Reviews - Black Beauty

Review by Paper-Girl

Starting off with a lone, delicate violin, the bittersweet motif is set, opening the score to Black Beauty with the unparalleled passion of Danny Elfman. This score is his masterpiece of beauty; perhaps the best Elfman score to date. Prior to listening to the soundtrack, prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster you are about to ride. The two extreme emotions interwoven throughout brings your spirit through the wringer, happy and excited one minute, then dropped completely to a deep longing which pulls at your soul the next.
This score, if one is not familiar with all of Elfman's diverse styles, may not be instantly recognizable as his. It is far different from the driving force in Batman, the whimsical and spooky sounds found in Mars Attack and Men In Black and has little of the surrealness in Edward Scissorhands; however, the flavour of the music still has classic Elfman characteristics to it.
For example, the vastness of emotions he wakens within is classical Elfman. He has a tendency to play with emotions as if they were instruments in themselves. The breadth of the score encompasses so many different sensations that you feel as though you are a channel for the musical energy he creates. Danny Elfman has a habit of pulling listeners completely into the music in this manner. This is seen in Baby Beauty, track two on the disk, where he recreates the feeling of sweet curiosity, an emotion which is intangible at the best of times. Even if you have not seen the movie, you can feel there is exploration and discovery in the music.
The music found both in the Main Credits and End Credits is extremely moving. The music swells with a deep longing, an intense feeling of nostalgia. It is wistful, melancholy, romantic and, simply put, beautiful. It truly shows Elfman is one of the most diverse and able composer of our time.
The one downfall of this soundtrack is the length, with a playing time of just over 45 minutes. The tracks themselves seem really short. If played continually, there seems to be an almost constant flow. But, this does not help if you want to listen to one or two of your favourite tracks repeatedly. Here you feel the songs are cut short. This is especially true with one of my favourite pieces, Jump For Joy, which is but a minute long. This piece builds beautifully and grandly, but with the length (or lack thereof) the song is anti-climatic; it just stops. I realize the shortness of the tracks isn't his fault. There are certain limitations when working with film that he has to be confined to, but it is still somewhat disappointing.
With that said, I would still recommend owning this soundtrack, though I know from personal effort it is hard to get ahold of. It paints a colourful canvas of feelings and is the most beautiful score I've heard.
Rating: * * * *

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