The Soundtrack of April

The spring is finally here! Those are great news indeed. I was getting really sick of the cold and dark winter. My life has undergone many changes and for a while I forgot I even had a comfort zone once. But enough of my whining, let’s see what was the role of music in this story.
As the winter depression was slowly crawling onto me, my soul was searching for a soundtrack to beat it. I wanted to recharge my batteries, to become an optimist again – and to start rocking instead of sitting somewhere in the corner with bent shoulders. The music had to be truly inspirational, cheerful and remarkable enough to keep my attention and to raise my spirit. I was sick of all the epic heroic soundtracks at that time, because they didn’t have quite the effect I wanted. Something not so complicated – less pomp, more stomp. Something that could lift my spirit.
Here are some soundtracks that really improved my mood at that time.

John Powell – The Fire Truck

Oh yes – an early John Powell! This piece of music really cuts through all the sadness in the world. John has always been a composer of a very neat style, the majority of his compositions appear really simple, carefree and well-thought at the same time. At this moment, we all revere him for his work on How to Train Your Dragon series, but this particular track is as amazing as his recent works.

The foundation basically stands all the time on cellos predominantly doubled by basses and with occasional help from the brass instruments – and of course timpani from time to time. The bass line is constantly moving up and down to keep the pace and the heartbeat without using much percussion. Violins and woodwinds bring a playful element to the score, making it really cheerful and interesting. The snare drum and trumpets both give a bit of military feeling to the overall sound. If you imagine the scene when the bunch of geeks and Seann William Scott go on a quest in a fire truck armed with Head&Shoulders, nothing can accent the story more than this track. The subdominant parallel chord opening in the main phrase is THE THING that enables you to recall the lead motif over and over again. If you’re wondering where you have heard the same sequence before, consider looking at Victory Celebration score by John Williams. Oh yes, that “Ewok Song” from Return of the Jedi. Also Fairyland used the same pattern in their song Doryan the Enlightened several years later.

Trevor Rabin – Perfect Outlaws

I must say I haven’t seen the movie called American Outlaws yet (although it was published a long time ago – in 2001 precisely), but after hearing this soundtrack I’m really considering watching it. Again, it’s all build predominantly on cellos and double basses,  making a very strong and solid wall of sound. Horns and other brass instruments are often incorporated to support or even occasionally lead the main theme. The flutes are once again creating the element of interest and Rabin is brave enough to hand over the leading melody to them – even it’s just for a brief moment. The clarinet melody at the very end of the track is extremely playful and somewhat silly due to the nature of the instrument. The rhythm is very strong and you cannot simply listen to the music without stomping your feet to the beat. Great piece of work I found by chance listening on my last.fm profile.

Alan Silvestri – Back to the Future

The last choice for today is a complete classic. Uplifting, cheerful and interesting at the same time – and a really brassy one compared those two soundtracks above. Also the violins are of more importance. Most of the time, the main melody is led in octaves and the brass section is predominantly doubled with low strings, therefore the overall sound is rich in color and not so big that it would interfere with the main motif. Occasionally, the flutes accompany the violins on their trips to high octaves, but they are not used that much in comparison. If you want to feel like a hero, this is the track you’re looking for. And if that’s not enough, continue with the movie up to the point where Marty rocks with Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode. If that doesn’t cheer you up, you’re doomed – and probably dead.

Okay, that was my choice of awesome, cheerful and not so epic sounding soundtracks for April. That should drive the depression out – at least for a while.

And what about you? Do you have your own personal favorites? Post them in the comments below.

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