Next (Soundtrack) by Mark Isham



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Next by Mark Isham


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Next (Soundtrack) by Mark Isham

Composed by Mark Isham
Lakeshore Records (2007)

Rating: 5/10

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Listen to this soundclip of Next (Soundtrack) by Mark IshamDestiny (235 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of Next (Soundtrack) by Mark IshamPier 18 (410 kb)

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“Coming off such an intriguing effort, THE BLACK DAHLIA, Mark Isham's NEXT is a disappointment.”

Didn't See It Coming
by Christopher Coleman

The action/suspense genre is generally not one that composer Mark Isham delves into, so his selection as composer for the 2007 film, NEXT, is a curious one.  With his very engaging effort in 2006 for THE BLACK DAHLIA, there are those who just didn't see a score like this as his next project.  While consistently delivering evocative scores for dramas such as CRASH, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, or OCTOBER SKY, Lee Tamahori's flick about a tormented, two-bit, magician, who can see a few moments into the future, doesn't seem like a natural fit for Isham.

In NEXT, Los Angeles has come under the threat of a nuclear detonation (Again? I could have sworn Jack Bauer took care of this years ago.) and Nicholas Cage's character, Cris, doesn't want to use his unique abilities to help the FBI and so makes a run for it with the aid of actress Jessica Biel. While the characters, nor the motivations of our league o' terrorists, are truly fleshed out, the premise should have provided a substantial canvas from which an intriguing score could be built. 

Sadly, NEXT, with its few moments of entertainment, fails and Mark Isham's score does little to help it out. The score is not terrible, but sounds completely uninspired. Check that. It does sounds inspired, just not by the movie it was written for. The opening of the soundtrack comes with the same foggy, mystery-like feel as David Julyan's work for THE PRESTIGE...but as your attention is focused squarly on one hand, a switcheroo takes place. Before the track ends the score turns to it's main theme. Isham's main theme is one the more distinct elements of the score. In addition to "8:09" (1), you'll find it quoted in "Destiny" (3) and "A Few Minutes of Your Time" (6). The promise that the theme might have shown erodes at the realization that this soft-piano theme appears to be inspired by Harold Faltermeyer's title theme from THE RUNNING MAN. Again not a bad theme, not even a direct rip...but its too close to NOT remind one of Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing led-covered-tights, running for his life.

The majority of the score plays like a mash-up of Rabin-Powell-Elfmanisms and not really doing any one of them justice. I can't bring myself to call this "bad" score, but NEXT falls into some nondescript category of soundtrack. Unless one is a truly dedicated Isham fan, this score won't find too many repeat listens. What is more likely to happen is that over the course of a couple years, one might come across this CD release in their library or in the soundtrack aisle and scratch their head in wonder at what it sounds like...even if they have heard it before. 

Coming off such an intriguing effort, THE BLACK DAHLIA, Mark Isham's NEXT is a disappointment.  Many scores have overcome the limitations of a bad script, but the music for NEXT just doesn't get there.  If you're desperately looking for something in the time-touching-genre, then DE JA VU is a better choice for both score and film.  I will give credit to Mark Isham for venturing out a little and hopefully he'll continue to do so. NEXT might, at least, prove to be a nice springboard into the genre and lead to more interesting listens in the near future, but for it's general lack of distinctiveness, NEXT loses a point and drops to a 5/10 rating.


Rating: 5/10


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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 8:09 2:10 ***
2 Give Me Two Minutes 3:19 ***
3 Destiny 2:07 ***
4 Pier 18 3:37 ***
5 Carlotti Defines 2:50 ***
6 A Few Minutes of Your Time 3:19 ***
7 Multiple Point Surveillance 2:34 ***
8 Who Knows What's Safe 4:04 ***
9 Breaking News 4:08 ***
10 Second and Broadway 2:44 ***
11 No Good Deed Goes Unpunished 2:06 ***
12 Looking for a License Plate 2:09 ***
13 Shadow Group 2:04 ***
14 All Elements Execute! 2:05 ***
15 A Show of Character 3:39 ***
16 I Believe Anything's Possible 3:41 ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 46 minutes  




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