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John Powell's Score (and John Williams' Han Solo Theme)

Discussion in 'Solo' started by srg, May 26, 2018.

  1. Madmartigan

    Madmartigan Rebel Official

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    Just listened again "Chicken in the pot".
    Dear God, i'm crying. It's so hilarious. Makes me smile when I think in that chicken singing in that pot.
    I wanted something different in Solo and this is brilliant. Never expected something like this. Bravo.

     
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  2. High General Kenobi

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    I was going to open a score topic but I wasn't sure if others would be interested. Glad you are!

    I'm enjoying this score quite a lot. On a first listen, I even appreciated it more than Rogue One's (and Giacchinno is my favorite contemporary composer). Of course, I've grown to really love RO score more and more on each listening, and now I believe it's an impressive accomplishment, especially considering how little time he had to work on it.

    Anyway, as for Solo's score, I listened to the first half of the album while waiting for the film's release, and after watching it, I listened to the rest.

    I'm so glad Williams finally left his mark on the character of Han Solo. His new theme is thrilling, though I must admit it didn't win me over when I listened to The Adventures of Han. Instead, I felt in love with Powell's arrangements of William's theme during the next three tracks. It's SOARING, and I particularly loved that kinda-Mediterranean-sounding instrumentation that he used, especially on the Corellia cues.

    I'm impressed over the fact that Powell let William's theme become the blood of all his score, and yet it never tires me. The variations of the theme are done deftly, and it makes me want to go on a swashbuckling adventure each time it plays. Really great stuff, worthy of its inclusion on the pantheon of Star Wars main themes.

    Moving on, I generally loved the use of the other classic Williams themes. A few notes on this regard:

    -Wow, the rendition of the Main Title+Rebel Fanfare during the Falcon's reveal gives me chills. One of my favorite arrangements of it since the last notes of TFA end credits.

    -Ever since I heard about a Han Solo film being made I thought it was a great chance to reintroduce a short rendition of our beloved The Asteroid Field cue. My wish came true, and when it happened, I nodded so furiously and happily that the people sitting next to me turned to look at me.

    -On the other hand, I'm mourning for the loss of The Force Theme (please, tell me it was there and I just couldn't find it). I knew the chances of it appearing here were minimal, considering the film's plot, but for me, it was a must. It is THE theme for Star Wars, and when they managed to include it in the final trailer, I was hopeful. If I think too hard about the fact that now there's a Star Wars film without the Force Theme, I think I can actually cry, so let's change the subject.

    -I loved that the Imperial Motif from ANH is back in these stand-alones. It was one of my favorites and it always bothered me how Williams almost got rid of it. I loved when Giacchino brought it back, but it still put a smile on my face when it also returned here, even if it was very subdued.

    -Same for the Death Star Motif, which worked great for the Star Destroyer here, and the Attacking a Star Destroyer cue that followed. And of course, TIE Fighter Attack / Here They Come has now become a fundamental leitmotif thanks to Solo and TLJ. Marvelous, since it ALWAYS thrills.

    -I have no problem with The Imperial March being made diegetic. After all, it pretty much already happened in Rebels, and the new canon's novels sometimes refer to certain pieces as source music, including The Throne Room (which is referenced as an Alderaanian tune).

    -I liked the Duel of the Fates arrangement, but since it's not on the score, I've only listened to it once. I'm really anticipating hearing it more carefully.


    As for Powell's new themes:

    -Q'ira's mysterious theme is a stand out, and really fitting for the character. It also worked great on counterpoint with the love theme, which by the way was lovely.

    -Can't get the Enfys Nest theme out of my head. I think it was also very fitting for her character, sounding menacing and innocent at the same time. One of my favorite new contributions, and manages to sound very much like the usual Powell while still fitting Star Wars.

    -Unlike srg, I do like the Han and Chewie bonding theme, even if it does sound a lot Patrick Doyle-ish, which I'm fine with. I don't think the overall style of the score betrays the franchise's musical spirit. It's true it has its own identity, but it's still pretty much Star Wars-coded to me.

