This CD is a perfect companion to what was without doubt the best foreign film of last year. Yann Tiersen, the composer, has majestically conjured up a delightful album. He plays all the instruments himself to conjure up something magical. The tracks are so uplifting that listening to them I feel great.
I saw Amelie last November and fell in love with it. I've done the same with the soundtrack. I love the soundtrack because I feel swept away with its joyfulness and emotional aspect. There are nice touches with two songs from the 30's "Guilty" and "Si Tu N'etais Pas La". My favourite track is "Comptine D'un Autre Ete" because it says so much in such a short playing time and it epitamises the mood of the movie.
This soundtrack is possibly one of my favourites of all time. It is truly a wonderful musical world.
on 11 December 2004
Here we have not only a great soundtrack that can conjure both the magic of the film and work as an excellent album in it's own-right, but also, we have a perfect introduction to one of the greatest young composers world music has to offer.
Yann Tiersen had already produced three albums before he was approached by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet to compose the music to his new film Amelie (which had juxtaposing themes of playful giddiness and bitter melancholy that seemed perfectly suited to the kind of music that Tiersen creates so effortlessly), and the recording of these songs overlapped with the writing and recording of his forth solo-album proper, L'Absent. As a result of this, a number of tracks found in instrumental versions here (Les Jours Tristes, A Quai, Le Moulin) can be found fleshed out on L'Absent (...Tristes for example is turned into a great melancholic pop song with vocals from Neil Hannon).
If you have heard any of these Tiersen solo-albums or, in fact, seen Jeunet's film, you will undoubtedly have a good idea what to expect from the style of music featured. Tiersen creates tuneful, melodious little pieces thick with atmosphere & grace, employing a wide range of both contemporary and traditional instrumentation (all of which he plays himself) from guitars, drums and bass, to strings, accordions, pianos, harpsichord, music-boxes, & more. The compositions are practically overflowing with the feelings of ecstatic excitement or downbeat romanticism, as Tiersen manages to convey a mood that captures the essence of the film and holds the listener in a trance for it's entirety.
This is one of the best soundtrack albums available (up there with some of Michael Nyman's very best) and, if you appreciate the musical greatness of this, then might I suggest that you track down Tiersen's other studio albums, and his soundtrack to that excellent German film, Goodbye Lenin! ...all of which, are excellent.
on 7 November 2001
I was already familiar with Yann Tiersen due to his collaboration with the Divine Comedy (One of the tracks here is co-written by Neil Hannon), and having heard him on Radio 3. I already had one of his albums before buying this (which I did before seeing the film, which, incidentally, is the best cinematic experience I've had for a couple of years), and in fact a few of the tracks on this album are from previous albums, so it can serve as a nice compilation for those already familiar with his work, or indeed, those who aren't. If you're interested in finding out more about Tiersen, I'd encourage you to visit his website, which has plenty of audio material, and even interactive videos. As for the music, it ranges from the depths of despair and loneliness in 'Le Moulin' from the upbeat, energetic and joyous 'A Quai', and of course the Waltz of our eponymous heroine. A brilliant album to bring happiness to even the most weary of souls.
on 21 May 2003
It took me a while to get around to watch the film, so long in fact, that I was already familiar with the soundtrack (much of which appears on his other albums), having fallen in love with Yann Tiersen's work a couple of months before. As a result, I had a much greater awareness of the soundtrack and the effect that it had.
Very Gallic in its sound, it uses what could be considered 'traditional' French-sounding instruments, such as the accordion and the harpsichord, along with a plethora of others (the banjo, bass guitar, vibraphone, and of course, the piano), and a couple of unusual ones too. The concept of using the tapping of a typewriter to keep the beat ('Pas Si Simple') and ending a song with the gentle clicking wind of a bicycle wheel ('La Dispute') may seem very odd ones, but are strangely effective, and along with the rest of this beautifully-crafted soundtrack, are highly evocative of the world that the film entices the audience into.
Two of the tracks were not written by Yann Tiersen ('Guilty' and 'Si Tu N'Etais Pas La'), but with their dreamy-sounding vocals, these 1930s-esque tracks not only fit in very well with the tone of the album, they make you want to get up and dance with someone.
