Soundtrack Review: The Witcher Season 1 (2019)

Milan Records has announced that The Witcher (Music From the Netflix Original Series) will be released on January 24, 2020. The soundtrack was composed by award-winning pianist Sonya Belousova and critically-acclaimed composer Giona Ostinelli. The soundtrack album will also include the instant hit “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.”

Of the soundtrack, the composers had this to say:

The best part of scoring The Witcher is the constant stream of unlimited creative opportunities this unique and vast universe provides. We wrote and produced songs, folk tunes, dances, and score, collaborated with virtuoso soloists and phenomenal artists, recorded unique historical instruments, many of which were crafted specifically for The Witcher, as well as personally performed and recorded over 60 instruments in order to create over 8 hours of an exciting original soundtrack.

The Witcher tells the story of Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster-hunter for hire, as he journeys toward his destiny in a turbulent world where people often prove more wicked than beasts.

THE WITCHER (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Geralt of Rivia
2. Toss A Coin To Your Witcher (feat. Joey Batey)*
3. Happy Childhoods Make For Dull Company (feat. Rodion Belousov)
4. The Time of Axe And Sword Is Now (feat. Declan de Barra & Lindsay Deutsch)
5. They’re Alive (feat. Lindsay Deutsch & Burak Besir)
6. Tomorrow I’ll Leave Blaviken For Good
7. Her Sweet Kiss (feat. Joey Batey)***
8. It’s An Ultimatum
9. Round of Applause (feat. Rodion Belousov)
10. Marilka That’s My Name
11. I’m Helping The Idiot (feat. Arngeir Hauksson)
12. The Knight Who Was Taught To Save Dragons (feat. Rodion Belousov)
13. Ragamuffin
14. The Last Rose of Cintra (feat. Declan de Barra)**
15. Late Wee Pups Don’t Get To Bark (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
16. You Will Rule This Land Someday
17. The Fishmonger’s Daughter (feat. Joey Batey)**
18. Blaviken Inn (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
19. Man In Black
20. The Great Cleansing (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
21. The Law of Surprise
22. Battle of Marnadal
23. Pretty Ballads Hide Bastard Truths (feat. Rodion Belousov)
24. Giltine The Artist
25. Everytime You Leave
26. Rewriting History (feat. Rodion Belousov)
27. The End’s Beginning (feat. Declan de Barra)
28. Gold Dragons Are The Rarest (feat. Rodion Belousov)
29. Bonfire (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
30. Children Are Our Favourite
31. Do You Actually Have What It Takes
32. Point Me To Temeria
33. Djinni Djinn Djinn
34. Here’s Your Destiny
35. Two Vows Here Tonight
36. Bread Breasts And Beer (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
37. Would You Honor Me With A Dance
38. Four Marks (feat. Rodion Belousov)
39. The Pensive Dragon Inn (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
40. A Gift For The Princess
41. You’re In Brokilon Forest
42. Today Isn’t Your Day Is It
43. Lovely Rendez-vous à la Montagne
44. Blame Destiny
45. The White Flame Has Brought Us Together
46. He’s One of The Clean Ones (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
47. You Lost Your Chance To Be Beautiful
48. Yennefer of Vengerberg
49. Shouldn’t You Know When Someone Is Pretending (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
50. You’ll Have To Fight It Until Dawn
51. I’m The One With The Wishes
52. Chaos Is All Around Us
53. The Curse of The Black Sun
54. Battle of Soden
55. The Song of The White Wolf (feat. Declan de Barra)**
*Lyrics by Jenny Klein
**Lyrics by Declan de Barra
***Lyrics by Haily Hall

Enjoy The Witcher soundtrack when it becomes available and let me know what you think about it in the comments below! Have a great day 🙂

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Frozen “For the First Time in Forever (reprise)” (2013)

The reprise of “For the First Time in Forever” is an interesting musical moment and an intriguing situation because there are several things happening at once. The most important thing is that Anna has succeeded in locating Elsa and is now attempting to persuade her to come home and undo the eternal winter she created when she fled Arendelle. On the surface, this seems like a great plan but it is automatically doomed to failure for a number of reasons.

