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The Bone Collector (Soundtrack) by Craig Armstrong

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Composed by Craig Armstrong
Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra
Released by Decca Records on October 26, 1999

The Bone Collector (Soundtrack) by Craig Armstrong

Track Title Time Rating A Collector, Indeed
by Christopher Coleman

Craig Armstrong may not be the most commonly discussed film score composer on the message boards, but his score to director Phillip Noyce’s The Bone Collector may help to change that.   Generally, speaking movies like The Bone Collector fail to get my $7.50 and likewise scores to such suspense-thrillers fail to get my money as well.  As far as the score goes, The Bone Collector is not your average psychopath-murderer sort of score.  Craig Armstrong provides some interesting themes and styles one might not be expecting for such a movie. 

The score, as released on compact disc by Decca, begins with a simple piano melody, New York City, which becomes the score's main theme.  Behind the piano are some eerie strings and percussions which really set the tone for the entire score.  This track doesn’t stay eerie for long, as  track 1 builds with more intensity and determination before it ends. Craig Armstrong's music definitely has a dark edge to it, but there exists a bit more resolve, a bit more purpose within the music than is generally expected for such a film.  This makes most of the tracks quite easy to listen to.  A full orchestral version of this piece comes at the conclusion of the CD, track 16, where the London Symphony Orchestra gives us a more traditional rendition of the theme.

Track 2, Prelude, continues the style started in the previous track.  The start is rather abrupt, but then the piano theme returns once again.  An interesting element is the solo vocalist heard for just a few notes but  later returns as a full blown choir.  I was going to refrain from making a Graeme Revell comparison (as I seem to do often), but this short vocal just forces me to do so.  In fact, there are quite a few elements that might lead one to believe this was a Revell score:  the piano, the synths, the previously mentioned vocals.  This isn’t too surprising since Craig Armstrong also composed additional music for The Negotiator (Revell.)  The Bone Collector has more in common with The Saint, however.

The thing that Armstrong has done is that he weaves in and out of the dark, mysterious, and suspenseful giving the listener important breaks with his more  driven, even up tempo style. Take track 10, McKenzie, as an example.  It isn’t just senseless suspense underscore.  It is a track full of percussion and synths and even good ol’ “pops” that our old records make.  a very interesting track that serves to break up what could; otherwise, get monotonous  fast.  This fact makes this score stand out from most suspense thriller scores and makes it a worthy listen.

Amelia’s Song (track 4) is constructed like the New York City theme with piano and strings, but leans to a lighter, heartfelt side.  At the same time, Armstrong does not abandon the overall darkness of the film’s content in order to depict the film's heroin.  Another wonderful example of this is found in track 9, Rhyme And Amelia's Love Theme.  One wouldn’t call this an average love theme.  It is simply too dark.  one gets the sense that time is ticking away, lives are in danger (they always are), but somehow love works its way into the situation (it usually does).

One of the best tracks is Pier Pressure (track 12).  It starts off harmless enough, but it isn’t long before the main theme bursts onto the scene with determined rhythms and orchestral hits that are awesome.  The pulse is slowed down dramatically and returns to the more foreboding state before the track concludes.

The vocals return strongly in track 15, The City Awakes.  It is vocals and vocals alone for this piece and it works.  In contrast to the rest of the score, this track is one that is full of light and hope.  It oozes with the feeling that the bad boy has been dispensed with and the good guys have triumphed…but maybe with a high price tag?


New York City 

2:57 ***


4:31 ***

Taxi Ride

1:36 **
4 Amelia's Song 3:23 ****

Race Against Time

2:26 ***

Walking The Grid

2:31 ****

Working the Evidence

2:04 ***


2:22 ***

Rhyme and Amelia's Love Theme

3:00 ***


3:50 ***

Amelia's Crisis

4:12 ***
12 Pier Pressure 5:07 ****


2:28 **
14 Final Confrontation 4:01 **
15 The City Awakens 2:48 ****
16 New York City 
(Orchestral Version)
2:54 ****
  Total Playing Time 50:10    



Originality 9  
CD Length 8  
Track Order 7  
Performance 8  
Final Score 8  

Other reviews:

This is Armstrong's first solo composition effort for a major market film, and he enters the arena with a bang. With styles that range from the largely orchestral to the choral, from the solo voice to the performance of multiple synthesizers, Armstrong blends a little of everything into his music for The Bone Collector...Not only did this score catch me by surprise, but I predict that it will be a frequent listen for me in the months to come..****

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

Craig Armstrong

The Bone Collector (Soundtrack) by Craig Armstrong
Have something to say about this score?  If you would like to contribute please e-mail me your thoughts.  Keep in mind I am limited on space here so I can't publish everyone's comments...but do send them!  Thanks!

All artwork from The Bone Collector is exclusive property of Decca Records (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.


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