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Soundtrack review: Before I fall (Adam Taylor – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Before I fall (Adam Taylor – 2017)

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“Before I Fall” is a 2017 American teen drama film directed by Ry Russo-Young and written by Maria Maggenti, based on the 2010 novel of same name by Lauren Oliver. The film stars Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Jennifer Beals, Diego Boneta and Elena Kampouris. Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) seems to have it all: popularity, a loving boyfriend (Kian Lawley) and a seemingly perfect future. Everything changes in the blink of an eye when she dies in a car crash but then magically wakes up to find herself reliving the same day over and over again. As Samantha tries to untangle the mystery of a life derailed, she must also unravel the secrets of the people closest to her and discover how the power of a single day can make a difference. Adam Taylor wrote the score.

It seems that the “Groundhog day” type scenario is popular again these days as we’ve just had a score from “Happy death day”, a horror version of the idea; now it’s a drama and the composer who delighted me this year with “The handmaid’s take” is writing the music. The score opens with a melancholic electronic based cue “Into infinity” which I imagine marks the transition of the character from alive to dead. I like the electronic build up at the end. The mood changes for the better right away with the pulsating and vibrant “Become who you are”, an simple adrenaline raising electronic piece that instantly makes me want to see the movie. I am a big fan of electronic music and I love it when composers go intense and insane with it.

As melodic as his previous score was, “Before I fall” is a change of genre for Adam Taylor; this is a straight up dark thriller score, gripping and aggressive and I actually feel what the composer is telling me; I get the tense atmosphere, I get the menacing tone, I feel uncomfortable listening to this score. When a more ambient cue like “Kent’s rose” comes along I am just as happy as the metallic taste of the music is very enjoyable to me.

Even if this score is very short the composer finds enough time to shake things up and change the mood of the music every now and then and he creates and electronic texture that works well also as a standalone listen. “Anger” brought back 80s nostalgia with the delightful synth sound that makes me think of old computer games.

A good composer doesn’t need more than 25 minutes to write a score that has meaning and that once it’s over leaves me with the sensation of time well spent. “Before I fall” is a solid electronic thriller score with just the right balance between romantic and violent and I actually found myself wanting more at the end of it.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 9 / 23

Album excellence: 40%

Highlights:
02 Become Who You Are
03 Countdown
06 Anger
07 This Isn’t You
10 One Good Thing
13 Juliet’s Rose

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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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