Film scores

Soundtrack review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford (Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – 2007)

darkness can be beautiful and appealing… Minimalism can be rich and piercing…

Just like Trent Reznor, Nick Cave has been one of my favorite artists when I was in high school and college. This dark and brilliant musician always knew how to stir me up inside and express feelings through music that few artists can. I still listen to him every now and then and “Into my arms” is one of mine and my wife’s favorite songs. Nick Cave always amazed me by how intensely he expressed himself. I loved the Western he wrote (“The proposition”) and I was intrigued when he and Warren Ellis ventured into film music. What could he tell me without his amazing voice?

…he told me exactly what he used to tell me before… I recognized his music instantly… The same dark tone… the same almost funeral like sensitivity, the superbly effective minimalism… the violin… the fiddle… the longing…

It’s one of the favorite scores for me and my sister and I am posting this on her birthday. The movie was the excellent “The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford”, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, and the score was as beautiful, hopeless and unforgiving as the movie itself.

But darkness can be beautiful and appealing… minimalism can be rich and piercing… The piano strokes in this score follow my heartbeats and the strings drive the blood through my body. I breathe this score and embrace its beauty. There are moments when you need to be alone and just focus on your most intimate thoughts. There isn’t loneliness more precious than that one… There are moments when you want to look inside yourself and find something you thought you had lost… There are moments when you might need to sit in the dark and focus on a single memory that brings you comfort and drowns everything that might be troubling you and keeping you off your path.  This score is for all those moments. This score is to get lost in, without being afraid. The music that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis wrote is a warm blanket… it’s a loved one’s embrace…

…there are moments when something’s been building up inside you and needs to come out… first comes a sigh… then a sob… then the first tear forms in the corner of your eye… then a couple more fall down your face… slowly… and more follow until you finally cry the healthiest and happiest cry you’ve ever cried. The most beautiful melody in the world is written like that. It’s called “Song for Bob”.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 44

Album excellence: 72%

Highlights:

Rather Lovely Thing

Moving On

Song for Jesse

Falling

The Money Train

What Must Be Done

Another Rather Lovely Thing

What Happens Next

Destined for Great Things

Counting the Stars

Song for Bob

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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