The Best Scores & Soundtracks | Part 1

Howdy!

How are you doing today? I hope you’re all well and have been enjoying your week. It’s almost the weekend so you should be happy about that, if not, I still hope you have a good one anyways!

If you were a fan of my movie lists that I did last year, then you’ll be happy that I am bringing them back for a little while. I actually miss doing these posts too, as I have lots of favorites that maybe you didn’t know that I enjoyed watching on TV. As it says on the banner above, I am mixing two of my loves together with discussing the best soundtracks and scores! I will be going in alphabetical order, so I am starting with scores this week.

Here are my Top 8 Scores Ever!

Avatar (2009) James Horner

Even though I am writing this post, I have never really liked scores as much soundtracks. It actually wasn’t until Avatar that I actually really started to pay more attention to them and figured out that these composers are the heart and soul of the movies, especially with some themes, like action, horror, or sci-fi..I don’t think people realize how much the music in the background pulls you into a certain scene until later on.

For Avatar, not only was this an action-based film but it had this fantasy or otherworldly quality to it as well. So, the scores incorporates some surprises from the film like the language of the Na’vi people. It is a thrilling movie and it needed an epic collection of music to accompany it and honestly to me, there are a small handful of composers that could fit that request and James is at the front of that list. Unfortunately, he will not be the composer who does the squeal as he died in 2015. I hope they can find another composer that can honor James Horner and the next Avatar film as well!

Avengers (2012) Alan Silvestri

I will forever love the first Avengers film, it is what brought me back into the Marvel characters and made me want to branch out of the X-Men stories too. I actually hadn’t watched any of the other Avenger movies from the start of Iron Man, beforehand, so after I saw this about ten times in one week (no joke!) I wanted to learn the origin stories of the others. And I was thrilled to see Agent Coulson come back to life for the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I have grown to appreciate Alan’s work back when he worked on the Back To The Future films, but I can honestly say that every time I find out that a movie that I am watching at that moment or have seen in the past, I can still follow the story and/or the music has enhanced the experience as a whole. I think that’s what I enjoy the most. Sometimes I’ll go and listen to the score if I need something to relax my mind and picture every scene of the film as it continues on –that was both a smart and/or stupid move on my part!

Bad Boys (1995) Mark Mancina

I have been in love with the movie Bad Boys since I was seven years old, so I should know the ins and outs of it by now right? Well, strangely enough I don’t, and to prove to you how this happened is explaining my obsession of the orchestral theme of the film. I am pretty sure it is the reason why I have always loved strong symphony pieces. I think it made the movie that much more enticing for me.

The bad part of it is that I grew up with the soundtrack but only to want to hear this track; I am forever searching for the rest of the score. In 2016, I found out it was finally released online with only 3,000 copies. So, unless it has made its way to YouTube in that time gap, I will probably never ever hear the whole score without having to watch the film entirely.

Catwoman (2004) Klaus Badelt

The film Catwoman with Halle Berry wasn’t hugely popular with anybody, but honestly it is one of my favorites! I am equally a fan of the score too, I think there are some similarities with the next score I will be discussing in a minute as they use a specific artist as their muse for it. In 2004, the trio girl group of the time was Mis-Teeq and their song “Scandalous” was a massive hit on the radio. I should know, my mom and I were pretty obsessed with it! Anyways, once I realized their voices were used on the score made me very happy because I thought this was a different way to make use of an action movie. Especially one with a sexy, female lead so to hear it translate with the music was an interesting aspect to the whole thing.

Divergent (2014) Junkie XL

Divergent was like Catwoman in many ways than one. Between having a strong female lead, it also uses an unique vocalist as its voice of the album and score. Ellie Goulding has an amazing voice, I will forever love whenever she works on electronica music, mostly because it always so light and emotional. I have a real weakness for her album Halcyon and apparently so did Junkie XL as they used her song “Hanging On” many times in the film. It wasn’t fierce, but more of a brighter and happier tune for Tris and her new life.

