The Amazing Spider-Man (James Horner)

The Amazing Spider-Man Soundtrack Cover (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man Soundtrack by James Horner (2012)

Get it: If you enjoy the music of other Horner soundtracks but also like a bit of a modern flare

Don’t get it: If you prefer the sounds of the sequel soundtrack by Hans Zimmer

Immediately, in the first seconds of the soundtrack, it is almost like the listener is being placed in some sort of trance.  The music is mesmerizing.  Horner consistently makes beautiful use of the piano.  The combination of instruments mix perfectly (the piano, strings, and accenting brass).  The occasional use of vocals is just right.  Throughout the soundtrack is an excellent variation between action, confusion, playfulness, and beauty.

James Horner is somehow able to convey an amazing sense of awe, wonder, and mystery before turning straight to action and intensity.  Before long, though, it switches again to inspiration then back to wonder.  Parts of this soundtrack are reminiscent of Horner’s other scores such as The Mask of Zorro and A Beautiful Mind with a little bit of Titanic thrown into the mix.  There is also a good use of modernism in there as well.

It is easy to get lost in the music (in a good way).  Parts are heavy while other parts, such as “Playing Basketball”, are delightfully playful.  The note progression is proof that James Horner seems to know exactly where to go with his music.  He is able to achieve a fairy-tale like enchantment (almost like a spell) on one track but then another is clearly an action track.  Flashes of the main theme are used well throughout with good variations in each use.  It is easy to imagine what emotions a character is experiencing just by hearing the music and the emotions infused in it.  While this soundtrack may seem slightly redundant and perhaps boring to those who do not like this style, it is an excellent soundtrack for most.  It is a perfect example of a film score that deserves listening without a film to accompany it.  This is because it is true music that is made for the ear and not to assist the eye.

When the main theme is in full splendor it is inspiring, glorious, and uplifting.  It is so easy to see Spider-Man swinging through the streets of New York City.  Overall, this is an amazing soundtrack that places as one of the best to come out in the 2010’s.

Click here to listen to the last track (the end credits begin about halfway through this clip)

Click here to shop for the soundtrack

The Avengers (Alan Silvestri)

The Avengers Soundtrack Cover (Alan Silvestri)

The Avengers Soundtrack by Alan Silvestri (2012)

Get it: If you love action and consistent suspense in a soundtrack and like the occasional splash of the main theme

Don’t get it: If you are looking for a soundtrack that is good to listen to without any visuals and are hoping for a large range of melody

The Avengers was the movie of 2012.  The world was watching and waiting for something great.  Alan Silvestri had an enormous task in writing a s0undtrack that not only matched the film, but also matched the audience’s excitement and anticipation.  Silvestri delivered on those points.

At the very beginning of the soundtrack, Silvestri incorporates an excellent “uneasy” feeling.  Also in the beginning, although it continues throughout, he teases the listener with hints of the famous main theme.  Overall, this soundtrack is very good action music.  The highlights are when he gives hints of the main theme, but otherwise it feels a little empty.  This is not placing any blame on Silvestri since he was just matching the script which did not allow for a broad range.  In fact, even director Joss Whedon said, “Alan has provided a score that is so specific and so narrative-based,” which, again, isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t, however, leave much room for a melody worth listening to without visuals.  Whedon continued to say that the score is powerful and great.  Power really did come through when Silvestri used brass and strings in such a way that evoke a true sense of might.  The rhythm has the qualities of rather generic action movies, but even still it is done well.  It also seems that there are one or two fun references to Captain America’s theme thrown into the score, which is a nice reflection of Silvestri’s other work in the series.

This gives a great mood for the film, but isn’t really one to listen to without the film to accompany it.  There are multiple splashes of excitement in the soundtrack, but they only last for a relatively short time.  The rare use of the main theme is understandable given the movie context and the characters not truly uniting until closer to the end.  When it gets exciting, though — it gets exciting.

Then comes the main theme.  The rhythm of the strings is exhilarating.  The entrance of the brass only adds to the already awesome sound.  When the percussion enters, it is almost slightly startling but more than welcome.  It slows for a moment, again allowing for anticipation to build for one last time.  Then, at the height of the track, the music becomes a symbol of power, might, and invincibility.  Hearing this almost makes the listener want to go out and save the world.  Anyone who has seen the film can clearly picture the heroes gathered together in the middle of the battle at that pivotal moment.  This track is truly the theme for those characters.  Anyone would be hard-pressed to write another theme that suits the heroes as well.

Click here to listen to the Main Theme

Click here to shop for the soundtrack