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    •  
      CommentAuthorBregt
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2017 edited
    2017 is almost over and for me personally I didn't find many film music favourites. I have the impression that is what most here experienced as well. However, I have a lot of favourite tracks (perhaps that is also due to the Spotify age) but for some reason they can't convince me to listen to the full cd again. It has never been fantastic somehow.

    I'm sure I missed a lot of scores so here's a thread for our favourites this year to get me up to date on what I missed. Thanks a Spotify Best of 2017 playlist I discovered Tokyo Ghoul, which has some very good pieces. If there could be one "rule" then that is that I don't want just a list. A description, or a "favourite scores within the movie"...

    Concert wise it was also very quiet. I think there was only WSA which I attended, and that was just a fine concert but nothing more. I skipped the JNH concert.

    As for movies, my favourites were Dunkirk, Call Me By Your Name, You Were Never Really Here. Haven't seen Coco, The Last Jedi, The Square and Blade Runner unfortunately (the latter running for a very short time).
    Kazoo
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2017
    I'll post my Top 10 of the Year webcast soon, as well as my Top 20 movie list at Montages, so I won't give anything away just yet. But yes -- my top 10 this year is weaker than previous years.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSouthall
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2017
    Not a great year, but there were a handful of very strong scores, particularly (as I'm sure Thor will agree) by Michael Giacchino and Alexandre Desplat.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2017
    Southall wrote
    Not a great year, but there were a handful of very strong scores, particularly (as I'm sure Thor will agree) by Michael Giacchino and Alexandre Desplat.
    `

    Ha, ha....I'll pretend they never existed in the first place.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorLSH
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2017
    Dreadful.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2017
    LSH wrote
    Dreadful.


    Personally or film/film music-wise?

    I think I have about the same amount of dreadful things to say about the personal year of 2017 (and I'm well aware of your "escape").
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorLSH
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2017 edited
    I try not to hold too much emotional significance to a year, which is essentially a unit of time like any other. But you can’t help it sometimes. 2016 was bad. 2017 was terrible. Hope 2018 is back to being bad, at the very worst.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2017
    Warmest wishes to you, Lee. I could 'harp on' about the difficulties of 2017, but I'd rather keep it to myself.

    Meanwhile, I'm all open to discussing the best/worst films and film scores of the year.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBregt
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2018
    Damn, all those bad stories. I can only wish a much better year for you both. And I hope you will all be all right soon.
    Kazoo
  1. Hey, everybody!

    It took me a while to nail down my top scores from 2017, but I think I've finally done it. I listened to 282 film, tv, and video game scores from 2017. That's way more than I've ever had the time or ability to listen to from a single year before. In all those scores I would only give 4 stars (out of 5) to my top 8 scores here, and I would only give 3.5 stars to my top 25. This has led me to conclude that this year, I'm going to listen to fewer scores, and try to limit my listening to scores I'm more certain I'll like.

    You may have noticed that I’m a total sucker for beautiful melodic orchestral scores. The following list has a disproportionate number of them. I posted this over at Filmtracks, too, but I though I'd put this here as well in hopes that it might generate some discussion and some similar sharing from our Maintitles crowd, who are my favorite film music community on the web smile

    The Top Ten

    1. VICEROY’S HOUSE – A. R. Rahman.

    This is music that tells a story. There are just little things throughout this score that elevate it for me. For example, it has a killer love theme, but it isn’t overplayed or presented in full from the beginning. It makes a brief cameo at the beginning of the opening “Viceroy’s House.” “Limerence” (the fifth track) is orchestrated the same way that we usually hear the main theme, but it never quite gets to that melody. It’s not until “Two Broken Hearts” (the ninth track) that we finally hear it in full, and it is sumptuous! Another theme, probably representing the idea of separation or partition, is introduced in “Displacement.” The number of variations Rahman puts this theme through is impressive. You hear it again in tracks 6, 10, 11, and 16, but it’s presented differently every time. The last four tracks are sensational. The celebratory music for the independence of India and the creation of Pakistan is very nice. The final presentations of the love theme and separation theme are tragic and beautiful. “The Cost of Freedom” is perfect. It brings everything together just wonderfully. I love it. This score is just so well put together. It’s music with a dramatic arc. It introduces themes as they’re needed, builds the story, varies the themes throughout, and is never less than lovely. This is my kind of music.