Harry Potter and the Scorer’s Stone (1999) John Williams

As most of you know, I am a lover of the Harry Potter series, but getting into the music was a little bit more difficult for me. I think by the time I became a fan of it, the series was practically finished. For this post, I am only focusing on the first film that John Williams worked on because there were more than one composer that helped create the scores for all seven movies! 

So, I have had to work my way back to see if I would appreciate it, if I actually paid more attention, because weirdly enough I have mastered how to focus on the words and music separately! It is easier to do with headphones on, but when it comes to movies you have to do it at a slower pace so in a way, you have to really enjoy the film if you want to accomplish your goal. Honestly, find the score of iTunes or YouTube, it’s just better that way!

Titanic (1995) James Horner

Yup, I have TWO movies that feature both director James Cameron and composer James Horner on my list!

Here is another example of really amazing work on both fronts, but this was my first score where I felt the two worked incredibly well! Since Titanic was a real experience and had a very personal story–although it was fictionalized–it needed a raw and emotional score to go along with that; to not only as tribute for the victims of the real shipwreck but for the lives of Rose and Jack too! Celine Dion was an amazing choice to bring onto the project, her voice is timeless and full of emotions, she is the voice of the many souls lost to the waters of the ocean.

Tron: Legacy (2010) Daft Punk

Sometimes I am really happy I decide to go alphabetical order because when you have a late addition to the party, and it actually lands in the perfect spot, is so nice!

Tron: Legacy came out in 2010, but I don’t think I got the chance to watch it until probably a year or two afterwards. Once I was finally able to see it though, it’s been one of my favorites. I mostly enjoyed the music aspect or it–okay, and a little bit of Olivia Wilde too! What is really interesting is that it is a big movie subjected around a game, so lots of action and for once the music sound like something you’d expect to hear or at least I would! Daft Punk are the ones to create the score itself and I absolutely love it! It’s different and fun, not only that but I think it made me enjoy the film even more because the sound were exciting so it made me want to continue with it!

As many movies as I have watched the fact that I have selected a small amount of scores for this post is pretty wild! What really gets me is that I didn’t even include Hans Zimmer, and I am a really big fan of his work! don’t worry though, at the end of these movie posts, I’ve got one more trick up my sleeve that I think you will enjoy too!

So are you a bigger fan of the scores or soundtracks? do you like any of the ones I’ve mentioned above? What is your favorite score of all time?

Album Review: “For The Throne” by Game Of Thrones, Various Artists

I don’t know what made me decide to do this review, but I thought it would be fun and I also really wanted to talk about how you feel about these types of releases, are you fan of them or think they’re kind of annoying because they don’t match what you pictured in your head for the last nine years? You’ll find out my answer soon!

This album is pretty hefty, which I was kind of surprised but grew to like it because that leaves more room for other artists and genres they mainly work in on a daily basis. It’s also a collection of popular and no-so-popular artists as there were two that I have never heard of before so I am a bit intrigued to begin with so that’s a plus! When I started writing this review, I was already listening to the album but quickly stopped before I went too far to come back. Hmmm… sounds like something you’d hear before going over The Wall. Anyways, let’s start, shall we?

The first track is called “Kingdom Of One” by Country singer Maren Morris. It is such an eerie, but soft song that definitely embodies that Game Of Thrones vibe, as it’s darkness and somber look with every episode. I think it has the right amount of edge and makes you curious to what the rest of the record will sound like after it’s over. It’s perfect. The first single to be released was “Power Is Power” by The Weeknd featuring SZA & Travis Scott. I thought it was interesting how different this one and the previous song were, but I liked them for what they bring to the album as a whole! However, it does sound like the Black Panther song, “Pray For Me” with this popping beat at the end of the chorus, so that pretty much bummed me out a bit.

Check out music producer Tommee Profitt and artist Fleurie’s cinematic release “Gloria Regali” that was also inspired by the HBO series “Game Of Thrones.” 

