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Soundtrack review: The second best exotic Marigold Hotel (Thomas Newman – 2015)

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„The best exotic Marigold Hotel” was so funny and surprisingly successful that a sequel is coming out these days. I enjoyed the movie and I’ll probably catch this one as well. This time Richard Gere is added to the cast while Thomas Newman returned for the score. Now his score for the first movie was a blast. The blend of unique Thomas Newman vibe and mysterious Indian inserts worked marvelously and the score was a nice a surprise for me as the movie. So why am I still a bit worried when I see that the score for „The second best exotic Marigold Hotel” is one hour long? Probably because his style, enjoyable as it is, rarely works for me for an hour. But let’s see…

Just like in the first score, the main theme „Second best exotic” is just wonderful. Mellow, gentle and yes, exotic. This time the soft and warm guitar sounds I instantly recognize as trademark Thomas Newman blend so well with the Indian instruments that I can’t tell them apart. His music has acclimatized to India and sounds as if it’s always been there.

„Chai” is the moment when I smile and know that I am going to love this score. It’s that soft melancholy…that slightly Asian sound that just melts you heart and brings a pinch of nostalgia in your soul as welcomed as a gust of wind on a hot summer afternoon. “Busy pensioner bee” is Thomas Newman gold. It’s these cues that he’s the best at and all his fans will close their eyes and enjoy this one.

“The second best exotic Marigold Hotel” is livelier than the first score. The soft quiet cues are still there but we also get action pieces like “Already gone”. This keeps the music fresh and enjoyable. I imagine this movie has more adventure and suspense than the first one. I laugh just listening to the music. All my doubts about this score possibly being too long are cast away and I am taking this journey in full.

“Aaina” is a sweet lullaby and another nice surprise from this score. “Bringer of new things” is a celebration. Almost every cue has something interesting about it. There have been times in the past when Thomas Newman scores sounded a bit generic and uninteresting to me but he is the zone now. This franchise seems to be doing him good. I almost hope they do a third movie. “The best exotic Marigold Hotel” seems to be for him what the “Night at the museum” movies are for Alan Silvestri.

“Wedding” and “Life piled on life” sound like old friends I see after a long time. We sit together on a bench in the park and just reminisce for hours while the afternoon summer sun keeps glowing. We remember good times and dream about what’s coming next. Time just stops and nothing else matters.

So yes this second installment is the unlikely “Nest exotic Marigold” franchise was just as much fun as the first one. Enjoy it for what it is and welcome Thomas Newman’s craft. It’s really a joy to listen to compositions like this one. And if you must listen to a cue from it to make up your mind, pick either the main theme or “Reservoirs of affection”. They represent the essence of “The second best exotic Marigold Hotel”.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 47

Album excellence: 45%

Highlights:

Second Best Exotic

Chai

Busy Pensioner Bee

Unreasonable Behavior

Bringer Of New Things

Scorpions

Reservoirs Of Affection

Wedding

Life Piled On Life

Map Of The World (End Title)

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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