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Independence Day (soundtrack)

1 rating: 3.0
An album by Original Soundtrack/David Arnold

Recorded at Sony Scoring and Signet Sound Studios, Los Angeles, California. Includes liner notes by Dean Devlin. Original score written by David Arnold. All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology. INDEPENDENCE DAY won a 1997 Grammy … see full wiki

1 review about Independence Day (soundtrack)

An orchestrated mix of something

  • Sep 22, 2006
Pros: Fun, unique style - go Arnold.

Cons: I don't like when I'm required to crank my volume.

The Bottom Line: It's not going to replace any of my usual Stars and Stripes music for July 4th.

The library has become a close friend of mine over the past several months. No job? Go yoink stuff from the library. Yes, that’s right – libraries carry soundtracks. I never knew this until recently. Boo-yah.

So…. Are you waiting for it? For me to exclaim I knew who it was doing the music? Haha, well, you’re partially wrong. I never paid attention to the composer of Independence Day’s music. But when I saw the name on the CD, David Arnold, it struck me as familiar. I’d seen it somewhere before, which usually means I’ve heard something by him. Still, I don’t know him enough to identify his work 2 minutes into a movie. So I moseyed on over to Amazon.com to look him up. And what do you know? I had heard him before – from the oh-so-awesome Stargate! Both the movie and the TV show. Not to mention he’s done every Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie save Goldeneye.

Well, shall we?

1.) 1969 – We Came in Peace – 2:04 Barely audible anything trails into the usual foreboding horns occasionally joined by offset strings before taking a final flourish and our first taste of bad guy music.

2.) S.E.T.I. – Radio Signal – 1:52 Quiet but strained music rolls along, separate instruments trying to gather together to form some kind of equal harmony, only managing a few seconds of it.

3.) The Darkest Day – 4:14 Quintessential bad guy music, low, unhappy in all aspects with the brass taking center stage. The strings do indeed vaguely remind me of Stargate with their slanted off-key tone. Midway through, things blow up to more of a fantastic darkness – and I never noticed the chorus before. The bad guys are here – and right now nothing can stop them.

4.) Canceled Leave – 1:46 A little group of high horns and flutes are soon joined by the strings in a lazy, casual melody.

5.) Evacuation – 5:47 Another track starting off quietly and slowly, and not in the brightest of spirits. But not even a minute into the piece, a drastic turn is taken and creepy strings lead us into militia-like drums that completely imply a time of preparation for something negative. The cacophony of instruments somehow make up a steady tune that shifts and twists, climbing up, up…and stopping at the tip of the cliff.

6.) Fire Storm – 1:23 The aliens have struck (KA-POW!) and now everyone, orchestra included is on the run as waves of fire rush onward and outward.

7.) Aftermath – 3:36 A sad chorus laments the loss of life with the mourning strings, but there’s no time to be sad – the cavalry is on its way. We get more tastes of the heroic theme sneaking its way around with the US military.

8.) Base Attack – 6:12 Similar to track 6 but much longer and with more fight inside it, drums and horns and strings all doing their own thing, but at the same time they manage to make everything work together. A unique style and with a wounded version of the heroic theme playing out here and there until one finally emerges from the melee. But it’s not out of the woods yet, the strings carry most of the weight, but various horns seek to disrupt it.

9.) El Toro Destroyed – 1:31 Mild chorus and quiet tones sing the desolation left in the wake of an ugly alien attack, picking up just a little at the end before dying.

10.) International Code – 1:32 Here we have it – finally the most fleshed out version of the corny heroic music so far. I apologize, but it is rather corny, at least to me. I remember thinking this during the movie as well. However, I forgot about this whole Hunt for Red October piece. Russian-style, nice. Quick to fade out though.

11.) The President’s Speech – 3:11 Cue patriotic drums and piccolos. It goes into a very nice, powerful and hopeful melody via rising strings until it finally flourishes into the full heroic theme. The music here has an American feel to it, but it’s more over-emphasized, which is what makes it corny. We finish with those same drums and piccolos.

12.) The Day We Fight Back – 5:00 Once again the instruments are ballistic, mixing fast charging music with pieces of the bad guy alien theme before fading off and going easy until it bursts out into pounding dark music. Then once again all instruments clamber into the fray. The track dips back and forth between, well, everything. Dark, heroic, slow, fast – orchestra in a blender. Delish. It ends on a heroic flourish – we win.

13.) Jolly Roger – 3:17 Another quiet, slow start, but it grows in the heroism, takes a sharp turn and the chase is on, cymbals crashing, strings racing, going on and on, unsure if all will end happily – but finally the instruments work together once the escape is done. But don’t forget those deep drums for the nuke. Heheh.

14.) End Titles – 9:08 Here you’ll get the full-fledged version of the hero theme (go US I suppose), as well as the bad guys. Basically, this is your typical compilation of everything you’ve heard before, only fleshed out as the credits roll. Some of the sad, some of the exciting, good, bad, etc. Nothing really new compared to the rest of the tracks, just everything in its completed form, one after the other.

The verdict? Mm, sort of hard to say. I have to say I like the theme for the aliens the best, the dark bad-things-are-going-to-happen feeling it projects is very well done. I mean it just has bad news written all over it. David Arnold, like all other composers I’ve encountered, has his own identifiable style. If you’ve heard anything Stargate related, then yes, you can hear the same sort of things going on within this CD. That’s not bad – it never is. Actually it makes things easier for me when it comes to pointing out who’s composing what for such-and-such movie. Arnold’s style seems to have the instruments all doing different things at once, yet at the same time, these changing items all come together to make up a single piece. It’s very interesting to listen to and very well done. Bravo David. Arnold also doesn’t use a lot of chorus, and that’s not a problem (contrary to what some of you may think, the way I rave about it all the time), when he does use it, it’s put in good places to make the current moment all the more effective.

Problems with the CD? A lot of pieces have areas that are just quiet. And I mean quiet. My speakers are turned up to the point that I fear a random pop-up error message or something because it will probably scare the hoo-hah out of me. And though I don’t really have a problem with the hero music as it does go very well with the movie, I still can’t deny its corniness. The final track is still playing, and yeah, it’s just corny. It always makes me think of Randy Quaid (kudos to my sis for supplying me with the name as I can’t remember actors as well as she) and his last words and actions in the movie. Cool, yet lame, says Ashley. She has a point. I agree. This is in no way stating that Arnold’s skills suddenly go bad, no they’re still tip-top, but like I said, it has an American feel (we’re heroes, we rock) only over-emphasized. It’s fun, no doubt about it, but not something I’d listen to every day. If you’ve seen the movie, you should have some idea of what I mean, otherwise you’ll just have to listen for yourself.

Good, overall, but semi-low replay value. Does it inspire? Not really. It’s just your basic soundtrack that will have you imagining the movie the entire way through. True, that’s what it’s supposed to do, but I give extra to soundtracks that give more to the imagination or otherwise impress me. A track to pick out for sampling? “End Titles,” of course. It gives you everything you’ll get in the CD



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Independence Day
Label: RCA Victor Records (USA)
Release Date: July 02, 1996

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