We move on to “Nightshade” and I cannot lie, the first thing that jumped up at me was the big green explosion in season six. It is sung by The Lumineers, and thanks to the band’s background in folk music, the vibe of this song is totally new. In a way, it has this peppy sound mostly because of the pianist using the higher notes, so it has this urgent but calming atmosphere. I kept thinking something else was coming but it never doesn’t. It just stays in this one place and usually I’d find this really annoying but I liked it. The fifth track is “Hollow Crown” by Ellie Goulding and this may be an unpopular opinion to some, but you can’t have a movie or in this case a television show soundtrack without Ellie Goulding in it. Now as I say that, I thought this wasn’t as good as some of her others. I figured it would be much darker like the title somewhat suggests, but it’s not like that at all. The beat is fairly boring; nothing about it really grabs my attention and I was really shocked by it.

Next there’s “Baptize Me” by X Ambassadors featuring Jacob Banks. This was one of the artists I was unfamiliar with, so I had to go check him out after I was finished. I swore up and down it was Rag’Bone Man with his deep voice. I enjoyed the laid back vibe of this one. It has a nice groove to it, and I thought it was weird because I didn’t think it was a GoT type of song but then I thought, we need a light=heart song because it’s not all about blood and glory. One song that I thought brought out the most GoT feelings, was “Too Many Gods” by A$AP Rocky featuring Joey BadA$$. This was very mellow as far as rap songs go, so I ended up really loving it! It wasn’t too much in your face and gave you this calming perspective. Our seventh track is “Turn On Me’ by The National. They are a rock band that have been making music since 1999. I really, really liked the softness of it. I am so used to hearing epic songs for movies that I keep forgetting that rock-pop could be a really good change, because there are sweet moments between our characters and so I have grown to appreciate this take on these songs.

The ninth song is “From The Grave” by James Arthur. I love James Arthur. He gives out so much emotion and a rawness that I feel like I need to hear on a weekly basis to remind me “this is what men sound me”. I really loved this one because I feel like it could be a dedication to the characters that died throughout the duration of the show. We move on to “Me Traicionaste” by ROSALIA and A.CHAL. I thought this was an interesting track because this completely in Spanish. So, we bring in other worldly sounds to the album and despite having a couple of rap songs included for some reason I didn’t think there should be a song like this on it, but I enjoyed having it be apart of it too!

Our next song is “When I Lie” and it’s a remix of the original version. It’s by Lil Peep and features Ty Dolla $ign too. One thing that I really liked about it was this hip hop mixing with rock sound. It’s one of my favorite combinations! I’m familiar with Ty but not Lil Peep, but I thought both of their voices were great in that echo-y sense and it all has a nice groove to it so I thoroughly enjoyed myself with this. We move on to, “Love Can Kill” by another artist I never heard of before, but I grew to like her voice anyways. Her name is Lennon Stella. She reminded me of Alessia Cara and Billie Eilish. Anyways, I like this pop-y thing going on, but I didn’t get it was inspired by GoT but then once I really paid attention to it, I thought it could work. The twelfth song is “Wolf At Your Door” by Chloe x Hallie. I think these girls each have a beautiful voice and the beat itself embodied that vibe of the show. It was eerie but pop-y at the same time, it’s really good honestly!

These are the last couple of songs on the album. We have “Devil In Your Eye” by Mumford & Sons. I was surprised we didn’t have an Ed Sheeran song on here, but if there was an alternative route I guess Mumford & Sons is a good way to go! This was a great song, I liked the lightness of it, between the lead vocalist’s voice and the overall sound itself. It was nice. The final song is “Pray (High Valyrian)” and I’m really glad to see this type of track on the album. It is an essentially an instrumental, there are words but you can’t really hear them clearly to make out anything but maybe “pray” and unless you are an expert on Valyrian language, you’re kind of screwed. However, the song itself is really good. It’s mysterious and makes you wonder if it’s a clue to the ending of the series.

I was really surprised with this album. I actually ended up liking the majority of the songs on it. I also really enjoyed the variety of genres on it as well. It gave everybody a chance to release something they thought needed to be expressed, whether or not they are fans of the show. However, I’d hope everyone involved are fans in the first place! I definitely didn’t picture any of these songs and the artists on this, but I thought it was really cool to see this basically come alive.Anyways, I definitely recommend any fan of Game Of Thrones to listen to this soundtrack!

