Independence Day * * * * *
Composed by David Arnold
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1113
(RT Disc 1 - 65:31, Disc 2 - 63:33)
It's been a long time in coming, but the expanded Independence Day is finally here - and what a nice package this is. Comprising two discs, it also features detailed notes from Dan Goldwasser and on first impressions, is well worth the money. Please note that I'm concentrating on what's solely new in this review. The first track features the revised main title as seen in the film and it's finally nice to have the real version in my player after owning the original CD that had the wrong one for all of these years. Moving on from 2: SETI, we then get some of the new stuff.
3: Mysto Bridge/Satellite Collision/Destroyers Disengage/Russell Casse-pilot is a cracking track featuring the ominous Alien theme three times and introducing Russell's 17-note theme as he crop-dusts the wrong field. 4: First Sighting/AWAC Attack is new, with ominous brass heralding the Aliens' arrival, then with a drum flourish, the AWAC investigates and Arnold hammers home the Aliens' theme on frenetic brass.
The music then passes through familiar territory onto track 8: Commence Lift-off/Parabolic Indenwhat, where Arnold fires in a drum backing as the President attempts communication with the Aliens.
Further into the CD, sad strings and horn play in 13: Marilyn Found, as Arnold backs the discovery of the First Lady with a lovely 5-note string-led melody. 14: Area 51/The Big Tamle/Formaldehyde Freak Show is absolutely superb, with the President's theme for Area 51, then echoed voices for the trip in, a lovely choir for the ship unveiling and finally echoed deep bass for the Aliens in the tank.
More slow bass is covered in 16: Slimy Wakes up, with an initial shock brassy synth hit as the creature wakes up and goes after the scientists. Slow repeating bass covers the President's arrival dialogue, then dissonant bass as the creature attempts to take hold of the President. The bass returns as he utters the chilling words "Nuke 'em". 17: Target Remains/Rescue covers the B-bomber nuclear attack with a fast-paced string alternated with brass arrangement and the Steven Hiller arrival at El Toro with a lovely flourish of strings for his reunion with his girlfriend. 18: The Death of Marilyn/Dad's a Genius builds in a slow version of Marilyn's theme on gentle brass and strings, Arnold utilising the flute for the child's innocence, then a fast building sequence as Levinson gets an idea from his father. More choir comes in on 19: Alien Ship Powers Up, where the President's theme plays as Levinson shows that he can take down the enemy shields. Solo flute covers Levinson's plan as he lays it out to the President.
Low music now comes into play in 21: Wedding with low strings for the ceremony as Arnold supplies a lovely theme for Hiller and Jasmine.
This is just Disc 1 over with: there's a whole lot more on Disc 2, starting with 1: Just in Case/Attacker Fires up as Hiller and Levinson share a bond in the Alien craft. Arnold's strings swell as they prepare for departure, building ever higher, ending on a brass hit. The next track is a real belter: 2: Launch Tunnel/Mutha Ship/Virus Uploaded. Arnold fires in a fast-paced cue with a lovely 4-note melody as the ship hurtles skyward, then with a soft change to strings, we enter space and the 5-note Alien theme blasts out. Drums now rally as we approach the "Mutha Ship" and with one more statement of the Alien theme, we're in. Here, echoed synth effects with solo clarinet depicting the little ship flying inside create a feeling of wonder. Arnold embellishes this further with echoed synth hits, then firing in the Alien theme once more for docking. Arnold employs a fast 10-note string-led motif for the uploading of the virus, then bombast to maximum as the planes fly to attack the destroyer. Why this track was ever left off is a complete mystery to me.
3: Hide/Russell's Packin'/The Day We Fight Back features yet more Arnold bombast counterpointed with strings, then Russell's theme blasts through the orchestra as we get the brassy exclamations as his last missile jams. Swirling strings cover the shock of this event and Arnold builds the orchestra as Russell decides to suicidally attack, the brass bouncing the Alien theme against Russell's in a final attack. Indeed, 4: He Did it continues this theme with the President's theme blasted out as the destroyers get finally hit, Arnold ending the piece with fast drums as we head back to the ship.
6: Victory features Arnold reusing the President's theme in grand fashion, then to a solo horn as Whitmore congratulates Hiller and Levinson. Arnold ends the piece with another brassy rendition of the President's theme and a lovely string/brass led crescendo. 7: End Credits is exactly as it was before, however, after listening to all of this, it's really a testament to Arnold's prowess at taking us through all the major themes within the film. Indeed, this was the first track played for the Fox executives and producers on the scoring stage. Now here, you might be thinking that's it, but you'd be quite wrong. For the purists there are a further 13 alternate takes from the main title to the end credits without choir. Strangely, some of these are the correct versions from the film and it's odd to lump them here.
Independence Day when it first came out on CD was a superb album, really showing off the talents of David Arnold. This release reaches quite another level - it's a marvellous album that elevates his talents way beyond what the first release ever did. It's an invaluable addition to anyone's soundtrack library as it's one of those moments where a composer gave his all to a project. Those moments are few and far between, so - as it's another Limited Edition" of 5,000 - make sure you get it while you can.