    2. A UNITED KINGDOM – Patrick Doyle

    The main theme is just lovely. It’s also the love theme for the main characters. It reoccurs frequently in this score, but that makes sense given the story. This couple faced all kinds of obstacles and challenges, but the one thing that remained constant was their love for each other. So goes the scores. The love theme is there often and through whatever difficulty they experience. Sometimes it’s happy, and sometimes it’s tragic. There’s another theme that reoccurs and is especially noticeable toward the end of the score. It’s a close cousin to the love theme. The whole score just constantly demonstrates that Doyle is a master of the orchestra. “Independence” is the show-stopper. The main theme is presented gently at first and becomes triumphant and then just rapturously beautiful. Now I’m going to have two tracks on my Doyle compilation playlist called “Independence” (the other is from WAH WAH, and I highly recommend it if you’ve never heard it).

    3. CELLO – Randy Kerber

    This score really came out of nowhere for me. I was only made aware of it through others’ top ten lists. It’s a wonderful showcase for the titular instrument. “A Choice to Be Made” is just very lovely and reminds me of the great James Horner in a lot of ways (not the least of which is that from 4:11–4:22 the melody is very close to something Horner actually did write). The Hide and Seek theme is delightful. It’s very classical and the suite it gets at the end is just really well done. “Their Journey” is another highlight. It doesn’t sound shaped by whatever is happening on screen at all—it sounds like a concert piece. This is just a beautiful score.

    4. RAFFAELLO, IL PRINCIPE DELLE ARTI – Matteo Curallo

    This is another score I discovered thanks to someone on the scoreboard in a documentary thread a little while ago. It’s really lovely, full of strings, piano and instrumental solos. There are also multiple recurring themes and motifs throughout. One of the early highlights is “In stile raffaellesco,” which features some solo violin and arpeggiating piano along with the orchestra. “Madonna del Cardellino” has some really nice solo cello along with more violin and piano. Like I said at the outset, I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. I could name a lot of other tracks I really like, but I would be naming almost every one. Maybe I’ll just mention “All ricercar della perfezione (le stanze vaticane).” It’s probably the cue on the album with the grandest scale.

    5. MULLY – Benjamin Wallfisch

    This documentary score is my favorite Wallfisch score of the year (and he’s had a big year!). I’m certain that he was inspired by the amazing subject of the film, Charles Mully, a homeless Kenyan orphan who became a business tycoon and then forsook his lucrative career to open the largest children’s rescue, rehabilitation, and development facility in all of Africa. It’s home to over 2000 orphans! The long-lined theme is first introduced in the gorgeous opening cue, “Father to the Fatherless.” “Mullyways” introduces an unexpected bit of funk to the score. “The Art of Empathy” includes another beautiful rendition of the main theme. My favorite cue of the score (and possibly of the year) is “Finding Water.” It starts out quietly and slowly builds. While initially somber, it has a sense that something important is coming. Then at 2:30 the strings break out in a glorious melody that only gets more glorious when it’s repeated. That segues into to the main theme at about 3:00 with the full orchestra and a big choir. It’s just a fantastic moment. It quiets down to a noble version of the theme at the end, making for a lovely denouement. It’s just a really excellent bit of scoring. The next two tracks are very nice, too. As a bonus, the album includes a track of music sung by the Mully Children’s Family Choir, a group of orphans that live at Charles Mully’s orphanage. The whole project sounds wonderful and I think Wallfisch has written something worthy of the incredible effort documented in the film.

