' score for Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence
is a score that grows on you. I can't say that I enjoyed it the first time I listened to it. Sure, it had some good parts, but mostly I found it to be rather dull and themeless. But that would soon change. I have now listened to this score quite a few times, and it actually gets better for every listen.
The score can roughly be divided into two different parts. The first half of the album is dark and disturbing, and can at times be a little difficult to digest, thanks to some atonal and dissonant parts and the lack of a strong theme. Opening with the excellent "The Mecha World", Williams' creates a very "busy" and rythmical sound, with mostly brass and strings. The second cue, "Abandoned in the Woods" is darker, but equally dramatic, with tense and nervous rising and falling strings. Things calm down a little in Hide and Seek
and "Cybertronics", before the darkness and the drama returns in "The Moon Rising", with its low staccato strings, dramatic brass and percussion. There's even some techno beats thrown in, which has to be a first for Williams. Sounds rather strange and out of place, to be honest.
"Stored Memories and Monica's Theme" introduces us to the second part of the score, which is more melodic and tender. It opens with soft choir, soon joined by the orchestra, at first creating a very disturbing and dissonant sound, before it gets more lyrical. This is where the main theme - "Monica's Theme - is presented for the first time, performed by piano and cello. Simply put, this theme is absolutely wonderful. Fragile, soft and lyrical, it is often performed on the piano, by cello, or by opera singer Barbara Bonney. It also forms the base of the song "For Always", written by Williams and performed by Lara Fabian. But more about that in a minute.
The voice of Barbara Bonney is worth a paragraph of its own, I think. Her soft, tender voice lends the music a very warm and human quality. "Where Dreams are Born" is one of the scores' highlights thanks to her wonderful voice, supported by strings, piano and a lonely oboe. And it is she and Monica's theme that dominate this second part of the score, closing the score with the lovely "The Reunion", offering several renditions of the beautiful theme. Like the score, this theme grows on you the more you listen to it. And it sticks. I have been walking around at work, humming this melody for several days now...
On to the song, then. It's actually really good. One of the better movie songs out there. It has a tendency to get a little sappy at times, but most of the time the tender orchestrations, Lara Fabian's soft voice (at least when it stays soft. It get's a little too strong sometimes) and William's stunning theme make this a relaxing, emotional and beautiful number. The duet isn't nearly as good, and sounds very much like something taken from a musical. The fact that the song was written especially for the soundtrack release, and therefore isn't used in the film at all, means that it won't have a chance at getting an Oscar nomination. Which is a shame, really.
Read other recent reviews by Andreas Lindahl: The Rocketeer
, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
, The Phantom of the Opera