Most of these reasons lie with Anna herself due to a problem that’s been developing since we first heard “For the First Time in Forever.” Here’s the thing: all this time Anna has been living in a completely different story from Elsa. Anna, up to this moment, is still the stereotypical Disney Princess: happy, bubbly, eternally optimistic, and a firm believer that “true love at first sight” can fix everything. Not only does this make her diametrically opposed to her sister and how she thinks, she also has no idea of what Elsa has been going through in trying to keep her ice powers hidden all this time, and is therefore going about her plan all the wrong way.

You don’t have to protect me. I’m not afraid!
Please don’t shut me out again
Please don’t slam the door
You don’t have to keep your distance anymore

‘Cause for the first time in forever
I finally understand
For the first time in forever
We can fix this hand in hand

We can head down this mountain together!
You don’t have to live in fear
‘Cause for the first time in forever
I will be right here

—————————–

Elsa tries gently to tell Anna to go home before she accidentally does something to make the situation worse, but Anna isn’t listening. She’s so convinced she can just “fix” this situation that she’s not taking in what Elsa is saying and, well, things get worse from there.

Anna…
Please go back home, your life awaits
Go enjoy the sun and open up the gates

Yeah, but-

I know!
You mean well, but leave me be
Yes, I’m alone but I’m alone and free!
Just stay away and you’ll be safe from me

Actually, we’re not
What do you mean you’re not?
I get the feeling you don’t know
What do I not know?
Arendelle’s in deep, deep, deep, deep… snow.

What?
You’ve kind of set off an eternal winter… everywhere.
Everywhere?
It’s okay, you can just unfreeze it.
No, I can’t. I— I don’t know how!
Sure you can! I know you can!

This is it, the crux of the entire scene and the climax of this reprise. We have Elsa and Anna singing two different songs at the same time. Anna’s convinced that her optimism will make this all better while Elsa is rapidly spiraling out of control with fear and self-loathing. She tries one last time to get Anna to stop forcing the issue (“Anna, please, you’ll only make it worse!”) but her sister still isn’t listening. And then it comes, the moment that gets to me every single time: Elsa’s second to last note (“I”) morphs into an almost primal cry of frustration before she finally snaps out “I CAN’T!” and loses her temper, setting the second half of the film into motion.

Anna: (Elsa:)
‘Cause for the first time in forever
(Oh, I’m such a fool, I can’t be free)
You don’t have to be afraid
(No escape from the storm inside of me)
We can work this out together
(I can’t control the curse)
We’ll reverse the storm you’ve made
(Anna, please, you’ll only make it worse!)

Don’t panic
(There’s so much fear)
We’ll make the sun shine bright!
(You’re not safe here)
We can face this thing together
(No…)
We can change this winter weather
(I…)
And everything will be all right…
(I can’t!!!)

I would never go so far to say that Anna brought this on herself, but this sequence does show why it’s not always wise to persistently offer help to someone when you don’t fully know the situation. Of course Anna means well, but her lack of information (admittedly not her fault since Elsa has kept her ice powers to herself since childhood) leads to catastrophic consequences in a sequence that is heart wrenching to watch.

Let me know what you think about the reprise of “For the First Time in Forever” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Frozen “Frozen Heart” (2013)

Frozen “For the First Time in Forever” (2013)

Frozen “Love is an Open Door” (2013)

Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

Frozen “In Summer” (2013)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Frozen “In Summer” (2013)

Frozen has some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout its story, and one of the funniest happens with Olaf’s song “In Summer.” To recap, while making their way to Elsa’s ice castle in the mountains, Anna and Kristoff encounter Olaf, a living snowman that Elsa unwittingly made while fleeing Arendelle. Olaf is an interesting character in that he is a snowman fascinated with summertime and heat, two things that are definitely not healthy for a being made of snow.

Yet, Olaf seems blissfully unaware of the fact that experiencing summertime and heat is impossible for someone like him, as he breaks into song about all the things he can’t wait to experience when summer arrives.

Bees’ll buzz
Kids’ll blow dandelion fuzz
And I’ll be doing whatever snow does in summer

A drink in my hand
My snow up against the burning sand
Prob’ly getting gorgeously tanned in summer

I’ll finally see a summer breeze blow away a winter storm
And find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm

And I can’t wait to see
What my buddies all think of me
Just imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summer

Dah-dah, da-doo, a-bah-bah-bah bah-bah-boo

The hot and the cold are both so intense
Put ’em together, it just makes sense!

