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Soundtrack review: Crazy rich Asians (Brian Tyler – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Crazy rich Asians (Brian Tyler – 2018)

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“Crazy Rich Asians” is an upcoming American romantic comedy-drama film based on Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name. Produced by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force, it is directed by Jon M. Chu. The film stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Lisa Lu, Nico Santos, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh. Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians centers on New York City Chinese American economics professor Rachel Chu, who accompanies her boyfriend to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding, only to become thrust into the lives of Asia’s rich and famous. She discovers that her boyfriend comes from a very wealthy family with a dark past, and that every woman wants him. Brian Tyler wrote the score.

I am happy to see Brian Tyler return to scoring something different from blockbuster action movies because after a couple of years where everything he wrote was insanely better than the one before, the quality of his output had started to fade a bit. Right from the start it’s clear that this score is Tyler exploring very different areas of his craft as he opens with the love theme which is written in the purest, sweetest rom com sound that all of us are familiar with. There’s nothing brash, nothing aggressive, it’s a nice melody that warms me up and charms me instantly. It’s got the flute as well and you can never go wrong with the flute and with a ball like orchestral celebration at the end, very old school sounding.

Immediately after I am thrown in the middle of an insanely paced swing dance rink. I knew Brian Tyler could write jazzy and swing melodies from his heist scores for “Now you see me” but this is a whole other level, this is pure delight on a musical stave and you don’t have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy this infectious fun. I am loving every second of this. I feel like grooving and picking up my girl in the air and swinging her; the big band are playing their hearts out and I can only imagine Brian Tyler conducting this. “Text ting swing” is swing music on steroids.

The composer alternates between these two sounds, swing and romance and they are both so good that I don’t know what to choose as my favourite. The elegant swing pieces, like “Astrid” make me think of ballrooms and celebrations while the romance pieces sound more intimate, more laid back, but just as honest. The piano shines on those particular cues, melancholic and quiet. If you listened to a lot of romantic movie scores from the 90s and early 00s, you will recognise the sound in Brian Tyler’s wonderful composition; there’s no slapstick, no silliness, it’s all elegant and believable and almost every enchanting musical moment from “Crazy rich Asians” could double as a celebratory, happy end credits cue for such a romantic movie. The motifs are broad and sweeping and there is an unmistakable fairy tale feel to the entire score; this composition is a fantasy in itself, a journey into a dream world, a dream you wouldn’t want to wake up from.

Brian Tyler, so explosive and swinging a hammer instead of a conductor’s baton when he wants to, comes here with a tux and a bow tie and charms the headphones off my ears. Believe me this a score that will get you out of any possible funk you might have and I actually cannot wait to see the movie that inspired him to be so damn delightful. “Crazy rich Asians” is the most romantic thing I’ve listened to since “La La Land”.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Highlights:
Crazy Rich Asians: Love Theme
Text Ting Swing
Arrival in Singapore
Rainy Nights in London
Cousin Eddie and Cousin Alistair
Astrid and Rachel
Lunch on the Goh
Running Away
Because of Me
Jubilee Bop

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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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