I Can’t Hum Along To This!

Is it just me, or has there not been a good, rip-roaring, hummable, almost pop-hit quality movie score in a long time?

When I was a kid, my aunt bought me the soundtrack for “The Empire Strikes Back”, and it became my first favorite album. I knew it like the back of my hand, and still know large portions of it. The rollicking adventure, the fascistic bombast of the Imperial March, the soft-focus love theme… It’s a work of musical storytelling genius.

I didn’t catch “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” for a long time, but “Temple Of Doom” introduced me to the Indiana Jones theme. To me this is the perfect adventure theme. Strong, determined, with a hint of over-cocky swagger, it’s Indy personified. John Williams is a genius, if only for these two works alone.

But my soundtrack fandom doesn’t stop there. Danny Elfman carved a niche with his quirky tunes. From the funhouse-gone-mad “Beetlejuice” score to the midnight-black danger of “Batman” to the sorrowful revenge-fantasy that perfectly describes “Darkman”, he quickly rose in the ranks of score composers and earned several places in my “soundtracks” collection.

The last new, wonderful movie score that came out (that I can think of, at least) was James Horner’s score for “The Rocketeer”. Of particular note is the beautiful first track (“Main Title / Takeoff”)You know that he hit a goldmine when movie studios still use that track in trailers and previews. It’s really good stuff.

I haven’t heard anything from movies in a loooong time that makes me hum it for days, making me want to go out and buy the soundtrack. There’s some good scores out there, granted (the Lord Of The Rings movies had good stuff), but nothing really sticks. The days of really good film scores seem at an end for me, and these days, soundtracks are chock full of “flavor of the minute” pop and rock bands.

PS: Can someone tell me why the producers of 1994’s “The Shadow” saw fit to put a Taylor Dane pop-song on the soundtrack, and Kenny G. music in the Cobalt Club scene? Ugh.

Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 7:02 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. These are 2 tunes I hum:
    James Bond being chased on the waterfront in Chiba, Japan

    Bond on Little Nellie. I LOVE the alternate 007 Theme.

    When I go online with Goldeneye: Rogue Agent to fight against other players, I play them on my mp3 player.

  2. The Sky Captain score was great.

  3. True. It just didn’t become fixed in my head as fast as scores did in the past. Good call.

  4. Oh, and Bond: always hummable.

  5. Where will this generations’ “Bridge Over River Kwai”?

    This generation will be lost if it does not have movie scores to hum. Lost I tell you!

  6. Amen. When was the last time you heard something new that was as instantly recognizable as the theme from “Jaws”? Or the shower-scene music from “Psycho”?

  7. Ahem.


  8. LOVE the original score for Batman.

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