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Thursday, April 10, 2014

John Williams -- Jaws: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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9/10

For our first John Williams review, here is Jaws: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which features one of the most recognizable movie themes of all time. Enough ink has been spilled and bytes consumed in the description of that two-note terror, so I'll talk about some of this soundtrack's other elements..like the scene's not involving the shark.
How about what I'll argue is the best scene in the film.
This is literally just a dude talking for four minutes, but it's the most terrifying four minutes of the film. Of course, Robert Shaw's incredible acting, the quality of the writing, the cinematographer's lighting, and Spielberg's staging all contribute to the scene's greatness. What would it be without John William's score, though, without the quiet creep of strings tingling up your spine? Just a dude talking for four minutes.
Or how about possibly the greatest jump scene of all time?

John Williams surely must have journeyed down to hell with a tape recorder to find the sound emanating from the speaker's when Ben Gardner's head comes tumbling out of that hole.
That's the awesome thing about this soundtrack. Even in the scenes where that Tuba isn't repeatedly pumping out those two jarring notes, Williams is building up so much suspense that you absolutely dread their return. In a counterpoint to that, jaunty scenes of townfolk ambling about are scored with what is essentially the soundtrack to NPR's "All Thing's Considered." This causes the more horrific nature of the film to standout all the more. Then there's the action-adventure, which Williams apparently approached as if he were scoring a pirate film.

The only reason this review doesn't say 10/10 at the top is that I'm reviewing the original CD version, which is quite quietly mixed and missing quite a bit of music--it is only about 35-minutes long. I've given more concise soundtracks a ten before, but this one does feel like it is missing just a little something--the final boat trip encompasses 3/4 of the tracklist. More of the film's early moments should be represented.
Jaws: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is still near perfect, regardless.

1975 (1992 CD-Remastered Version) MCA
1. Main Title (Theme from Jaws) 2:20
2. Chrissie's Death 1:42
3. Promenade (Tourists on the Menu) 2:47
4. Out to Sea 2:29
5. The Indianapolis Story 2:26
6. Sea Attack Number One 5:26
7. One Barrel Chase 3:07
8. Preparing the Cage 3:28
9. Night Search 3:33
10. The Underwater Siege 2:34
11. Hand to Hand Combat 2:32
12. End Title 2:21

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