    6. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – John Williams

    You’ve all heard it and have already formed your opinions about it. I'll just say this: I’ve never had a film spoiled by its soundtrack before, but I love that the themes from this series are so iconic and so consistent that being spoiled by the score was even a possibility. I eagerly await his next STAR WARS score.

    7. THE EXCEPTION – Ilan Eshkeri

    This is the third historical drama produced in the UK that’s made my list. I find that historical dramas generally require exactly the kind of music I like best, and THE EXCEPTION is no . . . exception (ba-dum, TISH!). The theme is fantastic. You’d better like, though, because it shows up a lot. It’s first introduced in “Waking Up,” initially on cello and then by the whole orchestra. There’s an interesting and slightly unusually rhythm introduced in the same cue (the snare drum plays it along with some of the strings) that becomes a recurring motif throughout the rest of the score as well. There are lots of strings, solo cello, and piano throughout the album. The Kaiser also gets a theme which is really nice, first introduced in “Chopping Wood” and given a nice cue at the end. Just before that the main theme gets a lovely reprisal on cello and then strings with some nice piano accompaniment in “Return to Berlin.” It’s just a really lovely album full of long-lined orchestral melodies and themes. A lot of it is pretty classical in nature. If that’s your thing and you’ve somehow missed out on this score, I highly recommend it.

    8. PASSAGE TO DAWN – Oscar Navarro

    This score has a lot more of what I like: lots of orchestral beauty featuring a lot of piano and cello. There’s also quite a bit of harp under many of the melodies. It’s just another in the long line of gorgeous thematic scores that came out last year. I absolutely love the final cue, “Passage to Dawn – Main Theme.” Piano, solo violin, and strings alternatively give us serenely beautiful variations on the main theme for nearly five minutes. It’s just wonderful.

    9. REBEL IN THE RYE – Bear McCreary

    Confession: I’ve never been a McCreary fan. I’ve liked some of the TV cues he’s written, but I’ve never been a huge fan of any album from him in its entirety. I now realize that McCreary just needs to score historical dramas all the time! If he did that, then I’m sure he would be one of my favorite composers. “Innocence” is one of the most gorgeous and powerful cues of the year. The structure of it is just perfect, from the slow beginning on piano, to the introduction of the Elmer Bernstein-esque flute. It really is a lovely throwback to scores like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. As the cue progresses you hear little moments featuring trumpet, french horn, accordion (!), and clarinet all supported by strings. Then it all builds to this huge moment at 2:49 with the full orchestra and piano that is totally stunning and one of the best things I heard last year. These kinds of long-lined melodies are what got me into film scores in the first place. Where so many major film scores these days have 3 and 4 note “themes” that are apparently sufficient to represent something in the film, it’s just so refreshing to me to hear proper themes that really say something (hence my over-use of the term “long-lined theme” in this write-up). There’s another excellent theme that represents Salinger writing, I think, which usually features the piano and some typewriter percussion, and which is best heard (imo) in “A True Writer,” or in the end credits, both of which are just excellent. There’s also a recurring melody that reminds me of softer covers of the Tears for Fears song “Mad World” (like Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’s cover from 2002). Listen to the first part of “Early Writing” and tell me I’m wrong. Every time that melody pops up again I want to sing lyrics from that song to it, and I almost can. The album is peppered with some original jazz compositions that might not be to everyone’s tastes, but can easily be programmed out. This is by far my favorite thing Bear McCreary has ever composed.

    10. ALI’S WEDDING – Nigel Westlake

    There’s a lot of good in this score. There are a handful of really really beautiful moments, there are some nice ethnic influences, some nice guitar, and it’s just expertly composed and orchestrated throughout. Westlake is such a talent. I think I like everything I’ve ever heard from him.

    The Rest of the Best

    11. HIDDEN – Ashton Gleckman
    It may be cliché now to score the Holocaust with solo violin, but it works on me every time.