Have you listened to the “For The Throne” soundtrack yet? If you have, what were your favorite track(s) on it? 

Album Review: “Infections Of A Different Kind (Step 1)” By AURORA

review2017This will hopefully be my last album review to have come out in the month of September! I am so excited to talk about this new release though, I love Aurora a lot. She is an interesting artist, she has a beautiful voice and the music she creates is usually right up my alley. If it’s not too much to say this, she’s like the Scandinavian version of Ellie Goulding! The reason why I say that is because they both have similar styles but I think Aurora brings out more emotion than Ellie, but of course that’s my opinion!

When I realized she had a new album out, I was really curious on what the “Step 1” meant at the end of the title. Does that mean, we’ll be getting another release or more in 2019? Technically, what I’m reviewing fits the normal standards of an extended play, as it only consists of eight tracks, but the songs themselves are all fairly long in length so maybe that’s the reason why it is called an album instead. I guess we’ll have to see later on what it all means.

We start off with her first single “Queendom” and I absolutely adore this song so much! I find it really empowering, but also it has like an unique take of what we think how fairy tales should sound like in a way too. It breaks out of the norm and the music makes it sound really fun and there’s no way you’re able to stop dancing or singing along to it. Next is “Forgotten Love” and the beginning started off softly but it grew a little in the tempo and became a bit upbeat during the choruses. I like the fast drumming, it gave the whole another edge. It went from this little frail thing into something stronger, but it wasn’t overwhelming, it was still very gentle like falling snow and dancing in it afterwards.

Third is “Gentle Earthquakes” and I’m not going to lie, but I kind of fell in love with the title first. The introduction is somewhat mysterious, you hear a statically voice in the background in the first two seconds before hearing Aurora’s voice coming forth, The broken voice stays throughout the song, so it adds another curious element. What I really enjoyed was once you got to the choruses, her voice would become very sharp and powerful against the pop-y beat. There’s a lot in this song, but it does sound like a gentle earthquake to me. No pun intended! We move onto “All Is Soft Inside” and the first thing you hear are these different bells, they’re in different pitches but they give a sort of exotic vibe to the song. I also love the usage of the orchestra in the background as well, I think it plays well in the story of the track. I’s all so good as it has this dreamy environment with all of these different sounds and tempos, I think it may turn into a favorite of mine!

Everytime I see this track “It Happened Quiet” I always want to put an “ly” at the end because it doesn’t make sense this way! Anyways, it’s not my song so I’ll just shut up. This has a gorgeous beginning with only a harp. It’s one of my favorite classical instruments ever. I think it’s very graceful and matches well with Aurora’s voice, but this is very quiet song, you can finally hear her at her finest without any interruptions. This is loving and sweet, ugh! I really can’t get enough of it! Next there’s “Churchyard” and I was wondering about this one too. When it starts out, she sings the words in a capella monotone type of way. This has a real gospel feel to it, because of the male choir in the background but the beat changes after a while into this synth-drum beast. The only way I feel like I can describe it is like how Madonna’s song used to sound in the 1990’s! It just has that type of vibe to it and even I thought it was strange, but I say that in a good way!

“Soft Universe” is another track that has an exotic take but the sound as a whole is actually pretty gentle. Although those high pitched “bam-bam” drums you hear throughout give it another layer, it still retains that softness but they also give it a fun edge to it too. I like the dark electronica feel it has, it’s just good! And last but not least, we have the title track “Infections Of A Different Kind” and I really enjoy hearing only her faint voice peeking over the piano in the background. I think the song in itself is very moving but while the song played out, I kept seeing a ballerina dancing elegantly in a studio full of mirrors in her light pink tutu, she looks so beautiful telling her story along with it. It’s that kind of song to see a prima ballerina dancing her best to something like this.

