Carl is on hand with his recommendations of the best soundtracks to listen to whilst in lockdown
To help beat the coronavirus blues, for the foreseeable future, members of team Future of the Force will be on hand with our recommendations of awesome soundtracks to listen to during the COVID-19 lockdown. Whether its lesser-known gems, Oscar-winning classics or just celebrating the best composers – we’ll be here to give you our top picks during this difficult time.
The Ghost And The Darkness By Jerry Goldsmith
Everyone knows that I consider Jerry Goldsmith to be possibly the finest film score composer of all time. And that’s not taking anything away from the legendary John Williams. Both are the top pioneers of film music but, In my opinion, Goldsmith is the better of the two. I own almost every score that Goldsmith ever created, from the original releases through to the deluxe complete scores that have been released. I could pick any one of these sublime and enjoyable scores to focus on but for this article, I shall concentrate my thoughts on the 2-CD release of the score for 1996s ‘The Ghost And The Darkness‘. The original release was a wonderful one to own and listen to but the complete and expanded score is something else indeed. It is a score that deserves to be heard in full and uninterrupted. Comparable to the score to ‘Congo‘, another score by Goldsmith, this one is the better of the two.
Goldsmith always seemed to have the knack of getting his scores 100% spot on the money. And here, he once again pulls the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with music that has the power to engage the listener and to bring out a bundle of emotions with every note and motif. The ‘Tsavo‘ theme is a joyous piece of music, a blend of African inspired music with African drumbeats accompanying the notes and with tribal chanting featured alongside it. It is something that has to be heard to be appreciated in full. On the other side though, music like ‘The Lion’s First Attack‘ brings forth the horror of what we see on the screen. Again featuring African inspired music and chanting as its core, the themes presented to us here leave us in no doubt of the dangers we have faced and continue to face amongst the African plains. We really don’t need to see the film to get the picture in our minds as the music does that all for us. It really is to Goldsmith’s credit to be able to describe the events through his cues and his motifs.
By the time we come to **SPOILER ALERT** for those yet to see the film, ‘Remington’s Death‘, we are fully emerged in the score and can’t help but be saddened by the music we hear depicting the end of our time with Michael Douglas and his character. It is a piece of music I admit quite happily to of listening to over 1000 times over the years. It is also the piece of music that depicts Val Kilmer’s character’s decision to finally take action and to kill the second lion in an act of survival and revenge. By the time we are three-quarters of the way through the piece, we know that this is it, the battle between man and beast is now in its final phase, it’s climactic face-off where one will remain alive and the other will fall into death. Following this piece, we join the hunt once more as Kilmer and his guide begin the final search for the second of the two predators. One has already been slain to much joy before Remington meets his grisly demise and the music employs many of the motifs and cues we have come across during our time so far spent listening to a masterful score.
By the time the lion and man collide on their final battlefield, the score has kicked up a notch. The music is suspenseful, frightening and consuming. We don’t know which way the battle will go and the score, like the film, keeps us guessing until the climactic blast of the ‘Tsavo‘ theme which heralds the victor to the world in glorious sycophancy of pure musical genius, a blast of pure adrenaline and joy that raises the heartbeat and the emotions of the listener. By the time we once again come across ‘Welcome To Tsavo‘ and the end credits montage, we are still gripped in the clutches of Goldsmith’s masterful themes. The final track is around nine minutes long and has to be listened to in full and to allow every note to wash over us as we reach the end of the score itself. However, this isn’t the end of the album(s) as we are given the music of Goldsmith alongside the wonderful African songs heard during the film by The World beaters, who worked alongside Goldsmith during their creation. They make a wonderful addition to the album and finish the listener’s time in Africa contained within the score.
The best thing to do is to lay back on the couch, close your eyes and allow the music to flow over you, grabbing the maximum amount of enjoyment from a masterpiece score from a masterful composer. Allow yourself to be transported back to 1800s Africa and to join in the frightening true events that occurred with the unknown and unprovoked killing spree that the pair of lions unleashed on humanity. Be joyful one moment and be in fear the next. Be ecstatic as one lion falls only to feel sorrow as the second extracts an act of horrific revenge before we come to the climactic battle between man and beast and our epic finale. Lie back, listen and be astounded by the sheer raw power of Jerry Goldsmith and his score.
Stay safe and look after each other.
Let us know if you have any suggestions of great soundtracks our readers should check out and we’ll feature and share them with the FOTF community.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!