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Comments about the soundtrack for X-Men (Michael Kamen)
Cues from cartoon

Eric James
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Cues from cartoon   Friday, May 9, 2003 (3:21 p.m.) 

I suppose with all the X2 hype I thought I'd post some after-thoughts on X1. In my interpretation of any really thematic orchestral cues, Kamen pretty much deliberately used the cue from the original cartoon opening theme a while back. Y'know the real X-Men blotchy-drawn one with great voice actors, not the new clean X-Children series or whatever you call it.

Its easily noticable in the end of Ambush (2) 2:30ish where it starts with brass and then into strings. Then it goes into a march with the brass again. Beginning of Magneto's Stand off (7) has a small show. And Final Showdown (11). Its a triplet following with a sort of quarter-triple which in the cartoon was sounded by a guitar constantly.

Its kind of interesting because this little cartoon theme is about Kamen's rock roots yet he never uses that motif in the guitar. Shuki Levy, who composed it, flooded the corny-theme market during that time and he helms the (chronically never ending) musically challenged Power Rangers series. Embarrassingly, a few of Levy's movie songs go up in history. Perhaps Kamen thought it wisely not to really explore the motif for reasons its so easily recognizable and the fact the composer who created it could AND CAN never whip out anything better than goofy openers.

Of course you can't really discount Shuki for doing his job and after 6-10 Power Rangers series, 2 movies and probably millions of dollars (he is the executive producer of PR), you have to wonder if he'll care if someones going to take his little old X-Men cue.

In deference to all those articles out there who wished the theme was explored in full glory, I will have to agree with Kamen setting his own tone. The theme is almost a distraction he hopes never to use. Ironically, most his work here is quite distracting in dissonance. So its an interesting path Kamen took. X1's minimal orchestration reminded me a lot of Mark Snow and the X-Files movie similarly with a lot of harp usage. Kamen here I feel is richer with the last track and opening track being the meat of the orchestral center of the album. (wow did that sentence make sense?)

Another last note, somebody actually took the X-Jet track and transposed it for windband. Thats right, someday you could be hearing 7th graders playing out an absolutely riveting performance of X-Jet. I haven't heard it yet (thank goodness, nobody should waste their money on it) but from previews of the score copy (through JWpepper for instance) don't really indicate any inclusions of the tear-jerking harmonies from the Death Camp or sensitive melodies from Logan and Rogue. Oh well, 7th graders just want to hear some more Power Rangers right?

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