From Toy Story to Ratatouille, those people at Pixar certainly know a thing or two when it comes to animation, and their latest offering Wall-E, about a little robot who cleans up the planet and falls in love, is no exception. With less dialogue than your average feature, Wall-E relies heavily on its music and sound design, as well as its beautiful animation, to tell its story.
So it's a good job two of the best music and sound guys in the business are on board: Oscar-nominated composer Thomas Newman of the famous film-composing clan, and sound wizard Ben Burtt, whose 30-year career spans films such as Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and ET.
Newman, whose work includes The Shawshank Redemption and Pixar's Finding Nemo, created Wall-E's original score, an inventive mix of traditional orchestral sounds, electronica, and sound effects.
Standout tracks include the hauntingly beautiful 2815 AD, Wall-E, which brilliantly captures the inquisitive robot's daily routine, the lush sounding EVE and Define Dancing. First Date is Latino-inspired, Foreign Contaminant frenetically paced, and Repair Ward jazzily cool. The film's big song is the environmental anthem Down To Earth, co-written by Newman and Peter Gabriel, and performed by Gabriel with the Soweto Gospel Choir.
But there's more to this soundtrack than Newman's imaginative score. Wall-E is a great collector, squirreling away everything from plastic cutlery to Rubik's Cubes, and among his treasure trove of trash is his most prized possession: a video of Jerry Herman's musical Hello, Dolly!
The soundtrack features two songs from the hit show: Put On Your Sunday Clothes, a catchy ditty sung by Michael Crawford, an excerpt from which opens the album; and the love song It Only Takes A Moment, also sung by Crawford. And there's a stylish rendition of La Vie En Rose by the always-superb Louis Armstrong.
While you can enjoy much of the album whether or not you've seen the film, you'll get much more from the experience if you take a quick trip to the cinema, after which you'll have a store of stunning images to revel in as you listen to Newman's music. --Jan Gilbert
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