    -Yeah, Chicken in the Pot is hilarious, BUT I much prefer the album version with the high-pitched alien than the film's one with the male voice. It's much more eccentric and thus fitting.

    -I was surprised Powell didn't go the obvious route and used a more Western-inspired approach to the score, but maybe this way was much better.


    In all, I can breathe peacefully once more. One of my main grieves about making new Star Wars films post Disney purchase was that I knew John Williams wouldn't be able to score every one of them. But both Giacchino and Powell, I think, have delivered. Their steps might be humbler than those of The God, but very worthy indeed. I think we're in safe hands, and again, we should be grateful that our franchise has set such a high musical bar. Only a few of them have gone for so long and produced consistently good scores.
     
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  3. Madmartigan

    Madmartigan Rebel Official

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    Great post @High General Kenobi

    Soundtracks are so important in SW.
    The truth is we are so lucky, at least I speak for myself, that three of the last 4 movies (SW movies, the movies we adore here) have incredible scores (The last Jedi is not that significative, although I love Canto Bight and The Fathiers, the worst part of the movie). Incredible in the sense of I didn't listen in a while soundtracks to care about, soundtracks to would like to listen for themselves, melodies that I could listen over and over without watching the movie (Jaws, The good, the bad and the ugly, Superman, Indiana Jones, Gladiator, Shindler's List, Willow, Lord of the Rings, Contact, Tron Legacy, Arrival...) Catchy notes and songs to improve the epicness and the adventure (like Silvestri did with Ready Player One with that catchy 80's style main theme). That's difficult to find. And I have that feeling with TFA, RO and Solo.

    With TFA Williams made me travel again in another great adventure and all themes increase respective characters and setpieces (The scavenger, Rey's theme, FO notes or The Jedi steps are sublim). It was a relief, because last Williams scores were not that catchy.

    Giacchino and Powell have given another dimension with the spinoffs. Powerful soundtracks with epicness. Jedha Arrival, RO MainTheme or Marauders arrive, Chicken in a pot and Reminiscence therapy (a revisitation) are glory to my ears. Although it's true that Williams notes are so magical, because when we hear notes from OT in this spinoffs, automatically the images are better, no matter what. In Solo there are more melodies from OT and its incredible how brilliant it works in other movies. What he did with Star Wars: A new hope soundtrack (I was gonna say OT) it's beyond imagination. I can't even imagine a soundtrack giving such power to a film in all senses and when I listen the score alone automatically I travel in another world.

    I think, as you said, we're in safe hands.
     
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  4. Lock_S_Foils

    Lock_S_Foils Red Leader

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    @Madmartigan @High General Kenobi Your posts are awesome. Thanks for the insight and it is great to be able to go somewhere in the Cantina and just talk about something from SOLO we love and appreciate. So much negativity on other threads about box office, etc.

    I am falling deeply in love with this score the more I hear. Have to listen to Han's theme and Reminiscence Therapy daily!!! Percussion added to the TIE Fighter Attack sequence is awesome.

    How could I forget Marauders Arrive!!

    Question on the Imperial Motif? Is this it, or is this youtube video in error?

     
    #24 Lock_S_Foils, May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
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  5. McDiarmid

    McDiarmid Force Sensitive

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    My top list.

    N1. is Han theme by Williams of course.



    N2. Is Maraurders arrive by Powell.( Enyfs Nest)

     
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  6. srg

    srg Force Attuned

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    The predominant Imperial theme in ANH (known as Vader's theme) is this:



    In Solo it appears in the track "Train Heist" at 3:35:

     
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  7. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order CPS
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    the Enfys Nest theme is my new favorite Star Wars piece of music, hands down.

    "Chicken in the pot" is pure perfect Star Wars weirdness. : D
    i would have liked something slick and exotic like this for Canto Bight (did not like that music at all).
     
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  8. High General Kenobi

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    The one I'm referring to is the one srg mentions.

