it was missed and left out of the soundtrack, but during the movie some incredible track was used and skipped over on the soundtrack for one of those boring background cues.

I guess I would award the score three out of five My Little Ponies.

Well, if you need a 1500 worded review on Quantum of Solace for school, go ahead and cut and paste. I think there is enough detail for at least a C minus on your midterm. Just beware that this blog could be your professor’s favorite blog.

I guess I probably should go see the movie now.

Max Zorin

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