Soundtrack Review: Titane (2021)

As I’ve been enviously watching the latest film festival lineups from afar, the one film I’ve wanted to see the most out of all of them is Titane, the latest film from director Julia Ducournau. Well, I may have to wait a little longer to see the film itself, but I have been given the opportunity to listen to the film’s soundtrack and I definitely have some thoughts about it.

The soundtrack for Titane was composed by Jim Williams and is available to preorder now and will be available starting today, October 1. The film is the second collaboration between Williams and Ducournau, the duo having worked together on Ducournau’s 2016 feature film debut Raw.

Regarding the music for Titane, Jim Williams had the following to say:

“The score for Titane grows from a short theme for a scene where the protagonist leaves home in startling circumstances…Initially in a contemporary popular music style with a tinge of John Barry, later this was set with metal percussion and male voice choir using the Neapolitan Minor for a scene set in a car. As the film develops the theme takes on an emotional, darker twist.”

And what music it is!! Ever since I heard the premise for Titane, I was eager for any peek, however small, at the film. So when I got the opportunity to preview the soundtrack for Titane, I jumped at the chance.

Let me start by saying that this might not be the type of soundtrack you were expecting for a story like Titane, especially with some of the preview visuals that I’ve seen for the film. In fact, the music starts out so different at the beginning of the soundtrack that I actually double-checked to make sure I was listening to the right audio files. However, as I dove into the music and moved farther in, I realized this unusual music (it’s almost all timpani drums in the beginning) was growing on me. There’s a harsh, almost mechanical feeling to the first half of the soundtrack and given film’s premise that makes total sense.

As near as I can tell, Williams and Ducournau made the decision to center the music around the mechanical aspects of the story, at least in the beginning. There are human elements in the mix to be sure, but they don’t come out until later, presumably as the story is progressing along (this is speculation on my part as I’ve yet to actually see the film). But I’m fascinated by Williams’ decision to focus so much on percussion and drums. You don’t hear a score centered on that kind of sound mix all that often, in fact for me personally I can’t recall hearing anything quite like this before. The mix of drums and some type of gong that dominates the early part of the soundtrack, it all reminds me of a twisted, metal temple; or some type of metallic sacred space. That may sound weird but it’s the best description I can come up with. You almost have to hear the music yourself to even begin to understand it.

Even when the music does shift away from being strictly percussion (one example is “Bathroom Pieta”), the percussive sounds never really go away, they’re always lingering in the background. And I like how the music that’s created during these later tracks (again, “Bathroom Pieta” and also “Belly Oil”) still feels twisted and warped. Everything about this music will feel slightly “off” to your ears and I firmly believe that is by design (again, given the film’s subject matter). You are not meant to feel comfortable listening to this music, I know it left me on edge for the most part.

One final detail that grabbed my attention: I like how the later tracks seem to be leading toward a church-like motif with what sounds like an organ (or at least a synthesized version of one). If the first half of Titane‘s soundtrack is set in a metallic temple, the second half ends up in a cathedral, albeit one equally as twisted as where the music starts in the beginning.

Titane Soundtrack Track Listing

1.Gym to Car
2.Fan in Car Kill
3.Car Fuck [Explicit]
4.Beach Puke
5.Justine Kill
6.House Burning
7.Airport
8.Simulator
9.Bathroom Pieta
10.Belly Oil
11.Forest Fire
12.Sarabande
13.Ending from Bedroom
14.Ending from Kiss
15.End Credits
16.Wayfaring Stranger
17.Apocalypse
18.God and Drug

I highly recommend checking out the soundtrack for Titane at the earliest opportunity. This is one of the most interesting soundtracks I’ve listened to this year and it’s made me more eager than ever to watch the actual film the first chance I get.

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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1 thought on “Soundtrack Review: Titane (2021)

  1. suprema rana toro

    I just saw yesterday Titane and it was a great experience, twisted and weird in a good sense. Once home I listened to the soundtrack and it’s really interesting, minimalistic and eerie. It remainded me somethimes of Carlos’ A clockwork Orange

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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