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Comments about the soundtrack for American Beauty (Thomas Newman)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review #1
• Posted by: Joseph Toscano   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, at 3:35 p.m.
• IP Address:

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

American Beauty: (Thomas Newman) The best word to describe this score is eccentric. In that, it's the perfect score for the film, which has been hailed as one of the oddest but most effective films made recently. Newman's score to American Beauty is practically interchangeable with this year's The Green Mile, seeing as how he employs just as many funky instruments as he did in the score for the Darabont film. Save the rather interesting xylophone/marimba riff, this score is typical Newman schtick; light string permutations, soft piano wanderings, nothing too heavy in the theme department. Newman, as usual, focuses on the atmosphere more than recurring themes.

The extremely memorable xylophone/marimba riff that Newman uses in tracks 1 (Dead Already) and 19 (Still Dead) appear in other tracks in softer forms. A very unique and interesting sound that I myself will remember for some time. And, when combined with the film, it makes a powerful connection. If we put aside, for the moment, that we're listening to a Thomas Newman soundtrack, this score is quite astounding. It's got a very different sound to it in comparison to traditional soundtracks, and it's something that I'm sure director Sam Mendes was pleased with. However, if we're aware of the fact that the score is by Newman, it's nothing all too new from him.

Thomas Newman is one of the most important composers in the film-scoring business at the moment. With American Beauty, he's proven that his style of composition is his own; it's fresh and new, something that nobody else has yet to really cover. But if he would add a bit more variety between each score, it would make a world of difference, in my opinion. American Beauty is quite functional as a score during the film, but as was the case with The Green Mile, this score isn't one which can be listened to over and over aside from the film. ****

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