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Monday, October 14, 2013

James Newton Howard -- The Sixth Sense (Original Score)

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10/10

I just criticized a James Newton Howard soundtrack album heavily. I may have given the impression that I dislike The Fugitive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) because it does not contain enough music, but the fact is that I dislike it because it does not contain the right music. The Sixth Sense (Original Score) is exactly the opposite.  It clocks in at only 30 minutes (ten minutes shorter than The Fugitive's soundtrack), yet embodies the spirit of its entire film.
This is no small feat. The Sixth Sense is one of the most beloved films of all time (and was released during the greatest year in human history). The Sixth Sense also contains a certain creepiness that has caused certain viewers to swear off ever watching the film a second time. Howard's score captures this creepiness in a sort of Halloween kaleidoscope with strings, subtle, haunting vocal cues, and an all out sense of menace. Beside all this creepiness and atmosphere, though, is the goodness of the relationship between the main characters, and indeed, of all humanity. That Howard is able to capture this so strongly as well is a testament to his skills as a composer. His work is inseparable from the film as only the best scores are, and this album gives his music the treatment it deserves.
All but completionists should be happy with this listening experience. The Sixth Sense (Original Score) may not contain every musical cue from the film, but I've never heard another soundtrack that boils down the essence of its movie in such a short and enjoyable span. Every major event in the film gets its due, and the more quiet moments in between segue like the best albums should. This soundtrack feels as complete as possible, and in the time it takes to watch an episode of Seinfeld.
If you like The Sixth Sense, and you like listening to music, you should own this.
It's also all on Youtube, but the embedding has been disabled, and just go buy it.

1999 Varèse Sarabande
1. Run to the Church 1:21
2. De Profundis 2:23
3. Mind Reading 2:45
4. Photographs 0:55
5. Suicide Ghost 1:34
6. Malcolms Story/Coles Secret 4:01
7. Hanging Ghosts 2:31
8. Tape of Vincent 3:30
9. Help the Ghosts/Kyras Ghost 4:29
10. Kyras Tape 2:02
11. Malcolm Is Dead 4:44

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