Film scores

Soundtrack review: The boy next door (Randy Edelman and Nathan Barr)

BoyNextDoor

“The boy next door” is a new psychological thriller staring Jennifer Lopez and for me it marks the return of Randy Edelman. He is one of my favorite composers and I always look forward to the themes he writes. From one of my favorite TV themes growing up (MacGyver) to scores such as “Last of the mohicans”, “Daylight” or “The quest” he always created nice memories for me. He co wrote this score with Nathan Barr (a guy who knows how to write horror or suspense well) and there’s another name that spells magic for me: Lisbeth Scott, the vocalist who haunted many of my favorite scores. I have just been in a very Transformers mood lately and the cues where she features on “Revenge of the fallen” are my favorite. If you didn’t know her name by now, check out the movies she’s been featured on and I am sure you’ll find a favorite of yours among them. You’ll remember her voice…

So, good premises for this score all around. The first two cues are all Lisbeth for me and her voice adds emotion and life to the darkness of the music. She provides guidance in the night as if suddenly for just a few moments the clouds let the light of the moon shine upon the face of someone you know was around but couldn’t see. The vocal inserts make the sadness of the music more personal and don’t let me just dismiss the music as something that happens to someone else. Her eerie whispers give me goose bumps and also provide guidance through the creepy atmosphere which I’m sure Nathan Barr created with his unusual instrumental choices. I listen to “Breakdown”, one of the few cues where she’s missing and I am desperately trying to find that angelic voice, otherwise I’m lost.

I like the blend of moody and scary that “The boy next door” provides. it makes me lose focus at times and get lost in it as if it were a dark woods. I feel branches scratching my face and every time I think I found a way out I fall in another trap.”Classroom panic” is insanely gripping and I can’t help but listen to it again. This is the highlight of the album for me.

But I am having a hard time identifying Randy Edelman’s melodic magic. All I hear are Nathan Barr’s distorted and broken instruments and Lisbeth Scott ghostly and intense voice. Could he be the one behind “About us” and “Flowers”? There’s a sensitivity there I associate with Edelman. He may not be the happy guy I once knew but I think I recognize him behind the mask. I hear the warm melody and he’s the one that tries to give hope.

In the end “The boy next door” isn’t about themes or standout cues; it’s about the pace and general mood it sets. The composers do a good job of making the listener feel the tension and discomfort of the movie while Lisbeth Scott provides the moments of sanity. While not a composition I will come back to , it was an enjoyable one time listen.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 7 / 36

Album excellence: 20%

Highlights:

Garage

Nicest Thing

Flowers

Classroom Panic

 

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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