Wednesday, July 29, 2015

10 Best Scores Turning 30 in 2015

1985 was a great year for film scores.  There were a few tough choices, but here's what I consider some of the best from the year.  So here is my list of the 10 Best Scores Turning 30!

Let's start the ranking!

10. A View to a Kill (John BarryWith the penultimate Bond score for Barry, he still packs a punch full of 80s synthesizer sounds, flute solos and good action cues for the large set pieces. While the Monty Norman theme doesn’t appear often in the film, some moments from past Bond scores appear, as well as instrumental renditions of the great Duran Duran title song.

9. The Black Cauldron (Elmer Bernstein) A forgotten Disney animated film, Bernstein’s score carries much of the film’s weight. It stumbles with jarring transitions of terrifically menacing and strangely comic moments. The dark moments work the best, which also showcase the Ondes Martenot. 

8.  Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (Danny Elfman) Starting the film career of Elfman (and the fruitful collaboration with Tim Burton), Pee-Wee is a quirky score that wears its inspirations on its sleeve.  Between the unique orchestrations and thematic work, the score matches the spirit of the film perfectly.  

7. Legend (Jerry Goldsmith) This truly epic fantasy score is one of Goldsmith’s best efforts in the genre. Effectively combining electronic and orchestral elements with a choir, the score matches the dark material in the film and romantic side better than the (semi) replacement soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. 

6. Return to Oz (David Shire) A hidden gem of a score.  Shire utilizes a large scale orchestra, and several varying musical styles and instrumentation for each specific character theme. With haunting sections and complex musical layers, the score stands out as one of Shire’s best.

5. Silverado (Bruce Broughton) One of the strongest scores in the Western genre, this Broughton score is rousing and then some. The main theme calls back the other Western greats, and brings back the large orchestra and brass to bring this score to the top.

4. Cocoon (James Horner) Horner’s score follows the heart of this film’s story. The emotional and magical moments are extremely effective with the reprises of his themes.  Also featuring big band writing, this wonder-filled score is a highlight of his resume.   

3. Young Sherlock Holmes (Bruce Broughton) 
A landmark for special effects, the score also stands out with a thrilling adventurous main theme that is woven throughout mixed with plenty of suspense. One of Broughton’s best scores, and worthy of a listen.

2. Out of Africa (John Barry) A lush orchestral score contains some of the most beautiful string melodies by Barry.  Matching the striking views of Africa, this score is a masterclass in lyrical writing. 

1. Back to the Future (Alan Silvestri) Both a start of a film music career for Silvestri and a crowd pleasing film, Back to the Future excels because of his score. The legendary theme stands out throughout the film and has stayed on the list of most recognizable movie themes since 1985.

Honorable Mentions: Witness, The Goonies, Brazil, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Flesh + Blood

Any favorites of yours from 1985 that I left off?  Comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Wow those are really some of the cream of the crop when it comes to 1980s film scores. Great to see some love for "Young Sherlock Holmes". Really one of the forgotten gems of 80s film music. "Return to Oz" is one I've never heard. I should check it out. Saw the movie years and years ago. "Cocoon" surprised me when I first got it. For some reason I don't hear folks talk about it too much. Maybe because they already know how great it is, but man it rose quickly to one of my top five favorite Horner scores form the 80s. Also glad to see "Black Cauldron" on there. Folks seems to forget that one too.