Friday, December 23, 2016

What happened to Theme Music and Soundtracks?

Having started my serious film going in the 70s I was spoiled by the amazing music being produced for films… big films had theme music that invaded popular culture, something that rarely happens anymore. 

Think about it, John Williams alone created the music for Jaws, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Fury while Gerry Goldsmith did the Omen, Star trek the Motion Picture, Alien… even reading the names I bet you are hearing the themes to those movies in your head. (Well maybe not the Fury, not exactly a cultural touchstone but believe me the music was great.)

What has happened since then? When was the last time a new movie came out that had you humming the theme music when exiting the theatre? When did directors and executives in Hollywood decide that generic music was good enough for even the biggest budgeted movies? Sorry theme songs don’t count, it’s too easy for them to seep into the popular culture. I am talking about instrumental compositions that helped bring the experience to a new level, that stood on its own as music in it’s own right. 

I miss it. Television still seems to know the value of a good theme and the power of recurring music throughout a series. There must be composers out there that can step up as Williams and the rest step down, no? At this point, I would even welcome the disco versions of popular movie themes coming back! who can forget the MECO version of Jaws 2? 

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