Rrr-raht da-daht dah-dah-dah dah-dah-dah dah dah doo

Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a…happy snowman!

When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream
Of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam

Oh, the sky will be blue
And you guys will be there too
When I finally do what frozen things do in summer!

Kristoff: I’m gonna tell him.
Anna: Don’t you dare!

In summer!

Olaf is so delightfully clueless throughout the entire song. It’s also really funny to see a snowman dancing through a field of dandelions. Of course the answer for what “frozen things do in summer” is evident throughout, but Olaf either won’t acknowledge it or just doesn’t get it. The funniest moment of all, in a semi-dark way, is at the very end when Olaf sings about “But put me in summer and I’ll be a…happy snowman!” The rhyme, of course, should be puddle to go with cuddle in the preceding line, but Olaf deftly sidesteps the rhyme and goes his own way.

“In Summer” is a really funny interlude before things start to get dark in the story. Let me know what you think about “In Summer” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Frozen “Frozen Heart” (2013)

Frozen “For the First Time in Forever” (2013)

Frozen “Love is an Open Door” (2013)

Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

Frozen “For the First Time in Forever (reprise)” (2013)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Frozen II “All is Found” (2019)

I’ve mentioned before that Frozen II is full of music, and it doesn’t take long for the songs to begin. Right at the very beginning of the film we get a song from Queen Iduna as she sings to the young Anna and Elsa (in a scene that is clearly set before the childhood accident that kicks off the events of Frozen). To help her daughters sleep, Iduna sings a song called “All is Found.”

It’s a beautiful song, and one that foreshadows the main story to come, where Anna, Elsa, and company go off to find Ahtohallan, the “river of memory.” It foreshadows much more also, including Elsa’s dive for information on the past of Arendelle, and also take note of the line “when all is lost, then all is found.” If you think about it, things get pretty bleak for our heroes before the answers begin to make themselves known. I love that the movie starts with a song that hints at everything to come.

Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a river full of memory
Sleep my darlings safe and sound
For in this river all is found

In her waters deep and true
Lie the answers and a path for you
Dive down deep into her sound
But not too far or you’ll be drowned

Yes she will sing to those who hear
And in her song all magic flows
But can you brave what you must fear
Can you face what the river knows

Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a mother full of memory
Come my darling homeward bound
When all is lost, then all is found

This song also serves as a bridge between the past and present, as a swift reprise of the song brings us flying to Arendelle where Queen Elsa continues to rule (though not as free of doubt as she pretends to be). While “All is Found” isn’t anywhere close to the level of “Into the Unknown” or “Show Yourself”, it is a lovely little song and a fine addition to the Frozen II soundtrack.

Let me know what you think about “All is Found” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Frozen II “Into the Unknown” (2019)

Frozen II “Show Yourself” (2019)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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The Little Mermaid “Les Poissons” (1989)

As a general rule, I pride myself on having a pretty good memory where Disney’s animated films are concerned. Having grown up on them, and seen most of them dozens of times each, I can quote most of the songs in each film, if not entirely then at least their general premise. That’s why I’m so ashamed to say…I completely forgot about “Les Poissons” in The Little Mermaid. And when I say forget, I mean I completely forgot this sequence even existed (except for a vague memory of Sebastian being coated with flour).

Today I’m rectifying this lapse in memory by looking at a short song that would be purely funny in any other film, but actually takes on aspects of horror given the audience (Sebastian). The premise is simple: Sebastian, sneaking into the castle to keep an eye on Ariel, finds himself (to his horror), in the kitchen, where Chef Louis is happily preparing food for Prince Eric and company. Chef Louis was voiced by the late René Auberjonois, and at first appears to be a completely harmless character. That is until he starts chopping fish. Given how Sebastian has already sung a song to Ariel (“Under the Sea”) hinting at what happens to fish on land, this song is like all of the crab’s worst nightmares brought to life.

 

Nouvelle cuisine
Les Champs-Élysées, Maurice Chevalier

Les poissons, les poissons
How I love les poissons!
Love to chop
And to serve little fish.