    12. MADAME – Matthieu Gonet
    Thanks to Jon Broxton for introducing me to this gem, and this composer, in his international under-the-radar series.

    13. FERDINAND – John Powell
    Powell animation with a Spanish flare.

    14. EL JUGADOR DE AJEDREZ – Alejandro Vivas
    I love me some historical drama scores with lots of piano, solo cello, and solo violin. Great theme, too.

    15. LE COEUR EN BRAILLE – Philippe Jakko
    Charming and lovely throughout.

    16. HANNOUJI HOTEL – Naoki Sato
    Drags in the middle a bit, but an excellent beginning and end make up for it.

    17. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
    I have little gripes with some of the songs, but they’re so earnestly performed that it’s easy to look past those and get swept up in it all.

    18. ONNA JOSHU NAOTORA – Yoko Kanno
    I’m happy that so many on the board have enjoyed this one. It’s really good.

    19. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – Patrick Doyle
    There are enough highlights in this score to overcome some of the less exciting cues. “Justice” is superb.

    20. DOVE NON HO MAI ABITATO – Pino Donaggio
    My new favorite score from Donaggio.

    21. THEIR FINEST - Rachel Portman

    Her best in years.

    22. SO LET US MELT - Jessica Curry

    I'm a big fan of her music. She really knows her way around a choir.

    23. BOSTON - Jeff Beal

    A nice documentary score in the vein of inspirational sports film music.

    24. JUSTICE LEAGUE - Danny Elfman

    I loved hearing the Batman theme again. That was just awesome.

    25. GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN - Carter Burwell

    I liked all of Burwell's scores from this year more than I usually like his music, and this was my favorite of the bunch.

    Also, Ilan Eshkeri's NARCISSUS AND ECHO, a new ballet he composed in 2017, would have made my top 20 if it were a film/tv/vg score. It's very impressive.

    Favorite Cues

    I could post a list, but a list of 65+ track titles won't be fun to read, or very helpful, so here's a link to my spotify playlist containing all of those tracks. I'm in the process of creating a workable 60 - 70 minute playlist out of this, so most of this will eventually be deleted, but they're all of my favorite tracks from 2017 no logical order. If there's something here you haven't heard, you should check it out!

    https://open.spotify.com/user/124967473 … gnxV_bQ_ew

    Thanks for reading smile
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018 edited
    Thanks for the list, christopher. While our lists and preferences are somewhat dissimilar, we do have some overlap here.

    I'm glad you liked VICEROY'S HOUSE so much. It clocked in at my own 5th place of the year. Even if the film itself is really bad.

    You also have some of my own runner-ups to the top 10: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (vice versa, THE POST was my no. 3 score of the year!), PASSAGE TO DAWN, ALI'S WEDDING, LE COEUR EN BRAILLE, ONNA JOSHU NAOTORA (although not a FILM score, it was one of the best TV scores last year), THEIR FINEST and SO LET US MELT (again, not a FILM score, but the best videogame score last year, IMO).

    Better to focus on what we have in common than what on your list I DON'T care for. Also delighted that there is no Desplat or Giacchino on your list.
    I am extremely serious.
  2. Did nobody here like WONDER WOMAN? Rupert Gregson-Williams finally appeared on my radar for his delightful and touching score to that film. Definitely one of my favorite scores of 2017.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018 edited
    Haven't seen the film (my colleagues have been less than enthusiastic, to put it mildly), but I've sampled the score. Didn't do much for me, I'm afraid. And I like Rupert Gregson-Williams.

    I've grown tired of superhero things, unless it's something radical like LOGAN.
    I am extremely serious.
  3. Thor wrote
    Thanks for the list, christopher. While our lists and preferences are somewhat dissimilar, we do have some overlap here.

    I'm glad you liked VICEROY'S HOUSE so much. It clocked in at my own 5th place of the year. Even if the film itself is really bad.


