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Comments about the soundtrack for Heartbeeps (John Williams)

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My Heart Will Beep On
• Posted by: Ken S   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Wednesday, December 26, 2001, at 11:39 a.m.
• IP Address:

As a response for Mr. Clemmensen's review, I have a couple of things I like to say about HEARTBEEPS.

I've been listening to HEARTBEEPS soundtrack now about two weeks, and with every listening the score gets only better and more magical. John Williams' music on this score truly comes straightly from the heart. The music is unashamedly childlike - just like it should be, when supporting a pure fairytale-like setting about robots who refuse to be just robots and share an adventure seeing all the wonders our little planet can offer.

Mr. Clemmensen blames the score for incorporating "childish electronics". I'm personally amazed that a guy so sincerely funny and childlike (as Mr. Clemmensen seems to be) can't find the pure wonder and childlike innocence of the HEARTBEEPS score.

Furthermore there are couple of bizarre things in the review. Mr. Clemmensen says that "[the score] is nothing resembling the John Williams known to the world" and yet a little bit later he claims that "the Williams style heard in [HEARTBEEPS] is simply a sci-fi spin off of the same pop-minded Johnny Williams music as heard in the late 1960's". - Make up your mind, Christian !!

In my opinion, with HEARTBEEPS John Williams indeed revisits his wonderful, energetic roots, but with flair and originality which ultimately led him finding a new sound during the 80's. HEARTBEEPS is really the Mother for E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, AMAZING STORIES (Title Theme and the episodes THE MISSION and GHOST TRAIN), and SPACECAMP - all the scores which are stronger in the emotional quality while being smaller, intimate, and warmer than Williams' more familiar swashbuckling-style of STAR WARS or INDIANA JONES trilogies.

I DO like most of the "orchestrally complex Williams styles of the early 1970's and beyond" (- SUPERMAN THE MOVIE being one of my absolute favorites -) BUT unlike Mr. Clemmensen, I DO also find HEARTBEEPS definitely LISTENABLE - and one of the most happiest listening surprises since my relationship with Williams' music started some 15 years ago. However, Mr. Clemmensen is right about the fact that the more recent Williams-fan may have serious troubles listening to a score like HEARTBEEPS (as well as FAMILY PLOT, HOW TO STEAL A MILLION, LOST IN SPACE, THE REIVERS, THE MISSOURI BREAKS, etc) because the primary style is lightyears away from the "usual Williams style". But again, all these minor scores play extremely important roles in John Williams' vast score tapestry - giving a more deeper, more intimate view to the composer's childlike soul, his witty sense of humor, and all the emotion which his heart is able to pour to these "minor" masterpieces.

But there's even more to HEARTBEEPS. If one has ever thought about "Williamsian Jerry Goldsmith", then HEARTBEEPS could be described as "GoldsmithianWilliams". The childlike (- sometimes truly tongue-in-cheek -) electronics and even some of the themes bear an uncanny resemblance to Goldsmith's work on TWILIGHT ZONE, THE MOVIE (especially the segment "It's a Good Life"), EXPLORERS, and even MATINEE. But the resemblance isn't annoying at all - because here it is ORIGINALITY. What may be annoying, is that if one doesn't like Goldsmith's sometimes-wacky-electronics, one may experience the same kind of irritation while listening to Williams HEARTBEEPS.

As a movie score, HEARTBEEPS includes a very surprising aspect in thematic development. HEARTBEEPS has a charming title theme that does have a very short appearance in the score itself, but during the End Credits it finally surfaces in all of its magnificence. The simple but distinct melody, composed for solo electronics and soaring violins, reunites the listener with the intimate John Williams "Magic Sound" of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, FAMILY PLOT, AMAZING STORIES, and SPACECAMP. Then the End Credits soar into the luscious Love Theme, without interrupting the magic at all, and segues into a reprise of the title theme. A True Encore Piece - and, when compared to HARRY POTTER, one with TRUE Music Magic with a MELODY and some wonderfully expanded passages.

I can understand that Mr. Clemmensen had troubles listening to the theme of the "Crimebuster". Initially, also I found it a little "annoying" on the contrast to the rest of the score - but within a couple of more closer listenings also these "Crimebuster" cues found their places in the score. Besides, the "Crimebuster" theme has a same, somewhat wonderfully zany, "poppish" sound on it as the STAR WARS "Cantina Band", "Lapti Nek" from RETURN OF THE JEDI, and the "Training Montage" from SPACECAMP - not to mention the original "Ewok Celebration" album version from RETURN OF THE JEDI; all these are quite rare cases of the wacky side of John Williams.

The robots themselves have another playful, wonderful theme which is occasionally interwoven with the love theme. An angelic female chorus makes something of a cameo appearance from Hitchcock's FAMILY PLOT (- which is a real treat for anybody loving the FAMILY PLOT score as much as I do).

As a wholeness, without seeing the movie, I give this score all the five stars its childlike freshness and energy deserve. PLUS, it's a most perfect score to listen especially during the Christmas holidays - it has warmth and magic enough to capture all the childlike essence of the most happiest season of the year.

With Heart,

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