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The score to Planes is a fun blast, and shows the best of composer Mancina,
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This review is from: Planes / O.S.T. (Audio CD)
The score to planes is written by composer Mark Mancina, perhaps better known for his work on 90s films Twister and Speed. I have always liked him as a composer, and after a long dry spell regarding assignments and releases, this score, and the wonderful fantasy score for the game SORCERY last year shows no doubt he is still a fantastic composer. Planes is a largely orchestral score with some great writing for strings/brass/woodwind sections with the occasional choir thrown in for good measure.
You get about 45 minutes of Mancina's material, and it is superb. The score part of the album starts with "Planes" (Track 4), with a brass rendition of the Planes main theme with percussive elements and stings adding to the latter part of the track. This main theme is reprised often across the album in various guises. "Dusty Soars" is a favourite, as is the brilliant "1st Place" with hints of the main theme and choir towards the latter part of the track. There's an Indian/Bollywood influence to "Dusty & Ishani" (Track 13), but much of the album has a similar style.
Many of the score tracks are short - the longest is "Running on Fumes" (Track 15) running in at 3 minutes 11 seconds, and this is one of, if not the best track on the album. This is perhaps my only criticism, because the tracks are short there isn't much chance for much development within each track.
The sound quality is great as you would expect, and the strings and brass sections are mixed particularly well.
Regarding the 5 vocal tracks, Nothing Can Stop Me Now (Track 1), "You Don't Stop - NYC" (Track 2), Fly (Track 3), "Love Machine" (Track 27) and "Ein Crop Duster Can Race" (Track 28) , these were not my favourite tracks off the album. To be clear, I listen to mainly classical/film scores and thus I don't think these tracks were included on the album with someone like me in mind. Love Machine, which was a fairly tame Spanish style song and was passable, and the pop/rocks Nothing Can Stop Me Now/Fly were nothing to write home about. Kids might enjoy the sing song nature of Ein Crop Duster, but for anyone over the age of 5 this song has the potential to be harmful to your mental health. You Don't Stop was ghastly - I have never been a fan of r&b rap style tracks, and this seems very out of place on the album. There's no explicit lyrics so you won't need to worry about turning the volume down for the kids - but perhaps better still, bypass the track completely. For anyone who is buying the album for Mancina's material, if you avoid these 5 tracks your world will be a better place.
As a side note, I got the CD rather than MP3 version, and upon arrival the CD casing pretty much fell to bits as I took the CD out (it was securely packaged and within the original cellophane wrap). Not sure if this is a manufacturing issue or if I was just unlucky with my copy. The CD played fine though.
Overall, this album isn't the best score that I've ever heard, but it had a great theme and was an enjoyable listen. I hope Mancina gets more scoring assignments in the future because the guy is talented, and if you liked the score within the film, or like Mancina's previous work, you can't go wrong with getting the album. A solid 4*s from me.