Soundtrack Review: Anne With an “E” (2017-2019)

Original Music from the CBC and Netflix series Anne with an “E” is now available on CD exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records. The soundtrack to Northwood Entertainment’s series can be ordered on VareseSarabande.com and other retailers. The album includes the theme song “Ahead by a Century” by The Tragically Hip and score from the composing duo of Amin Bhatia and Ari Posner.

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The series, a reimagining of the classic book Anne of Green Gables, is a coming-of-age story about a young orphan who is seeking love, acceptance and her place in the world. Amybeth McNulty stars as Anne, who has endured an abusive childhood in orphanages and the homes of strangers. Set in the late 1890s, Anne is mistakenly sent to live with aging siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert (played by Geraldine James and R.H. Thomson), who reside on Prince Edward Island. Anne, who proves to be uniquely spirited, imaginative and smart, transforms the lives of Marilla, Matthew and everyone else in their small town. While Anne with an “E” honors the foundation of L. M. Montgomery’s novel, the series explores contemporary issues of identity, racism, feminism, friendship, bullying, gender parity, and empowerment through the lens of its fierce, starry-eyed, irrepressible protagonist.

Regarding the soundtrack for Anne with an “E” the composers had the following to say:

Doing a soundtrack felt natural because much like an orchestra, the series Anne with an “E” contains a great many components that are all moving in the same direction to tell beautiful and inspiring stories contained within. There were certain instruments and styles of music that we decided on quite early in the process. The Celtic flavor was a natural choice from the very beginning, and this informed the instrumentation that usually includes fiddle, tin whistle, accordion and mandolin. However, we were encouraged to experiment and expand those parameters wherever it felt right for the story, so that brought in other woodwinds and strings, ambient and percussive textures, solo cello and of course piano.

A period piece though it may be, the stories in Anne with an “E” are universal and timeless. Every detail, including the costumes and sets, the writing, the acting and even the live instruments in our score are incredibly accurate to the time. Yet a contemporary light shines on the issues that these characters would have faced back then, issues that are old as time and still as true and meaningful today. In that sense, much like the Tragically Hip’s main title song “Ahead by a Century”, we have always felt that the whole concept behind the show was exactly that

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With nearly 50 scores to his credit, Emmy nominated composer Amin Bhatia has written music for film, TV and album projects for over 30 years. Versatile in both orchestral and electronic music, Amin’s television projects in addition to the CBC/Netflix/Northwood series Anne with an “E”, include internationally acclaimed series Flashpoint and X Company, the docudrama series Blood and Fury: America’s Civil War, as well as guest compositions on The Handmaid’s Tale. Ari Posner is a fixture in Canadian film and television, in addition to scoring Netflix/CBC/Northwood’s Anne with an “E”, Posner’s series scoring credits include X Company, Blood and Fury: America’s Civil War, and the critically acclaimed TV series Flashpoint, as well as the feature films All the Wrong Reasons, Borealis, and the romantic comedy My Awkward Sexual Adventure. The music composer’s repertoire spans from long-format work to ads to animated series, and everything in between.

TRACK LISTING
1.    Ahead by a Century Performed by The Tragically Hip
2.    Good Morning Anne
3.    Picking Up A Girl
4.    The White Way of Delight
5.    Tree Perspective
6.    A Big Day Ahead
7.    The Power of A Child
8.    Matthew And Anne
9.    Meet Miss Stacey
10.  A Nature Symphony
11.  Passage of Time
12.  Forgiveness
13.  Never Going Back
14.  My Daughter Anne
15.  You Can Ride to Back
16.  Forbidden to Fraternize
17.  Marilla Waits
18.  Unrequited Love
19.  The Growing Storm
20.  It’s All Broken
21.  Fire in The Town
22.  Dr. Gilbert Blythe
23.  Kindred Spirits
24.  My Friend Cole
25.  Mission of Magnitude
26.  Dearest Diana
27.  Simplest of Gifts
28.  We’re Rich Aren’t We
29.  No Regrets
30.  Make Your Own Decision
31.  Goodnight Anne

Let me know what you think about the soundtrack for Anne With an “E” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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My Thoughts on: Trolls (2016)

Well, as the saying goes, better late to the party than never! Four years after its release to theaters, I finally sat down and watched DreamWorks animated film Trolls. As I recall, I skipped this film because, well, it was November 2016 and certain things were happening, and I just never got around to checking it out as I wasn’t really feeling the vibes of this film. However, when I saw that a sequel would be coming out this spring, I decided to give Trolls a chance.

And wow, what a cute, amazing, adorable film! I admit, I wasn’t exactly keen on the premise of a movie based on the Trolls toys I played with when I was a little kid, but the studio really makes it work. There’s a believable backstory, a sensible plot, and even a satisfying twist in the third act (albeit one that’s slightly telegraphed in hindsight, but it is a children’s movie so I’ll let it slide).