(*Chop, chop, chop!*)

First I cut off their heads
Then I pull out their bones.
Ah mais oui, ça c’est toujours délice.

(Sebastian gags)

Les poissons, les poissons
Hee-hee-hee, hon-hon-hon
With a cleaver I hack them in two.

(Sebastian examines a dead fish’s head and gasps)

I pull out what’s inside
And I serve it up fried.
God, I love little fishes, don’t you?

chef-louis1.jpg

(Louis adds cooked fish to a platter)

Here’s something for tempting the palate
Prepared in the classic technique.
First you pound the fish flat with a mallet.

(Louis pounds the table hard)

Then you slash off their skin.
Give their belly a slice.
Then you rub some salt in
‘Cause that makes it taste nice.

Wow, for being a mere chef, Louis really does like to swing that cleaver around doesn’t he? Given how most of this song is scene from Sebastian’s perspective, the shadows, the entire scene really does come across as something like horror (and for a crab like Sebastian, that’s exactly what it would be). And like any horror film, it only gets worse for our little crab…
(Louis removes a leaf from the counter and finds Sebastian hiding underneath)

(Spoken) Zut alors ! I have missed one!

(Louis picks up Sebastian)

Sacrebleu ! What is this?
How on earth could I miss
Such a sweet little succulent crab?

Quel dommage, what a loss!
Here we go in the sauce.
Now some flour-I think just a dab.

chef-louis-little-mermaid.png

(Sebastian sneezes)

Now I stuff you with bread.
It don’t hurt, ’cause you’re dead
And you’re certainly lucky you are.

(Sebastian spits out the stuffed crab filling)

‘Cause it’s gonna be hot
In my big silver pot
Tootle-loo, mon poisson, au revoir!

In fitting Disney fashion, Sebastian quickly gets his revenge on Chef Louis, and a hilarious chase ensues, bringing the brief episode of “Les Poissons” to a close. Having rewatched the video several times, I can’t believe I ever forgot about this scene and I’m glad I finally revisited it. Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Little Mermaid “Daughters of Triton” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Part of Your World” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Vanessa’s Song” (1989)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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My Thoughts on: Underwater (2020)

*minor spoilers for the film can be found below

I was aware I was taking a risk when I chose Underwater to be my first theater visit of 2020. As I’ve mentioned many times before, horror films are not something I choose to see very often. But after the success of going to see Midsommar last summer, I was feeling brave, and the trailer for Underwater got me so curious…that I decided I had to see it.

Underwater is a science-fiction horror film, apparently set in the near future, when humans have built a seven-mile deep drill that stretches all the way to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Nora (Kristen Stewart), a mechanical engineer, along with other survivors, is forced to fight for her life when something mysterious begins to destroy the drill.

fYPiQewg7ogbzro2XcCTACSB2KC-1280x720.jpg

First things first, I can definitely state that Underwater is a scary film. The jump scares are the kind that kept my hands plastered in front of my face for a decent chunk of the movie. Another thing is that the film wastes very little time in getting started with the action (though given it only has a 95 minute run time that’s understandable). But by far the most important thing I took away from Underwater is that it appears to be heavily inspired, if not derived from, Ridley Scott’s Alien.

The numerous similarities are uncanny. The diving suits are quite similar to the Alien spacesuits. The location (bottom of the Mariana Trench) is so remote and hostile it might as well be outer space. There’s a pan shot of a seemingly empty station that reminded me of the opening shot of the inside of the Nostromo. There’s even a brief examination of a mysterious creature that reminded me of Ash examining the facehugger (though thankfully there is no chestburster scene in this film). If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the pitch for this film ran along the lines of “It’s Alien, but at the bottom of the ocean.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Alien is such an iconic story it’s understandable that people would want to imitate it even 41 years later. However, at the same time, Alien is so good, each similarity I saw in Underwater reminded me that Alien did it first.

underwater-trailer.jpg

Still, if you like scary movies where the protagonists are chased by barely-glimpsed sea monsters, then you will probably like Underwater, though your mileage will definitely vary when you reach the film’s climax. That’s where the film got weird for me. In the last 10-15 minutes, something is introduced that…I’m still not sure how to describe. This thing looked like it came out of a completely different film. If I’m really honest, my first thought on glimpsing “it” (I won’t fully describe it because you really need to see it for yourself) was “is this secretly a film about Cthulhu?” I can’t say it ruined the film, because it held my attention every time “it” appeared, but it is definitely an out of left field moment given everything that happened up until that point. What I’m trying to say is, up until this point in Underwater, the story felt reasonably believable: the drill has undoubtedly opened up a place where a previously unknown form of sea life dwelt and they are royally pissed off at having their space invaded. Then this thing appears and, like I said, it got weird.

