I honestly have no idea what possessed me to get this soundtrack. I’ve always enjoyed the music from The Princess Bride, but never in an “Omigod, I have to get that soundtrack!” way. *shrug* Yet here I am, listening to Mark Knopfler’s take on storybook love. The interesting thing is that Mark isn’t your typical soundtrack composer. If you look at his list of credits you’ll see that he’s got a rather sizeable number of CDs out there in which he performs, plucking away at an electric guitar. Guess what? He even performs on this CD. Interesting and somewhat random, I thought.
Whatever the case, it made for great music for the movie. The CD is only about 39 minutes long, but a lot of the tracks are somewhat similar so I won’t go into too much detail.
1.) Once upon a Time...Storybook Love – 4:00 The main theme for the movie, starting off the story with Buttercup and Westley and their little farm. I love the harp and soft flute and clarinet that sort of trade on and off until the guitar picks up for that familiar theme we all know.
2.) I Will Never Love Again – 3:04 The guitar is back, coupled with the harp and faded strings behind it. It’s sadder this time, with the main theme returning, but this time it’s got a sharper feeling to it—the painful kind of a lost loved one.
3.) Florin Dance – 1:32 With clapping, a tambourine, and that medieval style, a song everyone can jump and dance to.
4.) Morning Ride – 1:36 Almost like something you would hear from the classical age, with sprightly violins and soft woodwinds popping in and out. The embodiment of a bright sunny day.
5.) The Friends’ Song – 3:02 Inigo and Fezzik’s song, with string plucking and easygoing, happy times. If you remember the music playing while Fezzik made rhymes on the boat, yep, that’s it.
6.) The Cliffs of Insanity – 3:18 Hear the wind blowing? With an, ominous deep sound, we slip into the climbing music, uncertain and dangerous, with some creepy electronic noises thrown in like ghosts passing by.
7.) The Swordfight – 2:43 Westley and Inigo duel. Quick, winding, and occasionally deadly, remember—I’m not left handed either.
8.) Guide My Sword – 5:12 Soft yet hopeful, with gentle harp and flute, along with a few mystical electronic bits slipping in at the right times help Inigo to find Westley. I like the occasional little strum of the guitar, Spanish-style.
9.) The Fireswamp and the Rodents of Unusual Size – 4:47 Low and dark, beware the lightening sand and other dangers of the Fireswamp. Things get really tense when an R.O.U.S. attacks, fast and furious, until it’s finally killed and Westley and Buttercup can relax once more.
10.) Revenge – 3:51 More quick music as Inigo chases after the man who killed his father and they fight, until an abrupt stop that doesn’t look good for Inigo, strings tightening up until they can fight back alongside the brass.
11.) A Happy Ending – 1:52 Things start out with a bit of “The Friend’s Song” before a magical little flute and sparkling sound exchange and we end the way we started, with that lovely storybook theme and happily ever after.
12.) Storybook Love – 4:24 Sung by Willy DeVille, this is the main theme with lyrics. I suppose had I listened to the credits, I would know this song existed, but I didn’t. I’m kind of on the fence about it though—DeVille has a great voice and the lyrics of the refrain go very well with the main theme (some of the other lyrics are kind of weird I think) but it still seems kind of random. It’s a song you’d have to listen to and decide for yourself what to do about it.
It’s the perfect soundtrack for this movie, really. I’m not sure what else you could try using and have it work out as well. While it’s really fun to listen to and does have that magical, storybook feel with notes floating around and true love and swordfights and the like, because it’s so tied to the movie, it’s really hard not to think of Westley and Buttercup kissing under the sun or Inigo sword fighting with someone. Then you end up wanting to go enjoy the movie. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it tends to be a lot more fun when the music gets away from its film counterpart and becomes something on its own.
It’s possible that imaging other things or doing some sort of activity while listening to the CD will turn the music away from the film a fraction, but this music is mostly mellow and good for enjoying while you kick back. Still, in the end the languid melodies and unique style are enjoyable no matter what. I can’t imagine someone listening to this and not feeling happy or uplifted at some point at least. Mark Knopfler did a great job and this makes some of his other works worth looking into.
P.S. Rodents of unusual size? I don’t believe they exist.
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About the reviewer
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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All music written by Mark Knopfler. Mark Knopfler's original music for The Princess Bride utilizes dreamy washes of synthesizers overlayed with warm acoustic instruments and hints of percussion. It's a great formula, often drifting through a gauze befitting a film that plays like a fairy tale. At the same time, songs like "Cliffs of Insanity" and "The Fireswamp and the Rodents of Unusual Size" cleverly acknowledge the movie's quirky humor even as they advance the plot with urgent notes or shimmering synth trills. "The Friends' Song"'s gently plucked acoustic guitar and whistle suggests the bardic tradition, while the main theme "Once Upon a Time...Storybook Love" is as romantic and pastoral as the film itself. ~ Johnny Loftus Song List: Disc 1 1. Once Upon a Time...Story Book Love 2. I Will Never Love Again 3. Florin Dance 4. Morning Ride 5. Friends' Song 6. Cliffs of Insanity 7. Sword Fight 8. Guide My Sword 9. Fire Swamp and the Rodents of Unusual Size 10. Revenge 11. Happy Ending, A 12. Story Book Love