- Audio CD (30 July 2002)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Soundtrack, Import
- Label: Hollywood
- ASIN: B00006AWG7
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 458,599 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
There is a Bernard Hermann-esque quality to the MAIN TITLES, according to Newton-Howard he composed this piece of music early and it ended up without a place amongst the action so it was used during the titles, a brilliant decision. This short and snappy intro is quite different to the creepy piano motif used elsewhere in the score and it works to great effect. The shrieking violins and urgent pace of the piece work to make the audience feel uneasy, making them expect something appropriately Hitchcockian in style and atmosphere, it doesn't let you relax because that initial repsonse stays with you throughout the film, you expect *something* to happen.
Newton-Howard uses a three note piano motif throughout most of the rest of the score, a sort of melody which can be powerfully emotional and magical one moment and altered to become chilling and creepy the next. Shyamalan says that he never imagines his films needing music until the last moment, I can't imagine Signs working with anything but a score of this type. You barely notice the melodies and cues working away in the background to trigger emotional repsonses to the pictures onscreen, which I why I believe this score is so great.
The score starts with a bang and then like the film builds the tension slowly with cues such as BRAZILIAN VIDEO and INTO THE BASEMENT until the amazing finale HAND OF FATE PARTS 1 & 2 where Newton-Howard releases that tension with a wonderful, orchestral sweep and soar that turns 'the prickly things on the back of your neck' into big lumps in your throat!
Though the feeling throughout Newton-Howard's score to SIGNS is one of suspense and building fear he also weaves in some very tender and heart-tugging moments that take you by suprise when they emerge from such apparent despair, BOARDING UP THE HOUSE is a perfect example of how to manipulate the troughs and peaks of audience emotion with scoring perfectly tailored to the visuals. The finale to HAND OF FATE PART 2 is also a slow, beautiful relaxation, a 'coming down' after the hair raising PART 1 and you'll probably want to start from the beginning all over again as soon as it draws to a close.
The whole score is around an hour long and like Newton-Howard's music for 'Unbreakable' and 'The Sixth Sense' is more of a slow burning collection of cues that build to a climax rather than a series of huge, epic themes. The influence of Bernard Hermann and John Williams is undeniable *and* appropriate but this is one of the best you will hear if you enjoy scores that have a powerful and seperate life outside the film they were intended for.
Highly recommended, it is never too far from my ears...
I love this score. I dont think i had heard much of Howard's work before but this score made my ears prick up. It reminds me so much of John Carpenter's THE FOG (another film where the sheer simplicity of the score made the film superb and made it so atmospheric). You may hear people talk about this score in terms of "Its just the same music played again and again". This is very shortsighted (or shorteared i should say). They're not paying enough attention to the mold of it and how the story develops. This same music fits into each different scene of the film like a glove and is very mystical and creepy, all the while suggesting an uncertain and nail biting future for the family and all mankind throughout. For many,the Main titles is the cue which made them sit up and listen. It cannot be denied that main titles are a homage to Psycho and straight out of 50's alien invasion movies. Superb. But the real genius of the score is elsewhere on the disc in my opinion. A particular scene and cue of the score which comes to mind is where young Culkin climbs onto the family car's roof and they all link hands to create a mast to receieve the alien discussios on the baby monitor. A long lingering shot of Culkin's hand reaching further out to the sky along with Howard's superb score is a scene which impressed me very deeply this year. We need more films and scores like these in an age where our senses our blasted into submission by overly powerful scores and some directors flip between scenes every second giving you a headache in an attempt to stop you noticing its a badly made film with little story. Simplicity and lingering shots can make this movie very realistic. The score helped the scenes tremendously and left me gulping down blubs of tears in the movie. I for one reccomend this score 100%. Its a shame it will be limited to those few who noticed it strongly in the film, as this score apprears to be rarely found on music shop shelves, where Shore's Lord of the Rings has crushed all other superb releases this year under trampling Ork's feet. Like Danny Elfman's score to Red Dragon, it will be a score masterpiece that went unnoticed by the majority of moviegoers. Its our little secret. :)
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