May 21, 2011

141: Favorites XVII

There's booming, bass-heavy music coming from the park across the way, so: five favorite soundtracks in my iTunes library this week.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Sure, it gets overused during TV golf coverage (why? I don't know) but don't try to tell me you didn't walk out of the theater humming the now-familiar "He's a Pirate."  There's something very sweeping and adventurous about Hans Zimmer's score for the first Pirates film.  The music in the sequels wasn't quite as good, perhaps because it was very reminiscent of what we heard in the first, but there were some really good pieces to come out of the whole series -- I particularly enjoyed "The Kraken" from Dead Man's Chest.

Beauty & the Beast
Angela Lansbury singing that title song is intrinsic to my childhood.  Also, "Gaston" came on my iPod while I was in the car the other day, and I had forgotten how utterly ridiculous the lyrics are.  Best of all is "Be Our Guest," sung by the late, great Jerry Orbach.

The music, like the film, is delicate and pretty and just a little bit odd.  For fans of the piano, it's happy listening.  It was my daydreamy summer driving music for a while, and it's basically the perfect background study/work music. 

North & South
I don't think the BBC ever released the soundtrack for its TV miniseries adaptation of the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, but that's okay.  I don't mind having to watch Richard Armitage mope around every time I want to listen to the music.

Star Trek, or anything else by Michael Giacchino
Nothing makes you feel like you're in an iconic film quite like "Enterprising Young Men" from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (enjoy the song and long, slow pans across the Enterprise in the video below).  Michael Giacchino is my favorite film and television composer in recent years, having scored Lost for the full run of the series, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up (and won an Academy Award for the latter) for Disney/Pixar, and almost everything J.J. Abrams has done since Alias.  There's a fun quality to his compositions, most of which are beautiful, and some utterly inspired (e.g. using bits of plane wreckage as percussion instruments for Lost), and I enjoy his often tongue-in-cheek song titles.  Best of all, it's not music that takes me out of the scene when I'm watching (like, say, some of the more bombastic music from Doctor Who), but something I enjoy going back and paying attention to when I realize I'm humming it hours later.


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