Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

FILM MUSIC RECORDINGS REVIEWS


John BEAL Coming Soon! Music from Movie Trailers CD1 [62:04], 34 tracks; CD2 35 tracks [67:03] SONIC IMAGES SID2 8815  

 

Crotchet (UK)

Hats off for the most surprising concept album in ages. This is a true soundtrack collector's gem find. I wish I had a penny for every time I've been asked or seen it asked as to what music was used for a film trailer. On two discs you get 69 answers. Half of each answer is the name John Beal, who has recorded over 500 in the last 14 years. It must have been quite a job determining which cues to go with, but 7.5% is still a worthy result.

In approximately 2 minutes, Beal has the tall order of selling a picture as the must see event of your life. Most of the time he also has to do it within the style of a pre-selected temp score. It is therefore fully appreciated that the composer should include this dedication: "To the composers whose work I am hired to emulate, I am awed by what you create, and am blessed to have the opportunity to study your work. I hope you always feel I have treated your inspiration with respect and dignity." In fact, the CD's booklet is brimming with thanks and acknowledgements.

"The Cutthroat" thanks Joseph LoDuca for Army of Darkness in the Cutthroat Island trailer. Robert Folk gets a nod for the re-working of Toy Soldiers into "Schooltie" (for School Ties). The cue for Heathers thanks the composer of Beetle Juice in a slightly more amusing fashion, by calling the cue "Three Blind Elfmen".

Humour is really the key to 'getting' this album. Everything about it maintains that it is put together with a fun outcome in mind. So many of the cue titles raise a smile: "Beal's Con Theory" (Conspiracy Theory), "Lyle / Ennio / I'm Not Hoffa" (Quiz Show), "Unmarried White Woman" (Single White Female), "Beal's Volcanic" (Volcano), "Ocean Song" (Titanic). With that last cue, an interesting part of the album is raised. Inside the booklet the actual 'Used For' credit reads "Demo for a film trailer about a shipboard romance". On the CD's back cover, 52 of the features are listed alphabetically. Some of them are alluded to in the same way as Titanic is inside, but why is unclear. It all adds to an enjoyable game of determining the origins of many of the cues, and because there are so many, I have decided to present something a little different. What follows is a list of the stand-out elaborations. (I would welcome being contacted with additions.)

DISC ONE:

1 BLACK BEAUTY - GETTYSBURG / CLIFFHANGER

5 BLACK RAIN - THE ABYSS

8 CHAPLIN - THE ROCKETEER

9 CONSPIRACY THEORY - SE7EN (Nine Inch Nails)

12 CUTTHROAT ISLAND - ARMY OF DARKNESS

14 DEADLY BLESSING - THE OMEN / NEEDFUL THINGS

20 HAM'S PROLOGUE & EPILOGUE - BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY

21 HEATHERS - BEETLE JUICE

22 HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER - ROBOCOP

32 LAST OF THE DOGMEN - DANCES WITH WOLVES / HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

DISC TWO:

5 MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET - EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

10 I'LL ALWAYS FALL IN LOVE WITH LOVE (Haven't worked out title !) - ENYA (Caribbean Blue)

11 PAGEMASTER - THE ROCKETEER / FAR AND AWAY

13 POLICE ACADEMY - THE GREAT ESCAPE

14 QUIZ SHOW - THE UNTOUCHABLES

16 SCHOOL TIES - TOY SOLDIERS

17 SINGLE WHITE FEMALE - COMMANDO

22 SPECIES II - CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

27 THE MASK - PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE

30 TITANIC - ENYA (Book of Days used in FAR & AWAY)

32 UNDER SIEGE II - THE USUAL SUSPECTS / HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

33 V I WARSHAWSKI - BEVERLY HILLS COP

34 VOLCANO - ALIENS

35 WHITE WATER SUMMER - STREETHAWK (TV)

Not wishing this review to merely function as a re-worked credits list, I must mention what I assume to be Beal's own material -a quite beautiful orchestral piece called "Karen's Love Theme" which graces the second disc. One assumes this to be the same lady Beal dedicates the album to, and who sadly passed on earlier this year. There is also a funky disco groove to be found in "Skatetown USA Trailer / End Title", which apparently had glitter balls spinning with Carolyn Dennis' vocals.

Pretty much every conceivable musical genre is covered by the original and re-worked pieces. In all the scales must swing more toward synths having been used to save on time and money. Yet many of the temps used stem from electronic scores anyway. What a task it must be to find the appropriate samples. Although presumable for the re-recordings of Goldsmith's Judge Dredd trailer music and the Basic Instinct theme Beal would have had access to the scores.

There are some interesting conclusions to be drawn about the art of trailer making from what is on evidence. For example, the cue used for Ghost does not sound anything like a love story. It shows how a film can be pitched as one thing, only to be perceived as something else.

Another observation is how action trailers in the last few years have followed a format of pausing for the credits at the end then coming back for an explosion or shock visual (think of Twister and the flying truck). Several of Beal's cues here seem to have finished, then come back for a tail-end 'sting'. It is as predictable for those types of film now as either of the Mr Voice-over's dulcet tones

Since there is something of a randomness to the sequencing, it is conceivable that the constant shifting of styles may put some listeners off. The two options are either to re-programme, or select to played randomly. That would certainly add to the fun of the guessing game.

Reviewer

Paul Tonks

However Rob Barnett was not so impressed

This must surely be the equivalent of a vanity production. I would have never have thought that a 2 CD set of music written/adapted especially for movie trailers would have been issued. Next thing you know we will be getting boxed sets of music written especially for supermarkets, lifts and Sony Playstations (whoops too late - they are here already!). There can be little doubting the skills of John Beal which, if the blurb is anything to go by, are in great demand in the industry. The skill is in delivering many moods without noticeably disruptive gear changes all in the compass of two or three minutes or a lot shorter for TV promotions. The music, which I confess only to have sampled, comes at you thick and fast. Bealís command of styles is impressive. As to the music I am afraid I was not moved. At best this is for the avid (and I mean avid) collector or film memorabilia. That, I am afraid, is about it.

Reviewer

Robert Barnett

This review has given rise to some controversy. Our response may be read on the Bulletin Board

Reviewer

Paul Tonks

and

Robert Barnett

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