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The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack (Danny Elfman) - CD cover
Composer: Danny Elfman
Released: 1993 (Film release: 1993)
Label: Walt Disney Records (0050086085576)
Disney Italy (0094637259429)
Type: Movie
Listen: iTunes MP3 MP3 MP3
Format: CD, Download
Reviewers (10.00/10)
Members (8.58/10) (24 votes)
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1. Overture (1:47)
2. Opening (0:57)
3. This is Halloween (3:15)
4. Jack's Lament (3:13)
5. Dr Frankenstein/In the Forest (2:36)
6. What's This? (3:05)
7. Town Meeting Song (2:55)
8. Jack and Sally Montage (5:17)
9. Jack's Obsession (2:45)
10. Kidnap the Sandy Claws (3:02)
11. Making Christmas (3:57)
12. Nabbed (3:04)
13. Oogie Boogie's Song (3:16)
14. Sally's Song (1:47)
15. Christmas Eve Montage (4:43)
16. Poor Jack (2:30)
17. To the Rescue (3:38)
18. Finale/Reprise (2:44)
19. Closing (1:25)
20. End Titles (5:05)

Total duration: 61 minutes
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Review of Tom Daish, submitted at , score: 10/10
Tim Burton's superb stop-motion fantasy takes each holiday and gives them separate worlds that had previously never met, but the story tells of how Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween stumbles across Christmas and decides to take over, with mixed results. Of course, the animation is superb, but in the same way that the Toy Story films were not only superbly realised, but blessed with a marvelous script The Nightmare Before Christmas is imbued with intelligence above the average Disney effort. The darker Burton edge helps immensely in drawing the film away from typical Disney fayre. Danny Elfman's music is crucial in not only furthering the characters, setting the scenes and moving along the story, but in setting the atmosphere and stands out as one of his best scores.

Perhaps even more successfully that Alan Menken's scores for the traditionally animated Disney efforts, Elfman's score weaves all the song melodies throughout the score. So effective is his writing that listening to the album tells the story quite adequately without the film. Of course, this is helped by the above average number of songs all of which are memorable, although several stick in the mind over and above the others. This is Halloween provides a darkly comedic twist on the ensemble opening number with Elfman's twisty lyrics some of the most brilliant outside the best of Howard Ashman or Randy Newman. The arrangements are also superbly realised, the orchestration complimenting the alternately comedic and creepy vocal arrangements.

The solo efforts are no less impressive. As well as penning the music and lyrics, Elfman lends his voice to Jack Skellington and performs with great relish, in a way that is sometimes tender and sometimes hugely theatrical. His experiences with Oingo Boingo evidently prepared his vocal as well as his writing talents. The seemingly obligatory yearning song is turned into a fairly sorrowful lament; I'm extremely pleased to have something a little more sour in a Disney film; the orchestral arrangements in this and the other quieter numbers are really quite beautiful. The most out sized, upbeat song is What's This, the melody for which is introduced in the Overture. It's almost certainly the theme and song that will stick in the mind after the event, but repeated listenings are recommended to become more acquainted with the lower impact numbers as they are all equally good.

The songs do dominated slightly at the expense of instrumental sections, but the album almost plays straight through, the underscore effortlessly leading into the songs. With such a wealth of memorable melodies, Elfman does well not to make the underscore too disjointed and overloaded with tunes. A mention must go to the above average quality of the orchestration which occasionally makes use of instruments in amusing manners and taking them to the extreme of their ranges to great effect. The Nightmare Before Christmas would probably go down as a peak of Elfman's career; I hope that he is given the opportunity to write another musical again since he not only has the musical gift, but the lyrical one as well. Absolutely superb in every respect.

Read other recent reviews by Tom Daish: The Snow Files: The Film Music of Mark Snow, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Andromeda

Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at , score: 10/10
The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of Tim Burton's most peculiar and curious films, and I can imagine it being hard to fully appreciate it if you're not a big fan of the director. The style of the film is genuine Burton x 10. The dark, gothic surroundings and the strange characters - they're all there, making The Nightmare Before Christmas the entertaining film it is. And let's not forget about Danny Elfman's music...

The Nightmare Before Christmas is considered by many to be one of composer Danny Elfman's finest and best achievements. It certainly is one his most entertaining and ambitious efforts to date. With Elfman composing the score and all the songs - as well as writing the lyrics - and performing in many of them, The Nightmare Before Christmas is like... well, Christmas for all Elfman fans.

Being a huge Elfman fan myself, this is a soundtrack I enjoy from start to finish - from the bombastic "Overture" (followed by Patrick Stewart's excellent voice over introduction in "Opening") to the exciting "End Title", together creating a great bookend to the score and soundtrack.

The songs are all entertaining and range from excitement in "What's This?" and "Town Meeting Song", sadness in "Sally's Song" and "Poor Jack" to great drama in songs like the groovy "Oogie Boogie's Song" - one of the soundtracks' absolute highlights, together with "This is Halloween" and the already mentioned "Town Meeting Song". All songs have fully orchestral backing and the orchestrations by Mark McKenzie - another one of my favorites - are superb.

The score cues work mainly as instrumental bridges between the songs, making this soundtrack extremely entertaining and easy listening to. If I had to recommend one score by Elfman to anyone not familiar with the composers' music, I would probably pick Edward Scissorhands or The Nightmare Before Christmas. They really have nothing in common apart from the fact that they both succeed in creating a world of their own. Just like Tim Burton. It's not hard to understand why he has chosen to collaborate with Danny Elfman. Few people complement each other as well as they do.

Read other recent reviews by Andreas Lindahl: The Rocketeer, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Phantom of the Opera

Find more reviews on
Golden Globes: Best Original Score (Nominee)
The music of this soundtrack was used in:

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Trailer)
Matilda (Trailer)


This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Edward Scissorhands (1990), Danny Elfman (Movie)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Danny Elfman (Movie)
'Original Trailer Music', John Beal (Movie)

See also: All trailers
Other releases of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993):

Nightmare Before Christmas, The (2006) Nightmare Before Christmas, The (2007) Nightmare Before Christmas, The (1993) Pesadilla Antes de Navidad (1993) …trange NoŽl de Monsieur Jack, L' (1994) Nightmare Revisited (2008)

The Best Christmas Soundtracks

Christmas Carol, A (2009) Christmas in Paris (2008) Home Alone (1990) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Jingle All the Way (2009) Love Actually (2003) Nightmare Before Christmas, The (1993) Noel (2004) Polar Express, The (2004) Snowman, The (1996)

Soundtracks from the collection: Christmas

Christmas Carol, A (2009) Christmas at the Cinema: Music from Your Favorite Holiday Classics (2012) Santa Clause, The (1994) Elf (2003) Arthur Christmas (2011) In from the Night / Silver Bells (2006) Home Alone (1990) Little Women (1994) Nightmare Before Christmas, The (2006) Christmas in Paris (2008)

Soundtracks from the collection: Kids

Toy Story (1995) Prince of Egypt, The (1998) Richie Rich (1995) Little Princess, A (1995) Brother Bear (2003) Bambi (2005) Two Brothers (2004) Jungle Book 2, The (2003) Cats & Dogs (2001) Secret of NIMH, The (1994)

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