A little under two weeks ago I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. It was less a super hero movie than a spy thriller where one of the spies ran around with an American Flag themed garbage can lid for most of the movie.
That being said, I know there was a score. I literally, not figuratively, cannot remember a single note of it.
Over on the Molten Music Technology YouTube channel they noticed the same thing. It’s not su much taht I can’t remember a single motif from a movie I saw less than 14 days ago1 but that there aren’t a whole lot of memorable soundtracks anymore and also that all soundtracks now sound kinda same-y.
But why is this? Is it because everyone’s fallen in love with droning strings? Is it because everyone has decided that their movies are very, very serous and deserve very, very serious scores2. Is it because once the first guy did it everybody else did it because big budget entertainment completely lacks originality3
It’s probably all of those things, but still…
Mighty Orbots was on for like one season over 30 years ago. It made a brief re-appearance on USA’s all encompassing “Cartoon Express” block a few years later. So, I probably have heard this song two, three dozen times since Jay has been alive. I can hum the melody. I thought maybe I was getting it wrong, but, no, I still remember it pretty faithfully
I remember all of these. ALL OF THEM, even from the weaker seasons. To be fair, there was not day that The Superfriends wasn’t on TV from roughly when I was born until I was 30.
It’s easy to pass this off as nostalgia, but any person who’s vaguely into anime is familiar with Yoko Kanno’s “Tank!”. It’s just such a great song and it stands out as such.
So, where are the iconic soundtracks in today’s movies? I mean, not even entire soundtracks, everyone knows “The Imperial March” but very few people can identify the Alliance’s theme:
But, seriously, has there been an iconic score element since, Danny Elfman’s original Batman score over 20 years ago? Possibly Inceptions “Bong.”4 I can’t think of one, maybe someone can.
Worse, what does this say about music in general? I’ve often thought that movie scorers5 operate at a higher level than your average pop songwriter6 If the A team is bringing its B game what’s left for Junior Varsity?
- Let’s be honest, that could just be me getting old ↩
- Because, you know, a movie about an alcoholic who wears a primary colored WMD while trying to schtup his best friend/executive assistant and beating up other guys who is very, very serious ↩
- OK, that one goes without saying. ↩
- Which it pains me to say, because – and I’m in the minority here – I believe Christopher Nolan should never be allowed to make another movie, because they bounce between terribly pretentious and incredibly, boringly pretentious ↩
- Is that a word? ↩
- This is entirely unfair since many pop songwriters score movies. Is that the problem? ↩