I have to say, I’ve listened to a lot of music over the years, but nothing has ever made me seen so many beautiful images before. I kept seeing different scenery like country sides covered with blankets of snow and then various types of dancers expressing themselves in such a neat way. Aurora has that way about her. She is just at one with music that there is hardly a separation between them. I have to say, not many musicians can do that nowadays! This was the purest sound I’ve found in a really long time. If she does plan on releasing anything else, I hope they sound a bit like this, if not better!

Have you heard of AURORA’s new album “Infections Of A Different Kind” yet? What was your favorite thing about it? Is there a song you love the most?

snowflake

EP Review: “Mad Love The Prequel” by Sean Paul

review2017

So, I have to say this firstly, I am a big fan of Sean Paul! In my teenage years, I would just listen to his music if I was wanting to dance, like no joke! I am still that way, but my hips ache and pop more frequently than before.

I am very excited to talk about this EP finally! I am very proud of myself, I actually stayed away from listening to it. I like to express what I’ve heard for the first time because I think when I listen to it multiple times before reviewing it, my general thoughts will change with each play. However, when it comes to dancehall or EDM music in general, my thoughts rarely change – I usually like it or I don’t. That’s just how I roll sometimes.

So, we’re going to get into this right now and hopefully you like it.

We start off with “Naked Truth” that has Jhene Aiko, and it’s very light, definitely not exactly what I was expecting. I usually prefer heavier songs to begin an album or in this case EP, but I like the balance between Sean and Jhene’s dynamic vocals. What I thought was interesting though was since Sean is originally based in Jamaica, why does this sounds more bollywood to me, especially the drum beats. I’m not saying I didn’t like it or anything, it was just the first thing that popped into my head. Second is “Bad Love” with Ellie Goulding, and I really miss Ellie! This is also a mild song too, but it still has a nice groove. It’s not overwhelming and works really well with Ellie’s soft voice. I had a hard time not dancing to this, so we’ll say it’s a winner!

Next we have “Mad Love” and it features both David Guetta and Becky G. After hearing the two quieter tracks, you have this sucker and I love it to pieces! This is another one that I love dancing to, both day and night. I really like the exotic feel, such a party anthem and Becky G’s vocals are fun and kind of seductive in a way. The only song that doesn’t have a guest artist on board is “Jump On It” and I’m very happy that there is at least one with just Sean, although I would have liked to have more but since this is an EP, maybe if he releases an album later on, I’m sure there will be more like this. Anywho, the song itself is pretty mellow, the beat isn’t crazy but I like it as it was though. It was sexy too!

From the moment I saw that Major Lazer would be on this “Tip Pon It”, I was instantly like, “well, this is going to be awesome” and it definitely didn’t disappoint! It was so much fun and I couldn’t stop dancing when the bass dropped. Although it wasn’t a big drop, the sound itself changed and got bigger and I think that’s why I ultimately ended falling in love with it! Next there’s “Jet Plane Trip” with an artist that I had only heard once and it was a couple of months ago, Stefflon Don. This is actually kind of calming, if that’s the right word to use, it had a nice rhythm but it has more of a slow dance vibe. It was good though!

These are the last three songs on the EP, and we have “Body” featuring Migos. One of the reasons why I really liked this was because it mixed both dancehall and hip hop together. I love that combination, and I actually liked Migos on the track. I’ve always been so-so about them, and I don’t know why so don’t bother asking me that question. Next there’s “Tek Weh Yuh Heart” with Tory Lanez. This is another good one! I thought at first I’d be a little bored with it, but it’s actually pretty great! I think Tory was a good addition to it, his voice is soft and goes with the beat well. The last song is “No Lie” with Dua Lipa, and I have heard this one other time before starting this review and I don’t think I liked it very much. I am turning into a fan of Dua Lipa, but I am also very picky with her songs. This has a great beat and it’s fun. It’s the ideal, light end of summer type of song to me.

I think in general the EP was very good. It had a lot of interesting artists on it, each brought their own sound with them. One thing that I always tend to have issues with is that whenever Sean Paul works with other artists, they seem to be more prominent in the actual song and he just kind of fades into the back, so it’s just the singers and the happy, dance-y beat. That’s why I ended up track #4 a lot more than some of the others.