For the most part, I liked the film’s cast. Kristen Stewart especially stood out to me, I really liked her work as Nora. The thing with Vincent Cassel being in the film is, all I could see was The Night Fox from Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen. That’s not a ding on Cassel, but it’s what I kept thinking of any time his character appeared. And on a random note: I love that the rabbit survived.

Ultimately, though I was terrified for most of it, I don’t regret going to see Underwater. It’s frightening, a lot of it is scarily plausible, and that last bit at the end makes me super curious to see if there are any follow-ups in the future. If they made another film in the same universe, I would be okay with it (mostly because I want to know what the frack that thing was).

Let me know what you think about Underwater in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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The Twilight Zone S3 E5: A Game of Pool

“A Game of Pool” is an episode of The Twilight Zone that has become one of my favorites. I admit I ignored it at first, mostly because I wasn’t interested in an episode that centers around the game of pool. But once I checked the episode out, and then watched it several times, I realized it’s a particularly good entry in the series and one that I needed to write about.

The thing with “A Game of Pool” is that its premise is a little difficult to figure out at first. On the surface, this episode appears to be a clear-cut case of “be careful what you wish for.” Pool shark Jesse Cardiff (Jack Klugman), tired of continually being compared to the late legendary pool player ‘Fats’ Brown (Jonathan Winters), makes the mistake of saying he’d give anything to play one game with Brown to prove who is the best. This being the Twilight Zone, Brown appears to accept the challenge.

agameofpool

So in a sense this is “be careful what you wish for” but it’s also something more. As the episode plays on and Jesse eventually agrees to a game with Brown, it becomes obvious pretty quickly that something else is in play. While the episode acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with becoming the best at something, it does remind the audience that this shouldn’t be done at the expense of having a life outside of that something. Jesse openly acknowledges that his entire life has revolved around pool for years, to a disturbing degree:

Do you know how many hours, how many years I’ve put of myself into this game? How many nights I slept on that table right there? Yea, I did that. I made a deal with the owner so I could practice after the place closed. I haven’t been to the movies in years, I haven’t dated a girl, read a book, because it would take time away from the game.

Jesse is so obsessed with being the best at pool that he’s literally withdrawn from life. If they were to remake this episode today, they’d probably replace pool with video games, because to hear Jesse talk reminds me of stories of gamers who shut themselves in for days at a time, relentlessly playing a game to hone their skills. It’s frightening to think about: he’s spent all this time working to perfect his skills at pool, even Fats Brown didn’t go that far, and he tells Jesse as much, but the pool shark doesn’t listen.

CBS_TWILIGHT_ZONE_070_HD_IMAGE_1280x720_1202658883529

And that’s the other thing about “A Game of Pool.” If you listen to Fats Brown’s dialogue closely, it’s clear that there’s a lot more to the stakes than what he’s telling. Given the stakes of the game seem to include Jesse “dying” if he loses, Fats tries several times to get Jesse to lose the game, right down to the last shot actually. But once he sees Jesse really won’t listen, he gives up and lets fate take its course. As with all Twilight Zone episodes, this one has its own doozy of a twist. When Fats said the pool game would be a matter of “life and death” he wasn’t speaking literally. Because Jesse won the game, he will now live forever (after death), until someone else can beat him the way he did Fats. If he’d lost, he would’ve “died” in the sense that he wouldn’t be a legend and would simply pass on once his life ended.

I suppose Jesse Cardiff’s fate isn’t the worse thing that’s ever happened to a character in The Twilight Zone. After all, Fats Brown was beat eventually, one would assume someone would beat Jesse in time also. But the way Jesse talked at the end about never letting anyone take the title of “being the best” away from him, I suspect it will be a long time before Jesse is allowed to “rest.”

Let me know what you think about “A Game of Pool” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Reviews

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