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Shazam! Theme, thoughts?

TheSigillite

Active Member
I'm really digging the classic superhero adventure writing with this so far. I don't mind the effectiveness of the ostinato driven action we hear often with action films, but I did enjoy this piece quite a bit. What are your thoughts on this style of writing compared to other soundtracks for similar films? Any other recent films with this style you could link, I would greatly appreciate it? Thanks.

 

kevthurman

Active Member
I'm really digging the classic superhero adventure writing with this so far. I don't mind the effectiveness of the ostinato driven action we hear often with action films, but I did enjoy this piece quite a bit. What are your thoughts on this style of writing compared to other soundtracks for similar films? Any other recent films with this style you could link, I would greatly appreciate it? Thanks.

It's a bit similar to batman in style. This is a cool step in the right direction for superhero music stylistically. It seems to be a bit oddly mixed if you ask me, although that's always a very subjective thing. Thanks for sharing this as I probably wasn't going to go see the movie but might consider it now haha!
 

Luke W

Active Member
Reminds me of JW's Superman at times, then the Rocketeer at other times. I like the old school orchestral feel, no electronic elements.
 

kevthurman

Active Member
There's some fun writing in there, but the mix sounds a bit peculiar.
Very bottom and top heavy, with the middle frequencies drained a bit.
I'm thinking maybe they did this to avoid conflicting with the dialogue or other things... but surely they'd release a normal "OST" version that hasn't been EQ'd that way.
 

rottoy

Plebeian
I'm thinking maybe they did this to avoid conflicting with the dialogue or other things... but surely they'd release a normal "OST" version that hasn't been EQ'd that way.
It's also entirely possible that the soundtrack release is mastered for listening on your phone speaker or portable bluetooth speaker. Apparently that's a thing.
 

kevthurman

Active Member
It's also entirely possible that the soundtrack release is mastered for listening on your phone speaker or portable bluetooth speaker. Apparently that's a thing.
I'm of the opinion that if it's mastered and mixed properly it ought to be at least good on any system. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

rottoy

Plebeian
I'm of the opinion that if it's mastered and mixed properly it ought to be at least good on any system. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I agree with you, I'm just pointing out the fact that it makes sense for a soundtrack master to favour at least the high end so it produces a decent sound on even the most mediocre of phone speakers.
That way you cater to the widest demographic.
 

storyteller

Senior Member
0:00 - 0:25 .... Like Superman
0:25-0:40 .... ?
0:41 - 1:02 .... Like Star Wars
1:03 - 1:20 .... Like Hook
1:21 - 1:47 .... ?
1:48 - 2:08 .... Like Jurrasic Park
2:08 - 2:15 .... ?
2:15- 3:00 .... Like E.T.
3:02 - 3:41 .... Original I think?
3:42 - End .... Holst's Jupiter

That said... it was very enjoyable to listen to! :roflmao:
 
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josejherring

Senior Member
It's good. Lacks focus though. Sounds like he took every JW score he ever liked and put them all in one score. But, it takes some talent to do that. IMO, orchestration and produciton is way stronger than the writing in this. Kind of opposite of the old super hero scores when the writing was way stronger than what could be produced.
 

kevthurman

Active Member
It's good. Lacks focus though. Sounds like he took every JW score he ever liked and put them all in one score. But, it takes some talent to do that. IMO, orchestration and produciton is way stronger than the writing in this. Kind of opposite of the old super hero scores when the writing was way stronger than what could be produced.
It sounds like old scores mashed up. As much as I would like to see a return to the style I have now listened to this 3 times today and couldn't sing you the tune right now. That didn't happen with JW scores...
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
It's good. Lacks focus though. Sounds like he took every JW score he ever liked and put them all in one score. But, it takes some talent to do that. IMO, orchestration and produciton is way stronger than the writing in this. Kind of opposite of the old super hero scores when the writing was way stronger than what could be produced.
agreed. Dont get me wrong, it's better than I could ever hope to do in my life, it just seemed to lack a lot of thematic focus IMO. Orchestration sounds great though!
 

