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Composed, Co-Orchestrated, and Conducted by:
James Horner

Co-Orchestrated by:
Randy Kerber

Produced by:
Simon Rhodes

Hip-O Records

Release Date:
October 21st, 2003

Also See:
Searching for Bobby Fischer
The Man Without a Face

Audio Clips:
1. Eyes of the Heart (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

13. Radio's Day (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

17. Resignation (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (226K)
Real Audio (140K)

19. Night Game (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

Regular U.S. release.



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Buy it... only if you are a maintaining a complete collection of James Horner's scores and are not bothered by the repetition of style and structures between his efforts.

Avoid it... if 26 minutes of pleasant, but monothematic, pastoral strings and piano from Horner (with twelve 1960's R&B songs) doesn't constitute an album purchase.

Radio: (James Horner) Based on a Sports Illustrated magazine article written by Gary Smith, the true to life story of Radio tells the personal journey of James "Radio" Kennedy, a mentally disabled man of no distinction (Cuba Gooding), who transforms from the mockery of his small South Carolina town to become the decades-long high school football team mascot and cheerleader. Most of the film is concerned with the first coach of the team (Ed Harris), who pulled 'Radio' from a humiliating situation and worked to fit him into a constructive role in the team and town. It's a syrupy, feel-good type of film that you'd frankly expect to see in Hallmark form on a cable television channel instead of the big screen, but the level of talent in the project separates it from those murky depths. One such infusion of talent was composer James Horner, whose output since the autumn of 2002 had been non-existent due to his involvement on several projects for concurrent release at the end of 2003. Music would play an important role in Radio because the title character's nickname is derived from the fact that he is always listening to a radio. When considering the location of the Deep South with the 1960's era (and the inherent racial implications of the story), the choice was made to use a rhythm & blues style of music for much of Radio. This effective application of style brought the film its heart through the integration of several 1960's and 1970's R&B tunes into the picture. The task for Horner would be to extend this style of music into his underscore, and he chose to do this through the use of yet another featured soloist in his ensemble. Such techniques were hardly new for the composer, though the genre was. For Radio, Horner employed the voice of 'India.Arie' to spice up his otherwise predictable and mundane orchestral score. In the neo-soul genre of music, India.Arie had recorded grooving soul music with an acoustic twist since her debut in 2001. A petite and young black song-writer and performer with dreadlocked hair, she had been described as a contemporary embodiment of Motown tradition. Outside of India.Arie's effective accompaniment in the score and title song for Radio, however, Horner misses the R&B mark completely, instead opting to provide the film with an extremely tired sound of light melodrama that he had utilized for countless previous assignments.

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Depending on how strongly you feel that this film is a racial-healing melodrama by definition, this lack of consistency in the styles of the songs and score may be disturbing. Instead of making much of an attempt to incorporate any rhythm or any blues, Horner revisits frighteningly familiar territory. He scores Radio with the same attention to Americana as he did with his early 1990's dramatic efforts, including Searching for Bobby Fischer and The Man Without a Face. It is often a gorgeous pastoral sound, with lush strings, repetitive thematic development, and easy harmony at every turn. It smoothly flows with the kind of heartening melodic tone that attracts so many listeners to Horner's music. But when critics blasted the film for being too syrupy, then Horner could very well be responsible for that result. He doesn't borrow from his previous scores in lengthy segments, drawing few direct comparisons during specific sequences, but the entirety of the structures and instrumentation goes through familiar motions. The most evident Horner technique at work in Radio is the statement of a theme followed by the low rumble of a bass-region whole note to complete the final chord (often led by a piano) a measure later. It's Horner's trademark way of emphasizing a synchronization point in the film, and this method of conveying dramatic weight does get tiresome in its perpetual application (unless it's whipped into a frenzy, as in A Perfect Storm). There is nothing in Horner's easy-going work here to distinguish Radio from his other, lengthier projects of a similar heart. In the "Night Game" cue, he does let rip with several blasts of electric guitar and snare drum, taking inspiration from high school marching band enthusiasm, but the majority of the underscore is held in place by pleasant strings and the omnipresent piano. If you're searching for truly inspiring music (especially in the sports arena), then Radio is the wrong place to look, because this score was never meant to inspire audiences in the same way as Jerry Goldsmith's landmark sports score for Rudy. The soul vocals by India.Arie are enjoyable, although their simplicity is compounded by the mundane end credits song (an adaptation of Horner's theme) that is labeled as the primary attraction of the soundtrack. On album, the brief 26 minutes of Horner material is probably not worth the investment when considering the general lack of originality offered in his undemanding, but bland presentation. In the list of the composer's works of the 2000's, Radio remains among those that generate the least amount of interest. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For James Horner reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.13 (in 98 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.19 (in 187,988 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.94 Stars
Smart Average: 2.97 Stars*
***** 95 
**** 124 
*** 157 
** 120 
* 114 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   radio country song
  mary -- 7/9/09 (11:46 a.m.)
   Re: Why does this music sound all the same?
  Mike Skerritt -- 11/24/03 (2:58 p.m.)
   Re: Radio
  Mike Skerritt -- 11/24/03 (2:49 p.m.)
   Re: Radio
  Amuro -- 11/18/03 (3:26 p.m.)
   Re: Radio
  Mike Skerritt -- 11/13/03 (7:41 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 71:46

• 1. Eyes of the Heart (Radio's Song) - performed by India.Arie, written by James Horner (4:44)
• 2. We Can Work It Out - performed by Stevie Wonder (3:18)
• 3. That Lady - performed by The Isley Brothers (3:15)
• 4. I'll Be Around - performed by The Spinners (3:14)
• 5. If You Don't Know Me by Now - performed by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (3:29)
• 6. Sha La La (Make Me Happy) - performed by Al Green (2:59)
• 7. We're an American Band - performed by Grand Funk Railroad (3:28)
• 8. China Grove - performed by The Doobie Brothers (3:17)
• 9. Wake Up Everybody - performed by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (3:45)
• 10. The Rubberband Man - performed by Spinners (3:36)
• 11. Be Thankful for What You Got - performed by William DeVaughn (3:28)
• 12. Going in Circles - performed by Friends of Distinction (4:11)

Original Score by James Horner:
• 13. Radio's Day* (4:21)
• 14. Gift of the Ball (1:47)
• 15. Learning the Ropes (1:55)
• 16. Being Left Behind (2:42)
• 17. Resignation (4:43)
• 18. Never So Alone* (7:14)
• 19. Night Game (2:41)

• 20. Radio - performed by Chuck Brodsky (4:08)

* featuring vocals by India.Arie

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Radio are Copyright © 2003, Hip-O Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 11/8/03 and last updated 3/13/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.