Hearts in Atlantis by Mychael Danna Available at Amazon.com

 

 

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Hearts in Atlantis (Soundtrack) by Mychael Danna

Heart Divided
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Hearts in Atlantis (Soundtrack) by Mychael Danna

Hearts in Atlantis
7/10

Hearts in Atlantis (Soundtrack) by Mychael Danna

Category  |   Score

Originality 7
Music Selection 5
Composition 7
CD Length 6
Track Order 6
Performance 8
Final Score 7/10

 

 

Real Audio Clips

 

Track 4 - Never Really Went Away

Track 10 - The Hill

 

 

Mychael Danna
Composer 
Mychael Danna

 

Quick Quotes

 

 

Composed and Produced by Mychael Danna
Album Produced by John Bissell
Orchestrations by Mychael Danna and Nicholas Dodd
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Performed by David Archer (Piano), Andrew Lockington (Electric Guitar),
Eric Cadesky (Glass Harmonica)
Released by Decca Records September 25, 2001

Hearts in Atlantis is yet another literary-child of author Stephen King.  A series of interconnected short stories comprised King's 1999 release of the same title.  With the critical success of novels turned feature films like: Stand by Me, Misery, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile, Castle Rock Entertainment jumped at the movie rights to Hearts in Atlantis.  This well-cast and stylish film continues the successful marriage between Stephen King, Castle Rock, and screenwriter, William Goldman.  The music for each of the three films mentioned above has featured some of the best work of their respective composers, Danny Elfman and Thomas Newman, but neither would end up as a part of Heart in Atlantis' creative team.

Brought on to provide the musical score for Hearts in Atlantis was composer Mychael Danna.  Danna drew much attention from film music fans with his forceful score to Ride with the Devil in 2000 and, earlier in 2001, Danna composed the contemporary score for Bounce.  As Bounce contained a notion of Thomas Newman's popular compositional style heard in some of his more recent projects, so does Danna's latest project.  Bounce was fueled by contemporary rhythms and synthesizers, but Hearts in Atlantis holds the darker and much deeper edge of some of Newman's more popular scores. 

The soundtrack released by Decca Records is a difficult one to rate.  On the one hand, the reasonably short soundtrack is lacking a number of orchestral cues from the film and is heavy on the late-fifties-early-sixties pop tracks.  This is generally a disappointing feature for film music collectors and usually draws their ire.  On the other hand, taken as a whole, the soundtrack works well in representing the moods of the film and provides a listening experience that is less jarring then might anticipate. 

Eight of the twelve tracks that comprise the soundtrack are non-Danna cues.  All, but one, of these cues are familiar pop tunes from the Fifties and Sixties.  Songs such as ever-present soundtrack inclusion, The Twist by Chubby Checker, and three classics from The Platters, help transport the listener to another era.  The selection of Twilight Time by The Platters is fitting as its opening line, "Heavenly shades of night are falling," was taken by Stephen King as the title for one of the short stories on which this film is based.    Also, included is Max Steiner's unforgettable, melodic, theme from A Summer Place.  Together these selections comprise one side of the film's mood: optimism, innocence, and light-heartedness.  The more poignant, even darker portion is left to be communicated by Mychael Danna's score.

Four tracks of Danna's music find their way onto the disc but are never  sequenced back-to-back.  The first bit of score isn't heard until track 4, Never Really Went Away.  Here, the listener is slowly introduced to the main theme as the simple, solo piano begins.  A few moments in and a full performance of the theme, relying strongly upon strings and woodwinds, is heard - a one-two combination utilized often by Tom Newman.  This theme is also heard in both The Hill (10) and Molly (12) and each time, mostly due to its sparse utilization on the CD, is a very welcome appearance.  Contrasting these is Summer Vacation (6) - an "airy" uplifting piece, initially, that never divorces itself totally from the darker elements of the film and score.  The four tracks add up to just over 17 minutes of music, and while less than half of the total running time, seems to be a sufficient amount.

The use of Thomas Newman's How to Make an American Quilt in the trailer for Hearts in Atlantis help set a tone and expectancy for the film that Mychael Danna upholds nicely with his own score - a score, which by itself would earn an 8/10.  Those that found Newman's scores for The Shawshank Redemption or Meet Joe Black a pleasure, will enjoy the few moments when Danna's score does make an appearance.  At the same time, fans may be a little put-off by the dominance of non-score cues.  Those who enjoy the pop music of that era may find these same cues a nostalgic experience.  In short, the soundtrack works as is.  By extending the meager running time, the CD could be improved by additional score cues. 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 The Twist - Chubby Checker 2:35  **
2 Carol - Chuck Berry 2:45  **
3 Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny 2:21  **
4 Never Really Went Away 2:48  ****
5 Only You (And You Alone) - The Platters 2:33  ***
6 Summer Vacation 5:41  ****
7 Sh-Boom (Life Could be a Dream) - The Crew Cuts 2:46  ***
8 Theme from "A Summer Place" - Percy Faith & His Orchestra 2:21  ****
9 Twilight Time - The Platters 2:44  ***
10 The Hill 4:21  ****
11 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - The Platters 2:38  ***
12 Molly 4:29  ****
 

Total Running Time

37:59  

Hearts in Atlantis (Soundtrack) by Mychael Danna

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

Referenced Reviews
Ride with Devil  |  Bounce

 

 

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