    And thanks! I'm also tired of the excessive negativity.

    Another old piece I loved to have revisited is the one near the middle (1:50) of Marauders Arrive, which comes from The Empire Strikes Back. I forgot to mention it in my earlier post.
     
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  9. srg

    srg Force Attuned

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    Even though I loved Han's theme when I heard it for the first time, it still grew on me even more! It's soooo good, I want to listen to it all the time. Top-notch adventure side of Williams.

    As for the rest of themes, according to John Powell's posts on Facebook, there are 5 major themes and 2 small ones. I'll put examples in brackets.

    - Han's theme (obvious)
    - love theme (entire "Lando's Closet," "Spaceport" at 2:44)
    - Chewbacca's theme ("Reminiscence Therapy" at 2:55 - very nice rendition)
    - L3's theme ("Mine Mission" at 0:26)
    - Enfys Nest's theme (obviously hard to miss - "Marauder's Arrive")
    - gang theme - Beckett's gang, I assume (that would be 0:58 in "Flying with Chewie" or 2:02 in "Train Heist")

    The two minor ones (more like phrases than themes, I guess), which I can't put my finger on after one viewing of the film are:
    - coaxium theme (I imagine it plays every time coaxium is on screen. I'll pay attention the next time I see the film, it should become clear then.)
    - "secret theme" (No idea what that's supposed to be.)

    I think all these main themes are wonderful. Especially Chewie's theme (I feel kind of dumb for not noticing it immediately). I like that L3's theme sounds like a revolution march or something like that. Very fitting. And I really like the gang theme - sounds badass and that's how Han perceives Beckett when he sees him for the first time on Mimban.

    So yeah, even though the John Williams' theme is the foundation of the whole score, Powell’s thematic input is very, very solid.

    It's a great score, no doubt about it. However, my criticism still stands. I hate the stock-sounding "modern cinematic percussion" and I do think the arrangements are less intricate than they are in the case of both Williams and Giacchino. They do sound influenced by the computer mock-up process, in my opinion. I wouldn't call it a bad thing, but as someone tired of typical blockbuster music, I appreciate the classic approach when I hear it (and it's more present in Rogue One than Solo). Anyway, the negatives don't break the score for me, I enjoy it a lot.
     
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  10. Hunin

    Hunin Rebel General

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    Something that blew my mind a little:
    In this podcast, John Powell mentions that what we all commonly call the Rebel Fanfare is seen as the Millennium Falcon theme by Williams himself (a conception Powell obviously adheres to in Solo).
    I was always on the fence about the theme playing over the MF reveal in TFA until now.
    I thought he was re-purposing a theme. I haven't checked the OT scores but if Williams is indeed consistent with the motif, Giacchino and many of the other composers (Rebels, Games etc) have been "miss-using" it.
    Never thought I'd be learning something new about these scores anymore.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 30, 2018, Original Post Date: May 30, 2018 ---
    I do agree on the use of drumline: It accomplishes nothing the percussion-section of a late romantic orchestra can't accomplish and sounds canned at best.

    I heavily disagree on the intricacy of Giacchino's scoring compared to Powell though.
    Some of the fugue-like action cues in Solo are extremely dense (listening to Powell's "serious" music it became clear to me that his love for drumline in part is intended to provide rhythmic certainty for the passing "casual" listener).
    More importantly Powell, like Williams, aims for unashamed sentimentality; something that Giacchino is too playful to either want or pull off in confined stretches.
     
    #30 Hunin, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  11. Lock_S_Foils

    Lock_S_Foils Red Leader

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    Wow.....dedicating tonight to "Marauder's Arrive".....incredible. Is this the only time other than Duel of the Fates with vocal backgrounds?
     
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  12. srg

    srg Force Attuned

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    I tend to agree that Solo is more dense "horizontally," if you know what I mean. Which is nice, stuff like "Reminiscence Therapy" is great because of how much is going on. However, my impression is that there's more detail to the orchestration and arrangement in Rogue One, it sounds more mature to me. That's why I put it closer to Williams' music.

