This Star Wars movie was very much like the film world’s Be Here Now by Oasis, superhyped and a large disappointment after going through it from start to finish. However, despite all that, George Lucas sought out composer John Williams for the soundtrack here, and one can only hope it is up to his usual excellent standards of musical and emotional intelligence. Let’s take a listen to this album, and hear how it sounds.
We begin with Star Wars Main Title and the Arrival At Naboo which has the instantly recognizable Star Wars theme, which seemingly has some more pronounced marching drums here for listening pleasure. It does still sound really good to this day, and is an amazing listening experience. It quickly launches into a suitable listen for the opening scene of the newer Star Wars movies, which sounds rather dark and brooding. It is very good music, and is much better than expected. A real treat for fans of the movies and Classical music lovers in general, it ends quietly and darkly. Awesome stuff.
Next along is Duel of the Fates which is totally awesome, with ghostly gospel choirs to begin with. It’s music for the lightsaber battle towards the end of the film, and quickly goes into a brilliant and effective racing sounding string sections here. A thrilling and exciting listen, this is really amazing and truly timeless. Rather catchy in its own way as well. The correct balance of melodic artistry and pacing rhythm is here, and this is a wonderful listen. It builds up with the gospel vocals to a fantastic second half which is very memorable. Some rolling percussion follows, and this piece concludes abruptly. For Star Wars fans, this is a must hear. Brilliant piece of music.
Anakin’s Theme is a suitable orchestral piece for the villain in waiting. It has the perfect amount of light and shade to make the listener know who we are dealing with. A really gentle and subtle listen compared to the previous piece, it sounds lovely and beautiful. Very relaxing and perfectly descriptive music for the film, this is another great piece of creation that sounds awesome. The layers of strings and other similar orchestral touches make this a winner. It gets super quiet towards the end, before concluding extremely softly.
Jar Jar’s Introduction and the Swim to Otoh Gunga is a reminder of one of the most annoying film characters ever made in film history. It begins with some interesting strings and orchestration that sounds rather odd, and is a superb listen. It progresses slowly and naturally, both in sections and volume on this track. Some more gospel vocals enter this piece for an interesting section of the film. A really awesome and brilliant sounding melodic symphony, this sounds very captivating and amazing to hear, even today. A really fine effort, it slows down and plays some bare melodies in the second half. This soundtrack is a little bit of a reminder of The Beatles Yellow Submarine album in some ways. In any case, at the end a mini climax occurs, before repeated melodies signal the fade out.
Next along is The Sith Spacecraft and the Droid Battle which is a much shorter piece of music, but a super frenzied one at that. It is only two and a half minutes long, but very exciting and blood pumping. It is a very intense yet orchestral listening for all to enjoy. There is a fast paced and frenetic feel to this track, used towards the end of the movie. Really interesting sounds and sections are here, before concluding dramatically.
Following is The Trip to the Naboo Temple and the Audience with Boss Nass begins with a sweeping and dramatic intro, as one is reminded by the scenes early on in the film. The music here is excellent, even if the film itself wasn’t that great. There is a chugging, marching rhythm throughout this piece which drives it along nicely. A nice but not overtly showy piece of music, this is far more interesting listening than most Classical music today, which says a lot. In any case, this is a good, yet subtle sort of listening experience. This is very soothing, John Williams deserves full credit for making these film scores making movies better. Towards the end, there is a climax that finishes this piece well, but not too loudly so.
The Arrival at Tatooine and the Flag Parade is a very quiet sounding piece to begin with, exposing light onto the situation at hand in the film. The music describes perfectly the scenario here, just mixing up things in the composition very well. A soft and gentle piece that sounds really amazing, this is a really decent musical piece to listen to. It gets louder and very catchy in the second half, illuminating the situations at hand. The horn sections here are very decent and dramatic, pulsating with great melodic sense. Towards the end, we brace ourselves for a quick finish, which ends with marching drums in the background.
He is the Chosen One comes along next, with a dramatic and sweeping intro, before launching into quite a semi-romantic piece that sounds really great. It is a mixture of high flying melodies and some good analysis of change in the movies, from the genius mastermind of John Williams. Seriously, John Williams himself comes across as a genius here at making movie soundtracks and other great music. In any case, this is a softer piece than previous tracks on this album. It does sound very Star Wars oriented though, obviously George Lucas (creator of Star Wars) had a decent idea in mind with these orchestral pieces of music. Right at the end, a louder conclusion with horns and sweeping strings finishes this piece. Excellent.
After that is Anakin Defeats Sebulba which begins with some weird string sections and sounds that are truly odd. It sounds dark and menacing here, which is a little different from the previous tracks. A familiar melody from earlier Star Wars films kickstarts the next sections, and we are underway. It does sound really awesome this piece, and added colour and flavour to an otherwise ordinary film. Marching drum rolls galore are here, whilst the orchestration builds up into a frenzy. Really cool to listen to and has some very memorable sections to this piece. This was repeatedly played in some of the Star Wars video games at the time, showcasing the brilliance of this music. The repeated melodies here will be exciting and memorable for most listeners, even for those who do not know much about Star Wars. It ends with some tom-tom hits. Excellent work.
