Film scores

Soundtrack review: The song (Vince Emmett – 2015)

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“The song” is a story set in the world of country music. I used to not care about this world a lot but in the past couple of years, thanks to artists like John Rich and Trace Adkins I’ve grown very fond of it. I might watch this movie when it comes out. The score was written by Vince Emmett, a composer I wasn’t familiar with.

The beginning of the score made me check twice to see if I was really listening to an official release or a bootleg. I am familiar with bootlegs and scores containing SFX and the first few cues from “The song” sounded just like that. There were nature sounds, there were doors closing, crowds cheering and people screaming. I only listen to bootleg if I am very attached to the movie or score and I can get past the sound effects. This being a first listen I couldn’t really make much of the music from those first cues. “No love no heart” was the first moment when I really connected with the composition but only for a minute or so before it turned into little more than wind chimes.

The thing is there are beautiful pieces of music in all this confusion. “Mary me” for example whispers for one minute before turning into a sweeping orchestral delight. That second minute of the track already means that this score will leave me with something once it’s over. Still there is something strange about this score. “Rose sleeps, Shelby enters” is another beautiful but confusing track. The beginning is tender and low key, almost like a lullaby, a solo string heard from the distance, through the night and then in explodes again at the end into an orchestral beauty. And the last few seconds are the sound of a brook and / or birds chirping. Those nature sounds bleed into the next track which once again turns orchestral before quieting down into a guitar tune for a while and then getting pure country.

So there are parts of cues I really love, beautiful pieces of themes. I am having a hard time though catching their tail and making sense of them. A lot of “The song” actually feels like samples of a score put together. I would love to hear more of course but I have to make due with what I get. In these conditions I am really  happy to finally get a proper theme in “Man all alone”. Still I am surprised by how little country is in this score. Since the story is so obvious I was expecting more.

Now the way the music sounds made me curious about how it fits into the movie. Are the scenes disjointed? Do we get flashbacks? I can’t catch a narrative thread in this score, there is not story for me and it’s too bad because the music has great potential. If only it had been arranged differently…There are pieces in tracks like “Paradise lost” I would like to hear expanded.

“The song” leaves me with echoes of excellence and a bit frustrated. The way the score was put together unfortunately didn’t help the music a lot.  I will probably watch the movie and see what happens there.

Cue rating: 71 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 45

Album excellence: 5%

Highlights:

Marry me

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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