Standout tracks for me on this CD are the bouncy 'J'y Suis Jamais Alle' and 'Le Valse Des Monstres', the melancholy 'Le Moulin' and 'Comptine D'Un Autre Ete' and the simply perfect 'La Valse d'Amelie'.
Listen to this album a few times and it will get under your skin. This is one of my favourite soundtracks of all time, both as accompaniment to a brilliant film and as an original, captivating piece of its music in its own right. It doesn't matter whether you see the film before listening to the soundtrack, or vice versa, as long as you do both.
on 14 April 2002
Composed by Yann Tiersen, the music fits the style of the film perfectly. It's a very french-sounding (naturally!) album, and is almost entirely instrumental. The CD varies in style and pace from slower melancholy tracks, to more uptempo ones. On your first few listens a lot of the songs will probably sound very similar to each other, but after repeated plays each track's individuality starts to shine through. I particularly liked the tracks with just a piano.
If you loved the film (which most people seem to) then I'd definitely recommend picking up this soundtrack. It has a quite unique sound & style of it's own (compared to a lot of other film music anyway), and rewards repeated listens, so stick with it!.
on 13 November 2001
This isn't the kind of music I normally buy (no guitars and next to no vocals), but having seen the film I got hold of it. I find it wonderfully affecting, subtle, mesmeric, yet powerful and poignant. It complements the film exquisitely. Sorry for the sales pitch, but hey, it's worth it :).
on 2 October 2001
I first saw the film in France, and I had to go out and buy the soundtrack. The background music is so fabulous, it seems to sum up the whole of the film without ever needing to go into words (although 'Guilty' and 'Si Tu N'Etais Pas Là' have lyrics).
It also contains the best instrumental track I've ever heard: 'La Valse D'Amélie'.
In short, I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.
on 7 October 2001
This soundtrack contains the most beautiful, dreamy and at the same time melancholic instrumental music I have ever heard. It is how France feels like as a phantastic place in your own head.
Jazz musician Yann Tiersen left us a breathtaking soundtrack. Like the movie is the soundtrack continuously happy, fresh and minimalist without any big orchestra. An accordeon, a piano and a few violins seem to be everything it takes to create Amelie's world and feelings.
I would recommend watching the movie first, before deciding to buy the soundtrack. It is much easier understood when knowing what the music is about and what pictures it succeeds in caturing.
on 28 February 2004
the cd is absolutely superb, very upbeat and listening to it makes me feel in a good mood. the film was wonderful, the soundtrack fantastic. my favourite track is the first one-also the beginning of the film-'j'y suis jamais alle'. listening to this soundtrack you feel as though you are in paris sampling all the delights and what it has to offer. this music is typically french and a great change if you do not normlaly listen to this type of music. you will fall in love with it without a doubt!
on 19 March 2007
If you have seen 'Amelie' you will undoubtedly have been struck by the clever and charming use of music throughout its length. If you buy this CD because you liked the film, then you will not be disappointed. Everything is here and, as other reviewers have said, it is harmonious, very 'Gallic', uplifting and gentle. The two songs jar slightly if you haven't seen the film because they suddenly seem to transport you back to a mythical Paris of the 1930' or 1940's, but even then, there isn't much of a problem.
If you haven't seen Amelie, then this music is probably best thought of as a mixture of 'the best of Yann Tiersen' and a pastiche of the type of music that we in the UK often think of as being 'typically French' (accordions, tinkling pianos, tangos, breathily repetitive themes ...).
My reason for not awarding 5 stars is that because this is a soundtrack CD, there are two minor problems:
(1) several of the tracks just end as if they've been cut off a few seconds too soon.
(2) there is a little bit too much 'sameness' about some of the chosen tracks BUT, there is also a reasonable range of instrumentation and styles, so this doesn't become too much of a problem unless you actually sit down and concentrate on listening in detail to every track. Played ambiently, it is wonderful and if you know the film, it will bring back all the joys and sorrows that were so wonderfully brought to life.