Consona

Senior Member
0:00 - 0:25 .... Like Superman
0:25-0:40 .... ?
0:41 - 1:02 .... Like Star Wars
1:03 - 1:20 .... Like Hook
1:21 - 1:47 .... ?
1:48 - 2:08 .... Like Jurrasic Park
2:08 - 2:15 .... ?
2:15- 3:00 .... Like E.T.
3:02 - 3:41 .... Original I think?
3:42 - End .... Holst's Jupiter

That said... it was very enjoyable to listen to!
Yea, maybe too many things in one main theme piece, well-suited as an entry for the next @mverta 's Unleashed masterclass. :grin: Hope this is not shaping up to be another dramazone thread (@AlexanderSchiborr
), but I'm quite curious about the structure of this piece...

So:
• 0:00 The intro is kinda an intro, kinda the theme (?) (or like a version of the main theme?)

• then 0:23 a bridge/transition? (or is this some theme?)

• then 0:41 it switches to some Holst/Star Wars-like thing (?)

• then 1:03 again some kind of an intro/the theme (?) or again some other variation on the main theme?, but it overall sounds rather different again, 1:19 this part in a variation on the 1:03 part (honestly I don't know what this part is doing there)

• then there's finally the main theme, after we are nearly 2 minutes in (I think this is the main theme, since it sounds heroic and like a full theme. But feels undermined by the fact there are maybe too many different proto-themes/variations on the main before this, not counting various bridge sections).

But my main problem here is, it's not even 10 seconds and the melody is shaky already, take a listen with me:

1:48 the main idea, ok, perfect, 1:54 a repetition of the melody, slightly altered, and it only repeats the first half of the theme (now altered), but twice? and that second repetition is actually different, then 2:01 a new closure of the theme, but for some reason it's repeated twice?!, 2:08 the main theme again, in the strings this time, but wait! It's not the repetition of the main idea we heard at 1:48?! I must say, it's rather frustrating to listen to this melody... It bounces around, but does not solidify what we are told is the main idea.

Even the director said they were going for a Williams-like thing. But this is not how Williams writes theme melodies, when I listen to Superman , Indy, Journey to the Island, Jurrasic, Potter, Star Wars, Rey, Fawkes, what have you, the exposition, repetition, flourishes, it's all precisely structured, and even when the melody is quite long, he always! repeats the main idea as is!, that's one of the reasons why those themes work and why those melodies make sense, because they are not messy but well structured. All those extra and magical things Williams does atop of that is something he can afford to do because he can write music that is so fluent that those things fit there perfectly without breaking the flow of the music.

• 2:15 this is like a B section to the theme, the melody is in strings, it develops the theme, but again, the repetitions do not reinforce the melody (feels kinda aimless again)

• 3:00 the first intro thing returns, is developed into a melody of its own... (for some reason...)

• 3:23 it all turns into something all over the place that uses motifs from the 1:03 second intro/theme thing.

• 3:36 it all turns into another Holst-like thing, used the first intro theme and ends.


Overall, there are motivic similarities, but the phrases themselves are really wonky and the piece has weird structure. Is this a film cue or really the main theme? Since it feels like a cue, like it follows something on the screen, does not feel like a concert piece, there are some superfluous and prolonged parts that feel like "what's the point?".
I wrote this over 3 days to get a better perspective on the piece, but then I compared it to some Herrmann, Horner, Goldsmith and Williams themes and this melody itself is quite all over the place and messy, to put it straight. The main idea at 1:48 is very solid, I like that theme a lot, but the composition around it feels like it drifts too much.

Also it doesn't have that fluidity the golden-era compositions have.

And the orchestration does not feel Williams-y. It definitely feels way closer to being a Remote Control production. Maybe even due to that slightly strange mix. But Williams' orchestrations are way leaner, precise and agile.
And I don't think he uses woodwind runs in the 1:11 manner.


So how do you feel about this piece? I agree with @josejherring ...It "just" lacks focus. But this "lacks focus" is actually about the core of writing orchestral music. There's this very strange edge where it all breaks... the way golden-era guys have weaved their phrases and written something complex and sometimes insanely intricate that makes sense in the moment and over a long period of time, and just a slight lack of that skill make a composition feel clunky and disjointed. At least that's how I feel about it. So many times when listening to Horner's Star Treks, Goldsmith's Rambo II or jeez, Dvorak's symphonies, I'm like, how did he for the love of god got from this part to that part so incredibly flawlessly without breaking anything??? Like these guys can do abrupt things that feel completely fluid. :roflmao: Whereas things these days feel abrupt while they are trying to be fluent. :laugh:
 
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