Next is Passage Through The Planet Core which begins with some eerie sounds with more gospel singing and subtle sounds that are really well done, and which slowly but surely build up. It is a very unusual sort of piece, sounding odd as being so quiet. Eventually some louder melodies seep into the mix, making this a decent piece of Star Wars background music. This piece continues for some time, and to be fair, is pretty slow. It has a more interesting second half, but one can sense that this could have been a bit faster in progression. Still, it has a really cool ending but it is rather long. In any case, it concludes in a very similar fashion to the previous track here, which makes it a bit louder at the end. Not bad.
Watto’s Deal and Kids at Play is the piece played in the scene at Watto’s shop. Nothing else should be said here to prevent spoilers, except for this musical piece itself. It has some quirky and different melodic sensibility to it, particularly with wind instruments. After a little bit, it begins to become dramatic, and sounds beautifully melodic. A really interesting and intriguing audio sound experience, this is a really cool to hear and shows that John Williams breathes life into this fairly average Star Wars film. In any case, this has a quieter second half with some usual Star Wars styled melodies that sound really classy. A bit slow, but still quite good.
Panaka and the Queen’s Protectors comes next, which is loud and quick from the beginning. This has a multitude of different and pulsating sections to grab your attention. A really awesome and cool listening experience, this does sound very suspenseful throughout. Towards the middle, it nearly concludes. It doesn’t and instead has some subtle drum rolls, moving in and out of audibility. The piece continues on in its musical mission, and sounds really quite cool. At the end, some horns and drum rolls finish this piece off. Great stuff.
Following is Queen Amidala and the Naboo Palace which is a really ridiculous name for a queen, even a fictional one. It begins with some dark and disturbing orchestration, which slowly but surely grabs your attention. Some strings and wind instruments take you back to 1999, when this film was released. A genuinely gentle and touching listen for a ridiculous movie and scene within, it quickly launches into louder and more crashing sections of musical orientation. Anyway, the music here is of a very good quality, and does leave an impression onto the listener. Brilliant effort at a suspenseful and artistic musical soundtrack, this piece has a grand and melancholy sounding conclusion, before ending loudly.
After that is The Droid Invasion and the Appearance of Darth Maul which begins with some soft percussion, before it gradually gets louder here. Surprisingly, this gets going very quickly and is a glorious and war like tune that sounds really cool. Marching drums and unforgettable melodies are here for the listener, and this piece sounds very awesome. This part of the listening experience here does indeed evoke war, and has some supercharged and interesting melodies in the midsection which evoke the 1990s very well. Another really cool listening experience, it goes into a darker and different section, with some odd and wordlessly delayed gospel vocals. This is super dark and brooding here, with the harmonies from earlier in the soundtrack repeated here. Really excellent music ending with a repeated string section. Great.
Qui-Gon’s Noble End plays a horn section of the main melody of Duel of the Fates, alongside some further melodies to excite and grab your attention. This is a shorter piece at three minutes long, but does not disappoint. It’s good music regardless of the quality of the film. It quickly launches into a midsection that is really suspenseful. Some whispered dual tracked vocals then enter, showing those who are Star Wars fans a tragic scene indeed. Really good listening, it reminds one of the things evil can do. It ends with the orchestration going quiet and more drum sounds. Great section of music.
The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon’s Funeral arrives next, and is a sad and melancholy sounding piece, given what happens in the film itself. A very gentle and good listen, this is a good example of great musical structure, with a brief playing of the Imperial Empire Darth Vader theme. This is a good listening experience for a sad part of the movie. The fate has been sealed at this point of the movie, and darkness follows by the events from this movie.
Last here is the longest track on this album Augie’s Great Municipal Band and End Credits which sounds like a really odd and weird piece of instrumentation that really shouldn’t be included on this album soundtrack. It sounds like Chinese traditional music on meth, it’s not good at all, in other words. If you can avoid this track, please do so. Eventually, it concludes with the Star Wars credit theme music and we at least end this piece much better than expected. It plays Duel of the Fates and other sections of the film soundtrack to conclude this lengthy but generally rewarding listening experience. The mixture of sound and sections here are marvelous. A really cool pastiche despite the fact that this last track is not essential listening, but makes the ending of the film resonate better. Further sections are added here, mainly with quiet/loud dynamics which make sense here to conclude the film. Many other cycled through sections then follow, with a slow and melodic feel. Yes, to be fair, the film wasn’t great, but the music very much was. A gentle finish to a long soundtrack, Star Wars was back. It concludes super gently.
This album has some great Star Wars pieces on it, although arguably some of these pieces could have been dropped. In any case, this is a reminder of a Star Wars movie and era now long gone. The soundtrack still sounds amazing today, and Duel of the Fates in particular is amazing sounding. A good listen for Star Wars geeks, but mostly inaccessible musically for the general public. It’s good, but could have been done better.
Darth Maul Rocks.
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