Type to search

Soundtrack review: Flower (Joseph Stephens – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Flower (Joseph Stephens – 2018)



Rebellious, quick-witted Erica Vandross (Zoey Deutch) is a 17-year-old firecracker living with her single mom Laurie (Kathryn Hahn) and mom’s new boyfriend Bob (Tim Heidecker) in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. When Bob’s mentally unbalanced son Luke (Joey Morgan) arrives from rehab to live with the family, Erica finds her domestic and personal life overwhelmed. With Luke and her sidekicks Kala (Dylan Gelula) and Claudine (Maya Eshet) in tow, Erica acts out by exposing a dark secret of high-school teacher Will (Adam Scott), with perilous results; their teenage kicks become a catalyst for growing up in unexpected and unpredictable ways. Joseph Stephens wrote the score and this is the first time I am listening to one of his compositions.

The start of the score is right up my alley as “Flower opening” hits me with an almost pure retro synth sound and that’s something that is very hard to beat for me. The music is simple and rhythmic and takes me back to the 80s. I am happy to discover that the composer took the minimalistic whimsical road for “Flower” as the next cue, “Lunch fight” is even better and more nostalgic. This is the kind of music that I just get lost in, so dreamy, so reflective and melodic that I just want to lay down, close my eyes and let it take my imagination wherever it wants to. No matter the drama in the movie the music keeps it away as if the main character was in a world of her own. There are no bells and whistles, just beautiful and simple electronic music.

The composer doesn’t even attempt to alter the retro sound with modern inserts; this is a score, or an album even that I could have listened to in the 80s without it sounding out of place. It’s a strange and pleasant sensation as listening to it is the straightest time traveling method. If I close my eyes and ignore the outside world, with this music in my ears I can imagine I am back in that decade, in my childhood room. The titles of the cu es reflect danger and troubles but the music doesn’t care about that as it continues it’s metallic, glimmering flow. When the things do get too serious, like from “Getting drugged” on though the comfort goes away and a more industrial, abrasive brand of electronic music takes charge.

For a synth music fan like me this score is pure joy from beginning to end; it has a texture I will never get tired of and a reflective mood that appeals to me. Joseph Stevens goes back in time with this one and it’s a journey I love taking with him.

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Lunch Fight
It’s Not Murder
Mapping It Out
The Chase
Weird in a Good Way

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).

  • 1

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.