    As for the Rebel Fanfare, I feel like it has grown to become something pretty general. Similarly to Luke's theme aka the main theme. They both feel like "the Star Wars theme." Great for bringing nostalgia.
     
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  13. LadyMusashi

    LadyMusashi Archwizard Woo-Woo-in-Chief
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    I really loved Powels use of William' theme in the beginning of the film. Music grabs you, pulls you in and never lets you go. Percussion line is crazy.

    I wish I knew more (than zero, as it were) about music to describe my experience. The back part of Flying with Chewie is giving me feels
     
    #33 LadyMusashi, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  14. B99

    B99 Rebel General

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    Really great Soundtrack!!
     
  15. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order CPS
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    according to the numbers of views and thumbs on this one, 25 people have no soul and more than 20,000 have passed through here.

    while i still wish (and hope) we get the one with the wrinkly plum guy, i'm listening to this every day all day in the meantime. XD

    Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 8.50.50 AM.png
     
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  16. Lock_S_Foils

    Lock_S_Foils Red Leader

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    @FN-3263827 With the always "on point" nickname....."wrinkly plum guy" to go with "the wigglies" and what was Snoke again? "Squinty eyed toilet monster?"
     
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  17. srg

    srg Force Attuned

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    Plot twist - I think that maybe I'm starting to enjoy Solo soundtrack more than Rogue One... OK, I don't feel like going into which of them is a better score, so I'll just take "far superior" back for now. :)

    I listened to them back to back the other day, and Rogue One actually had more boring moments than I remembered. :p Solo seems to have more "hits" that I feel like going back to and listening for pure enjoyment. Some very impressive theme interweaving going on in tracks like "Train Heist," "Reminiscence Therapy" and many more. I still think the orchestration is a bit heavy-handed and I won't change my mind when it comes to percussion, but this doesn't ruin the score for me. The themes are brilliant and he used them very well across the score, which is a massive plus.

    Check this out. 4:15 in "Maurauders Arrive":



    Do you hear that dramatic/dangerous-sounding rendition of Chewie's theme (well, a part of it)? It shows that Powell knows what he's doing. I don't remember that exact moment from the movie, but I bet it plays as Chewie disconnects the wagon.
     
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  18. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order CPS
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    fishy-eyed toilet monster. XD

    i can't help it. this comes from back in the day when you never knew the name of anything unless you were buying all the bubble gum cards and fan magazines, so you just had to make up descriptions for them. i don't think i knew what a "Greedo", a hammerhead or a squidhead were until fairly recently. first time i heard Bossk mentioned by his race/species was an actual honest-to-God revelation for me. XD
     
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  19. Daddy_Stardust

    Daddy_Stardust Rebel General

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    I thought the soundtrack was pretty good, didn't enjoy it as much as Rogue One's which massively grew on me. My complaint with the album itself is the fact that the majority of tracks featuring classic Williams motifs are missing. I get that they're trying to promote the new composer, but this is Star Wars and any reuse of Williams' music is often the soul that makes it special. I'm hoping the unreleased tracks turn up online as they did with Rogue One to create a complete soundtrack (anyone else find it most sacrilegious that neither R1 or Solo's soundtracks have included the final segue into the main credits music?). Again, luckily R1's was released online as part of the 'For Your Consideration' oscar release along with the remaining tracks turning up on youtube, so I hope this follows suit.

    The tracks most sorely missing from it being the Kessel Run featuring TIE Fighter Attack and The Asteroid Field, Maul's reveal featuring Duel of the Fates and the subtle ominous theme as Q'ira flies off and Han watches from the coast. A version of it appears at the end of 'Testing Allegiance' but it's seemingly not the version that was in the movie which was less bombastic and more ominous.
     
    #39 Daddy_Stardust, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
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  20. srg

    srg Force Attuned

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    But that is on the album.

    I also hope some unreleased stuff will see the light of day eventually. It sucks that this time we have to wait longer for FYC, because of the film's early release.
     
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