    The film has some big problems. I feel like Rahman's score was deeply invested in the story, though, and that he scored the film that could have been.

    Thor wrote
    You also have some of my own runner-ups to the top 10: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (vice versa, THE POST was my no. 3 score of the year!), PASSAGE TO DAWN, ALI'S WEDDING, LE COEUR EN BRAILLE, ONNA JOSHU NAOTORA (although not a FILM score, it was one of the best TV scores last year), THEIR FINEST and SO LET US MELT (again, not a FILM score, but the best videogame score last year, IMO).

    Better to focus on what we have in common than what on your list I DON'T care for. Also delighted that there is no Desplat or Giacchino on your list.


    Yes, I included film, tv, and video game scores on my list. From your top ten, I also enjoyed the vast majority of BITTER HARVEST. There were just a few tracks that dragged the whole thing down for me. And while BRIMSTONE didn't make my top 25, there were several tracks from it that I really liked, most notably, the track that you highlighted on your show, "Genesis." That's on my Spotify playlist that I linked to at the end of my mega-post. BRIMSTONE was the first score that I really appreciated from Holkenborg. Because of that, and this year's DARK TOWER, my opinion of him has changed pretty dramatically. Several of the scores you highlighted were ones I hadn't heard, but based on the selections on your show, I don't think I need to check them out. The one of yours I haven't heard, though, that I would really like to be able to hear is VALLEY OF SHADOWS. Too bad there wasn't a release for that.

    Your last sentence made me laugh. I actually really liked some of the themes Giacchino wrote last year. He had a couple good ones in the third APES movie, and I thought his SPIDER-MAN theme was excellent, especially with all the variations he put it through. And COCO will probably rise in my estimation after I've seen the film, but even without that, I thought he really nailed the Mexican sound. Still, none of those scores were as thoroughly enjoyable for me as anything in my top 25.

    As for Desplat, he had a body of work last year that was easier for me to be impressed by than to actually enjoy, with the exception of SHAPE OF WATER, which I thought was really lovely for most of the time. I really like "Elisa's Theme." It's my favorite theme from either of those two composers from last year. That score just had a few tracks that dragged it down overall for me.

    Filmscoregirl wrote
    Did nobody here like WONDER WOMAN? Rupert Gregson-Williams finally appeared on my radar for his delightful and touching score to that film. Definitely one of my favorite scores of 2017.


    I thought he did an admirable job with WONDER WOMAN, actually. I liked his new themes, and I thought he incorporated Zimmer's theme well. It's just not really my kind of score, though. For a superhero score to land in my top 25 it has to be really exceptional. I would just rather listen to soft pretty music than big action music. That said, I should probably give WONDER WOMAN another listen. I might find it more enjoyable than I remember.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2018
    Of course, the problem with making lists is that you discover some gems AFTER you've made your Top 10.

    After I did my show, I discovered some titles that WOULD have made my top 10, had I known about them earlier. They include MAYHEM (Steve Moore) 120 BATTEMENTS PAR MINUTE (Arnaud Rebotini) and LA FORET (Etienne Forget) -- the latter sounds a bit like VALLEY OF SHADOWS' slightly less impressive cousin, but nonetheless gorgeous.

    But I've heard maybe 550 scores this year (scores and scores-in-context combined), so you have to draw a line somewhere.
    I am extremely serious.
  4. Thor wrote
    But I've heard maybe 550 scores this year (scores and scores-in-context combined), so you have to draw a line somewhere.

    Holy fuck. shocked
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteven
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2018
    How though. uhm
  5. Thor wrote
    But I've heard maybe 550 scores this year (scores and scores-in-context combined), so you have to draw a line somewhere.

    Indeed! That's amazing. I'm not sure that I could ever do that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2018
    It helps if it's your actual job.

