film scores

The Ballad of Star Butterfly
Brian H. Kim & Patrick Stump
The Ballad of Star Butterfly

From Star vs. the Forces of Evil - Face the Music.

*** (NOTE - THE SONG LYRICS HAVE SPOILERS.) ***

I was fortunate enough to get involved really early in the process for this musical number, and I wrote the first pass of the song to the episode’s black-and-white storyboards. @arythusa and @amelia-lorenz, who boarded this two-parter and wrote all the lyrics to the songs, are endless fountains of creativity. 

Lessons learned about Patrick Stump: 1) he is very, very funny; 2) he is a freaking pro in the studio. Before we recorded each chunk of the song, he would listen to my temp vocal and then slowly pace around the live room and work everything out in his head, make a few tweaks so that the melody would best suit his voice, run those changes by us, and then we’d be off. 

And then later, I brought in my good friend Michael Kohl (who has a particularly wonderful YouTube channel with his band Extra Lives) to re-record the guitar parts and add some sick solo lines.

This whole process, from top to bottom, has been my favorite of my whole SVTFOE experience thus far, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Anna
Takatsugu Muramatsu
Anna

I bought the soundtrack for Studio Ghibli’s latest film, When Marnie Was There, in anticipation of its western release next month, and I have to say that it’s absolutely stunning. Muramatsu’s score is heartwarming, nostalgic, emotionally affecting, and lushly orchestrated; it’s the most beautiful listening experience I’ve had in some time. Studio Ghibli films always have lovely scores, but this one is so particularly soulful and enchanting that I feel compelled to share a bit of it with Tumblr. If you like what you hear, please buy this score! It’s available on the iTunes store and it’s an ethereal listening experience.

The Planets by Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite is a very cinematic-sounding piece, with each movement very different from the last, and it has inspired many film scores, particularly those about space movies.

1. Mars, the Bringer of War - if this sounds familiar, it’s because John Williams borrowed some of this for Star Wars. The skeletal sounding effect in the opening is col legno, a technique where the stick of the bow of a stringed instrument is bounced along the string. This movement has the feel of an army steadily approaching, or like a great warship moving through space. Clashes between different groups of instruments represent battles between opposing forces.

2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace - this movement is tranquil, lyrical, longing, and romantic. This is the sunlight that comes through the clouds after a battle in the rain, this is the sense of calm that envelops you after taking a deep breath. 

3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger - the bubbling notes seem to take flight, just like Mercury does with aid of his winged sandals. This is light and quick, and the melody jumps from instrument to instrument as fast as Mercury can flit from place to place. 

4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity - this movement opens bright, vivacious, active, and very triumphant, like a proclamation of victory. The effervescent section transitions into a sweeping melody at 2:50, which you will probably recognize, as it has been adapted for various hymns and is the melody for “I Vow to Thee, My Country.”

5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age - the steady chords most prominently starting around 4:25 are like the hands of an enormous clock, and the later dissonant faster chords are like alarms - this movement represents the inevitable power of Father Time. 

6. Uranus, the Magician - this is the realm of the trickster, the cunning, the powerful yet unknown. A certain magical - yet not necessarily entirely benevolent - quality pervades the movement. This character has influenced the portrayal of magic in film scores such as Harry Potter.

7. Neptune, the Mystic - this movement has an otherworldly quality to it – one which has informed how the mysteries of space are represented in film scores today. Is this happy? Is this sad? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact emotion, and that is what makes Neptune so distinct. Additionally, this is one of the first pieces to have a fade out ending, with the sound of the women’s chorus gradually diminishing into silence.

Just Friends
Brian H. Kim & Nick Lachey
Just Friends

From Star vs. the Forces of Evil - Just Friends.

It is weird seeing animated choreography to a song you wrote. It’s like, they’re dancing, but someone had to draw them dancing, so a poor artist in South Korea had to listen to this ridiculous song a million times to get the timing right, and then that poor artist got into his/her car at the end of the day and spontaneously burst into “be juuuuuuuust frieeeeeeends” as he/she pulled out of the RDK parking lot, and was like DAMMIT.

Anyway. @zachsleepshere saw me in the Star offices one day, and was like “Brian, we’re bringing Love Sentence back. They’re gonna sing out of a toothbrush.” 

“What?” 

“You know, those toothbrushes that have songs coming out of them so kids will brush their teeth.” 

“Right …. wait, what?”

AND THE REST IS HISTORY.

I wish I had a video of Nick Lachey singing this in the studio. That guy’s fun.

Best lyrics ever courtesy of @zachsleepshere and @brettvaron!

8

Endless list of favourite films: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009).  

It was a student who gave me Francis. One Spring afternoon I discovered a bowl on my desk, just a few inches of clear water in it. Floating on the surface was a flower petal. As I washed, it sank. Just when it reached the bottom, it transformed into a wee fish. It was beautiful magic, wondrous to the behold.