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In brief, Trolls follows the titular characters as they escape the clutches of the Bergens, a perpetually unhappy group who believe that eating trolls is the only way to feel even a glimmer of happiness. 20 years after their initial escape, the Bergens recapture most of the trolls, and Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), along with a somewhat reluctant Branch (Justin Timberlake), take it upon themselves to rescue them. Comedic adventures ensue.

I think my favorite part of Trolls, adorable animation aside, is the awesome soundtrack. This is the kind of film you can jump up and dance to, or at least tap your feet to. Having Justin Timberlake in the cast was great, although for a minute or two I was legitimately convinced that he would go the entire film without singing (oh the irony). And really the rest of the cast is awesome too, with Anna Kendrick and Zooey Deschanel among my favorites. I also have to give a shoutout to Christine Baranski as Chef, she makes an awesome villain.

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If you still haven’t seen Trolls, I highly recommend it. It’s a little over 90 minutes of adorable, quirky fun and I’m glad I finally checked it out after all this time.

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

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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Hercules “Zero to Hero” (1997)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Hercules is one of my favorite films from the Disney Renaissance era. By this time (1997), the Renaissance had been in full swing for almost a decade, and everyone involved really had gotten what they needed to do down pat.

Case in point: “Zero to Hero” is a prime example of the perfect Disney song. It picks up immediately after Hercules’ victory over the Hydra and consists of the Muses narrating the young hero’s rise to fame through song, unwittingly defeating all of Hades’ attempts to stop him in the process.

 

Bless my soul
Herc was on a roll
Person of the week in every Greek opinion poll
What a pro
Herc could stop a show
Point him at a monster and you’re talking S.R.O.
He was a no one
A zero, zero
Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero
Here was a kid with his act down pat
From zero to hero ― in no time flat
Zero to hero ― just like that

When he smiled
The girls went wild with oohs and aahs
And they slapped his face
On every vase (on every “vahse”)

Zero_to_Hero

From appearance fees and royalties
Our Herc had cash to burn
Now nouveau riche and famous
He could tell you what’s a Grecian urn

Say amen
There he goes again
Sweet and undefeated
And an awesome 10 for 10
Folks lined up
Just to watch him flex
And this perfect package packed a pair of pretty pecs

Hercie, he comes, he sees, he conquers
Honey, the crowds were going bonkers
He showed the moxie brains, and spunk
From zero to hero ― a major hunk
Zero to hero ― and who’da thunk?

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Who put the glad in gladiator?
Hercules!
Whose daring deeds are great theater?
Hercules!
Is he bold?
No one braver
Is he sweet?
Our favorite flavor

Hercules
Hercules
Hercules
Hercules
Hercules
Hercules

Bless my soul
Herc was on a roll
Undefeated
Riding high
And the nicest guy
Not conceited

He was a nothin’
A zero, zero
Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero

He hit the heights at breakneck speed
From zero to hero
Herc is a hero
Now he’s a hero
Yes indeed!

Now one thing you may not know about this song is that a live-action version was shot as reference material. Yes, even after all these years, in the 1990s Disney still used the trick of shooting certain sequences in live-action before animating them. And thanks to the wonderful creation known as YouTube, I can show that footage to you!

 

The sequence is intercut with the live-action muses and storyboards. What’s interesting, if you pay attention, is how the story change from the storyboard phase to the finished product. For instance, in the segment where Hercules takes down a giant serpent, it appears in the storyboard that they had the idea of having a Gorgon (Medusa maybe?) as his opponent. I love getting to see behind-the-scenes moment like this, and I hope you enjoy watching it as well.

It’s a great song, and it really makes it appear that Hercules is well on his way to becoming a true hero. But is he really? Well…this IS a Disney movie, so you know things won’t be quite THAT easy. However, that’s a story for another day.

Let me know what you think about “Zero to Hero” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

Hercules “Gospel Truth II & III” (1997)

Hercules “Go the Distance” (1997)

Hercules “One Last Hope” (1997)

Hercules “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” (1997)

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

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John Powell talks Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

At the tail end of Disney’s short-lived attempt to produce a new Star Wars film every single year (a feat that I predicted wouldn’t last long), came Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second (and so far final) anthology film set in the Star Wars universe. As the title implies, the film gives us the backstory of Han Solo and gives us an idea of how he met up with Chewbacca, acquired the Millennium Falcon, and so on.

 

Given that Solo came on the heels of The Last Jedi, it surprised few people when this film didn’t do so well at the box office. Which is a shame, given that Solo has a particularly good score. John Powell did the honors, while John Williams helped by putting together the film’s main theme.

I’ll agree that Solo isn’t the best entry in the Star Wars universe as a whole, but that doesn’t mean its fabulous score should be neglected. John Powell really did the score justice, and proved that it is possible to have a good Star Wars score that wasn’t composed by John Williams (something we’ll have to get used to now that he’s retired from composing for Star Wars films).

To gain some insight into how the score for Solo: A Star Wars Story was put together, please enjoy this full-length interview that was conducted with John Powell last year. I found the interview to be full of great insights and i hope you enjoy it.

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

See also:

John Powell talks How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

My Thoughts on: Solo: A Star Wars Story (with spoilers!) (2018)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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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

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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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

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook