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Comments about the soundtrack for Medal of Honor (Michael Giacchino)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: Joseph Payne
• Date: Thursday, May 15, 2008, at 8:46 a.m.
• IP Address: donated.filmtracks.com

(The following donated review by Joseph Payne was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in May, 2008)


Medal of Honor: (Michael Giacchino) Any CD collector's dream! From the moment you first hear this soundtrack, it will never leave your side. Michael Giacchino shows his talent in this soundtrack, and it is only his second U.S. soundtrack (What we have here is a future John Williams!). Never before have I heard such inspiring, gorgeous, tense, quiet, bombastic, and fast music! This soundtrack uses a good mix of all the classical styles, and every track is sure to bring a surprise around the corner. Although Giacchino is very similar is his music style to John Williams, he tends to use strings more often then Williams. (especially the cellos) It is a rare occasion to find a break in the music that the cellos aren't busy playing their complex music.

The first track on this CD starts with background strings and the low, quiet drums of war in the distance that signals the great war machine soon to come in future tracks. A lone trumpet starts off as lead instrument, playing "Patterson's theme" in a soft arrangement. (It is a rare occasion to hear Patterson's theme in a quiet, peaceful mood) Strings then join in and once again play the inspiring theme before it fades off, and snare drums start to grow louder and louder, giving you a hint to the future Lt. Patterson has ahead of him. After four measures of snare drum beats, Patterson's theme reaches its peak, loud and swift, yet keeping its peacefulness. You can hear the cellos in the background, sawing away at their low notes. A flute plays its notes high, giving the music that proud, allied sound that brings your thoughts back to World War II. The track ends quietly, with the cellos still playing their low notes, and a lonely bell finishes the music.

Track 2 well describes its name, having that tense, slow sound, and never knowing what surprises might be lurking about. After two minutes of music that has you on your toes, violins announce danger is ahead, and low brass make it a scary-sounding occasion. You can tell the music carries that German sound, brassy, and always surprising you at the least-suspecting moments. The music continues to grow louder, accompanied by a few woodwinds, 'til the proud, brassy German theme announces the appearance of German troops. The German theme will always give you a shiver down the spine, with the cellos in the background and combined brass instruments that gives the music a clear picture of Patterson's situation, and the danger he is in. The music then quickly backs off, and ends with low strings.

Probably the best and most popular track of this CD, "Taking Out the Railgun" is the ultimate track that depicts Giacchino's great ability to write complex music. (You can really here the cellos in this one!) The music begins with low cellos, making you already alert for anything around the corner. How Giacchino thought up this tune, I don't know, but it's incredible! The music then repeats itself, this time accompanied by violins and brass. The music then has a more peaceful middle-section. The music then once again begins to build, swift and tense. It then reaches its peak (a BIG peak!) where combined strings and brass play the complex theme, and its density tells you that Patterson hasn't won this engagement with the Germans without a fight. This track has a superb ending, which I can't begin to describe.

Track 4 starts with an oboe in the background, and brass playing fragments of Patterson's theme in this hopeful-sounding track. The music then goes on to play Patterson's theme again, this time, not as broken-up as it was previously played. Brass then take over in an eerie-sounding composition, where it depicts Patterson's desperate situation. (and as usual, cellos are playing in the background, giving it you a hint to a German surprise) as strings continue to go higher and higher up the scales, it bends into a gorgeous-sounding part where just the strings are playing, giving the music a sense of hope. It then returns to the battle-style music. Parts of the German theme are heard toward the end of this track, implying that the Germans are doing everything in their power to hold back Patterson and to prevent the success of his mission. The music then returns to the oboe in the background, and a few rings of a bell. A volley of drums and strings ends this track.

Track 5, "The Radar Train", is tense from the start, revealing Patterson's dangerous mission of preventing the German train from bringing radar equipment to the battlefront. The music begins with a repetitive drum beat, and a bell brings out the music as strings play a tune that is always drifting from one side of the scales to the other. The music continues to grow louder 'til brass announce the German theme, only to be followed by Patterson's theme, where strings and brass switch off and on as the lead instruments. The music grows tenser, revealing Patterson's situation. The German theme is then heard again, revealing Patterson's encounter with German soldiers. Giacchino uses a good mix of the brass and string section in this track, and ends it with a French Horn and descending strings.

Track 6 is all about tense music, and it soon becomes obvious that Patterson will have to watch the corners carefully, knowing that his life will be at risk if he makes one slight error. The woodwinds are used periodically in this track, along with the low cellos. Roughly three minutes into the music, Patterson's mission becomes obvious. Rescuing a captured G3 officer while trying to hide his identity in a German uniform. Nearing the ends of the music, cellos take over for a short time, and the music ends abruptly Track 7 starts much different then the previous track. starting with low piano chords and a timpani, which introduces the deadly German Panzer attack. The music continues to grow tenser and swifter, and it's easy to picture the tanks getting closer and closer. Piano chords continue to play the Panzer theme, while strings play in the distance. About two minutes into this track, Patterson's theme is used in broken fragments, giving you a sense of hope against the overpowering Axis tanks. Nearing the end of the music, it changes its style abruptly, where strings bring out the sound well. Brass gives this track a great ending, giving you an overview and the fierce attack made by the Panzers.

Track 8, well, I guess the word "awesome" would sum this track up best. Giacchino uses a terribly complex theme in which brass and strings are constantly playing. In this track, Lt. Patterson is on a mission to destroy a German-occupied water power plant in Norway, thus making the music swift and exciting. Patterson is in trouble from the start, being chased down by a German icebreaker and under machine gun fire. This music probably has the string section worn out by the time it's over, where their is rarely an occasion where they aren't busy with the complex music. Constantly drifting from one side of the scales to the other, the strings bring out this track best. As the music continues to grow louder and swifter, brass announce the mighty German theme. (if you really want to hear the German theme in action, this is the place to hear it!) The music following the German theme is quieter than it was previously played. As it continues to grow quieter and quieter to an expecting ending, Giacchino surprises his listeners with a sudden and loud theme, in which fragments of music heard earlier on in this track are heard. It then ends, and THIS time, it really does end this track (every track on this CD has an excellent ending). The U-boat is much different then most of the tracks on this CD. The music is quiet which once again has you wandering what awaits in the future. The lonely flute and trumpet are the primary instruments, playing a quiet solo. Strings in the background play a rhythm that becomes familiar in a few later tracks.

Track 10, "Merker's Salt Mine", is one of the inspiring tracks of this CD. Starting with four measures of low-playing cellos, in which play an irregular rhythm, yet fitting it's category perfectly. This music has you wandering at the site of the hidden German treasures. As Patterson continues deeper into the mine, you can sense that the Germans aren't blind to Patterson's presence. Strings continue the theme of this track, before it reaches its peak, where brass and strings join in. It ends soon after, where the four measures of low cello notes are played before the end of this track. Track 11 through 14 are all very similar in style, only they all use different themes. (One reason it took Giacchino so long to write this soundtrack was because he wrote an individual theme for every track) The woodwinds are used more often in these tracks then any of the others. Track 12 is probably the best of the four tracks, where the German theme really shows its might. This track starts eerie, making you feel as if your taking a visit to a nearby swamp. Roughly 1 minute and a half into the music, snare drums announce that a big surprise is around the corner. Suddenly, the German theme interrupts the peaceful music. (of all the different arrangements of the German theme, this one if probably the best) The music continues to the end with cellos and violins.

Track 15, "The Jet Aircraft Facility", is the most inspiring track of the CD, using and starting with an incredible arrangement of Patterson's theme. Strings and woodwinds play in the background, really making this track sound like flying music. Brass play Patterson's theme again, before backing off, and the strings grow quieter. A flute plays a more peaceful tune before growing again into the swift music. As the music grow louder and louder, it is possible that an air battle could be taking place after the German theme interrupts the flute. This track ends the way it started, strings playing their low theme (This track is really awesome!).

Track 16 is quite a surprise to its listeners, where Giacchino throws in some 1940's band music. (Ha! I'll let you surprise yourself by listening to this track!) Well, you might think that track 16 is the end of the CD, but it isn't...Their are 4 hidden tracks following track 16, all of them worth listening to. (No, I'm not going to tell you what they are...That's the advantage to buying a CD with hidden tracks. Discover what they are!) To sum up this soundtrack, Giacchino did a downright incredible job on this soundtrack. EVERY collector should have this CD. Believe me, you will not regret it. This is the next John Williams we have here! *****






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