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Goodbye Lover
Album Cover Art
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, and Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Larry Groupé
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Milan Records
(April 13th, 1999)
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Regular U.S. release.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciate the wild, rhythmic and instrumental creativity of John Ottman's previous Incognito and seek an erotic twist on the same general idea.

Avoid it... if you prefer meaty substance over clever, pseudo-noir style.
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WRITTEN 7/11/99, REVISED 5/5/08
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Goodbye Lover: (John Ottman) Solid "R" ratings were invented for films like Goodbye Lover, a circus act of sex, murder, and profanity that doesn't make much sense with all of its double-crosses and nonsensical plot twists. The noir style of Goodbye Lover is its dominant trait; the haphazard story is largely irrelevant. Four highly flawed characters involved in affairs and crime with one another say and do the ridiculous, all the while Ellen DeGeneres' witty cop pursues them. The remainder of the cast is lost in the performances, and it's truly amazing to recall that this director, Roland Joffe, was the same person who brought The Mission and The Killing Fields to life. Appropriately derided by critics, Goodbye Lover quickly slipped from the spotlight, and yet none of that failure can be attributed to composer John Ottman. On occasion in the late 1990's, Ottman had a habit of letting his wild creativity get the best of him, providing scores that on paper may seem outrageous but in the rendering are extremely likable. This often happened when Ottman pulled inspiration from a specific genre of music and twisted it into his own universe of thought. In the case of Goodbye Lover, Ottman takes the jazzy noir concept and perverts it into a playful comedy routine. Unorthodox instrumentation and distinctive development for the main characters merge with the staccato rhythms that defined Incognito. A quirky personality that evades conventional boundaries causes Ottman's work to be stunningly unique against the bland backdrop of the plethora of mundane scores that exist today. The devious character of Ottman's music for scores like Goodbye Lover is precisely the reason he was often described in the late 1990's as being the wacky composer that collectors thought Danny Elfman would remain. In this case, some of the blend of orchestral action and solo jazz elements is so well realized that you get the impression that Ottman would be at home in David Arnold's sound for the James Bond franchise. It is unfortunate that the composer's move towards the mainstream in the 2000's pulled him away from such wildly creative projects.

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Average: 3.18 Stars
***** 56 5 Stars
**** 51 4 Stars
*** 54 3 Stars
** 33 2 Stars
* 43 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 36:52
• 1. Main Titles - Sandra's Theme (2:44)
• 2. Sandra Follows (1:25)
• 3. The Gears Turn (1:46)
• 4. Peggy's Story (0:36)
• 5. Observations (0:54)
• 6. Sex with an Olive (1:35)
• 7. Victims (1:28)
• 8. A Broken Heart (1:09)
• 9. Rendezvous (1:01)
• 10. Something Real (1:16)
• 11. Goodbye, Ben (2:26)
• 12. Crime Scene (1:41)
• 13. Protecting an Investment (2:06)
• 14. Goodbye, Lover (1:32)
• 15. Worried Widow (2:00)
• 16. Don't Walk Away from Me! (1:40)
• 17. The Sins Begin (1:26)
• 18. Scherzo Surprise (1:39)
• 19. Plan A (2:15)
• 20. Evidence Suite (1:59)
• 21. Pompano Persuasion (1:48)
• 22. The Prescription (0:57)
• 23. Sandra Screw (0:29)
• 24. Being so Bad (0:51)

Notes Icon
The insert includes credits and the following lengthy note from Ottman about the score:

    "It's always exciting for any composer to be given the chance to expand upon his or her style by being offered a project which can reveal a new side. After seeing Goodbye, Lover, I was driving home from the screening and pieces of the film's theme were already coming to me. Being such a strange film, finding the right colors was a hard egg to crack. But thank goodness for my psyche; [director] Roland Joffe and the gang responded to it, and we stayed in good sync from that point on.

    The score's mission was to let the audience know, with a wink of an eye, that they were allowed to have fun with this film despite the fact that characters are murdered along the way. Goodbye, Lover is a wry, delicious thriller that's hard to pigeonhole, and its music had to define this skewed world. I wanted the flavor to be playfully devious, mischievous and erotic, yet not at all goofy, as this would undermine the maturity of this different film.

    Sandra is a bad girl who really never considers what she is doing as terrible. I tried to make her theme reflect this bizarre symbiosis of innocence and malevolence. One of Sandra's many quirks is listening to Tony Robbins self-help tapes and also to The Sound of Music. So as an in-joke I built little "isms" from Rogers' & Hammerstein's score into her theme, mostly utilizing "My Favorite Things." Later in the film, every time Sandra's mischievous gears are turning, a repetitive motif loosely drawn from "My Favorite Things" plays, reminding us of Sandra's conflicted psyche, as well as cementing Sandra more strongly to her theme. The theme itself is comprised of three main elements I could draw from throughout the film: A string ostinato backdrop reflecting slyness and plotting; the main melody characterized by glockenspiel, harpsichord and piano with saxophone reflecting her playful naughtiness; and a melancholy secondary theme on piano addressing her child-like poutiness, (featured in the cue, "A Broken Heart.") All of these elements intertwined, especially in the opening titles, make up "Sandra's Theme." The highlight of the scoring process was asking the orchestra to be as "erotic" as they could be. I could tell this wasn't an often-heard request. Another off-kilter character is Peggy, played by Mary-Louise Parker. Her's is more of an "up-to-something" theme, characterized by staccato flutes accompanying her mysterious activities. In one scene, (the cue "Observations"), Peggy's and Sandra's theme collide at the end, as Sandra spies on Peggy.

    Ellen DeGeneres' Detective Pompano is a cynical character whose life is a sort of regretful purgatory. Although she doesn't warrant a major theme, I tried to use the scenes of Pompano's investigation as musical opportunities to enhance the audience's insight into her character. Many of these begin with the killer's murder motif (as in "Victims"), but soon merge into Pompano's music characterized mostly by piano and clarinet. The cue, "Crime Scene" displays Pompano's theme most succinctly, as this is when we're introduced to her. Yet as soon as she steps into Sandra's fray, the latter's music takes over, as every deed and its result ultimately boils down to Sandra, making her theme the film's signature.

    It was a lot of fun working with Roland and the team at Regency on this odd little film that for some strange reason was dear to all of us. Maybe we're all just a bit strange. Maybe."
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Goodbye Lover are Copyright © 1999, Milan Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/11/99 and last updated 5/5/08.
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