As a guest judge this year for Tracksounds, I
was happy to lend a hand to the final selection process of the 2007
Cue Awards. Both in these awards and in the selections of the
International Film Music Critics Association, I did not participate
in the nomination process. In the past few years, my nominees for
Filmtracks have strayed further from the tastes of mainstream film
score collectors who concentrate their collections on blockbuster
American productions. 2007 was perhaps the clearest evidence of
this shift so far.
With that in mind, I found myself voting on IFMCA and Tracksounds
nominees that I did not necessarily agree with, but among which I
still had preferences. The nominees and winners at Tracksounds seem
heavily weighted towards American scores for the fantasy and
adventure genres, which are commonly the staple of the younger,
online film music collecting populus that has supported soundtrack
sites since the start. Among the winners, Stardust is indeed
worthy of strong consideration.
Many of the more intriguing fantasy and adventure scores of 2007
came from unexpected places, however. Both Carlo Siliotto's
Nomad: The Warrior and Jane Cornish's Island of Lost Souls
joined Stardust as refreshing changes. While I cannot say if these
scores appeal to collectors geared towards the current mainstream
style of Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky, they are, at the very
The strength of the international scene in film music extended to
drama as well. Brian Tyler, while American, excelled with his East
Indian score for Partition. French composer Philippe Rombi
provided a glorious tribute to the Golden Age with Angel.
Alexandre Desplat's year was outstanding, with The Golden
Compass attracting significant support from our community.
Dario Marianelli received his due international recognition, even
if Atonement remains a tad overrated. In the guilty pleasure
department, even Debbie Wiseman and Vangelis offered music in
Flood and El Graco, respectively, that may not be great,
but is easy on the ears nonetheless. And, as always, Ennio
Morricone continues on...
Speaking of Morricone, Marco Beltrami's 3:10 to Yuma was
America's most vibrant (and possibly most intelligent) entry. Alan
Menken and Michael Giacchino's scores for the animated (and partly
animated) genre rounded out the year with a strong presence.
Among the Tracksounds winners that I fully agree with, the awarding
of "Record Label of the Year" to Varese Sarabande is the
most satisfying. No label supports our community with both
commercial and specialty products as actively as Varese.
Additionally, John Williams' absense is always felt, no
matter how old a collector you are. Finally, James Newton Howard
quietly assembled a remarkable year and, if you merge 2006 and
2007, has easily written the best combined material in our genre of
music over that time.
Overall, although 2007 seemed very much like a poor year for film
music (and, in some ways, it was), the gems were there. They simply
took a bit of digging to find. With any luck, 2008 will yield more
dynamic and intelligent scores for mainstream American eye candy.
Christian Clemmensen is the webmaster at
Special thanks for his participation in this
years Cue Awards. He was invited to participate as we lost a
judge at the last-minute and because of large influence Filmtracks
had early-on in the life of Tracksounds.