Have you listened to Sean Paul’s new EP yet? What were some of your favorites and thoughts?

snowflake

 

Song Review: “On My Mind” by Ellie Goulding

I’ve been extremely excited to hear new Ellie Goulding music. I’ve been hooked to “Halcyon Days” lately so I’m happy to see new music popping up all of a sudden.

When I heard this song, which was Monday morning by the way! I was seriously in between at first. Do I like or do I not? It took me a couple of minutes but I really do enjoy it! It’s very chill but has a good poppy/first love kind of feel going on. The beat itself sounds very rock-ish, doesn’t sound like her normal electronica stuff. I’ve heard her new album sounds a little bit different from both of her previous albums and I honestly find this exciting! I need – scratch that, EVERYBODY needs to hear something different on the radio. It’s very catchy as far as lyrics go. Ellie Goulding has the power to draw out your inner most emotions in her music. Even though I prefer her uptempo songs than to the ballads, her music makes me feel good and makes me want to dance!   I can’t wait for her new album!

Something that I’ve always wondered in music especially with American and British singers. How come I can hear what British musicians are saying than to Americans? It doesn’t necessarily matter if they sing really fast or not but I can understand every word they say. I have never had a problem with understanding a word that Ellie has said, I know it’s kind of strange to say that but being able to keep up with the lyrics and the story of the actual song is very important when you go to learn it. My old choir teacher used to tell us that people shouldn’t sing songs if they didn’t feel anything or understand the concept of it. So even though I rarely pay attention to anything but the beat I do think it’s a true statement.

What do you think of Ellie’s new song?

A Rare Day With A Movie

09fd0b952bd236b2e64c466404556eeaI like how I was just talking about how my mom shortened our movie package recently and DISH decided to give us a free movie weekend. Of course, not everybody was as happy as I was. On Friday, I discovered that DISH had decided to take off two of our local channels. According to my parents, it’s playoff season so my dad is kind of freaking out at the moment. Since I don’t watch football or any other sport events unless I’m at my grandparents house. I was very excited for the additional choices on my guide. It’s the little things in life that make you happy.

Normally, you have to hold me down to get me to watch a movie all the way through. I honestly hate to take off days from blogging and social media. I could just listen to music 24/7 and that wouldn’t bother me one bit. I do love my movies though. I’m usually the type that finds a movie and records it (Mom was right, the DVR would become my best friend!) I’m an action and comedy type. I can watch drama and chick flicks but I’m not obsessed with them as I used to. I’ve already watched Divergent and I’ve got The Other Woman on my DVR.

I love movie trailers. They are the sneak peaks of movies that you should/want to see once it comes out. I always say I’ll watch it once it comes out on DVD, but of course I tend to forget about them too. Well, Philomena was one of these movies. I loved the trailer for it and I remembered when Judi won an award for her role as the main character. The movie came out in 2013. It’s now 2015 people! Apparently I still have quite a few movies that I still need to see! I was super happy to find it on Showtime. I had originally wanted to record it, but I also wanted to lay down on my bed for a bit too. I wouldn’t have to wait long either since it has started at 3:30pm. I shut off everything and decided to spent an hour watching the film. It was one of the rare days, I had even watched an hour Ellie Goulding concert on YouTube two hours earlier. I must be getting sick or something!

I feel like my nana, she hardly listens to any “new” music if we give her anything to listen to. I feel as though I’m that way with movies now. I feel like I’ve seen almost every storyline and concept that I’m tired of the repeated process. In other words, I’ve become quite a critic lately. It is extremely rare for me to find a movie trailer that I say “I want to see that movie” and after I’ve actually seen it go, “I loved it!” Well, this is exactly how this one went for me. I’ve never heard or read the story of Philomena Lee and the search of her long-lost son. I hadn’t been in 30 minutes before I started bawling my eyes out. It was a good cry though. Besides all the crying, I did get a good laugh and it did have great messages as far as having faith and hope. It was a heartwarming story of friendship, but also kind of bittersweet towards the end of the film too. I definitely recommend to anyone that is looking a movie to watch, but bring tissues! Lots of them!