    My lists:

    BEST SCORES OF 2017:

    You can hear my Top 10 show here:

    http://celluloidtunes.no/celluloid-tune … l-edition/

    Or, if you don't want to hear it, here's the playlist (in reverse order, from 10th place to 1st place):

    Blade Runner 2049 – “Mesa” – Benjamin Wallfisch & Hans Zimmer
    Brimstone – “Genesis” – Junkie XL
    Alien: Covenant – “The Covenant” – Jed Kurzel
    Good Time – “Good Time” – Daniel Lopatin
    Viceroy’s House – “Viceroy’s House” – A.R. Rahman
    Thank You For Your Service – “Gunmetal Clatter” – Thomas Newman
    Bitter Harvest – “Smila is My Home” – Benjamin Wallfisch
    The Post – “The Presses Roll” – John Williams
    The Circle – “Into a Circle” & “Happy Little Robots” – Danny Elfman
    Valley of Shadows – “Afterlife” & “Valley of Shadows: Wake Up” – Zbigniew Preisner

    20 BEST FILMS OF 2017 (Norwegian premiere dates):

    http://montages.no/2018/01/thor-joachims-topp-20-2017/

    Text is in Norwegian, but you can understand the titles.

    For a ranking of ALL the 2017 films I've seen (135 in total, out of a 192 movies totally seen), you can see the list here:

    https://mubi.com/lists/2017-films-ranked
    I am extremely serious.
  6. Thor wrote
    It helps if it's your actual job.

    I'm sure. I wish I could figure out how to get paid to listen to film music, it would make my life a lot more straightforward...
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
    Film, not film music. Although I do get paid for some film music-related jobs, but they're more about lecturing, organizing etc., not just listening.

    I'm not sure if anyone in the world makes a living out of listening to film music (and writing about it).
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorErik Woods
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
    Do you still skim through albums, Thor, are to you listening to each and everyone start to finish?

    -Erik-
    host and producer of CINEMATIC SOUND RADIO | www.cinematicsound.net | www.facebook.com/cinematicsound | I HAVE TINNITUS!
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
    Erik Woods wrote
    Do you still skim through albums, Thor, are to you listening to each and everyone start to finish?

    -Erik-


    Depends. Some I skim, some I listen through all the way. I have a system in play for this particular process.
    I am extremely serious.
  7. I think that, with so much music being available, a balance between 'skimming' through albums and listening to whole albums is inevitable. Particularly if you want to get a broad handle on what's being composed.

    Obviously, for reviewing and assessing what are the highlight scores of the year, a full listen several times is essential.

    One downside of this approach may be biasing opinions towards the 'immediate gratification' scores at the expense of scores that grow on the listener with multiple listens.
    The views expressed in this post are entirely my own and do not reflect the opinions of maintitles.net, or for that matter, anyone else. http://www.racksandtags.com/falkirkbairn
  8. FalkirkBairn wrote
    One downside of this approach may be biasing opinions towards the 'immediate gratification' scores at the expense of scores that grow on the listener with multiple listens.


    I think that would make for an interesting discussion topic. Scores that we didn't like at all when we first heard them, but then grew to really enjoy or either love later. Why do think multiple listens changes things? smile
  9. Filmscoregirl wrote
    FalkirkBairn wrote
    One downside of this approach may be biasing opinions towards the 'immediate gratification' scores at the expense of scores that grow on the listener with multiple listens.


    I think that would make for an interesting discussion topic. Scores that we didn't like at all when we first heard them, but then grew to really enjoy or either love later. Why do think multiple listens changes things? smile

    From my own experience, I think that the score that grows on me tends to happen on a timescale of months/years rather than weeks. Changing preferences - maybe due to expansion of what I've been listening to - make me re-appraise a score after a while. For the shorter-term change in opinion, I think that a more difficult score may not have that instant appeal and listening to it again and again allows you to examine in more detail what's happening deeper in the music.
    The views expressed in this post are entirely my own and do not reflect the opinions of maintitles.net, or for that matter, anyone else. http://www.racksandtags.com/falkirkbairn