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Silver Linings Playbook by Danny Elfman

Silver Linings Playbook

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Silver Linings Playbook (Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman











Silver Linings Playbook (Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman

Silver Linings Playbook
Composed by Danny Elfman
Sony Classical (2012)

Rating: 6/10

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“...if it’s a brief, breezy and upbeat listen you require, you could do a lot worse.”

Neither Cloud Nor Lining
Review by Edmund Meinerts


A romantic comedy with a dramatic twist, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK sees Bradley Cooper’s character released from a mental health facility only to find that his wife has left him. While trying to reconcile with her, he meets Jennifer Lawrence’s character and forms a bond with her due to their shared neurotic disorders. Balancing comedy against a topic as serious as mental health is a precarious tightrope act, but done right it can be very rewarding (and, come the end of the year, awarding). Director David Owen Russell seems to have pulled it off with aplomb, the film gathering significant acclaim and generating a fair amount of Oscar buzz.

As one might expect for a romantic comedy, the film’s soundtrack is dominated by song placements, but nevertheless, DANNY ELFMAN was hired to fill in the gaps with a short original score, easily the least substantial of his impressive six assignments of 2012. Ditching the orchestra, ELFMAN opted to assemble a light rock ensemble for the project, augmented by piano, some synthetic overlays and – most notably – his own vocal talent layered several times on top of itself to create a small oohing-and-aahing choir in much the same way BRIAN TYLER has occasionally done for early and/or low-budget projects. That choir lends a definite and somewhat cheesy 60s-retro vibe to SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, equating the psychedelia of that decade to the confused state of the protagonists’ minds.

Only one theme exists in the score, its hopeful rising piano pairs and catchy chord progression omnipresent throughout the score. From the second half of “Running Off” (2) onwards (and with the exception of the very brief “The Book” (8)), not a cue goes by that isn’t largely based on this theme or its progression. The most satisfying iteration of this pleasant identity, unsurprisingly, comes in “Happy Ending” (9), which brings together the piano, rock ensemble and choir for one lengthy crescendo that might as well be the backing track for a song. Unfortunately, this dependence on a single musical idea means that even at barely 20 minutes in length, parts of the score end up feeling redundant or repetitive. Some of the shorter renditions of the theme in the mid-section, such as “With a Beat” (4) and “Tiny Guitars” (5), don’t add that much despite being inoffensive in and of themselves.

A few unique moments do stand out in the score, led by the “Silver Lining Titles” (1), which introduces some DAVID HOLMES-like style following otherwise orphaned chord progressions. More of this refreshing attitude would have been welcome throughout the score. Also guaranteed to bring a smile is the “Goof Track” (10) at the very end (basically a short reprise of the penultimate cue), in which ELFMAN’s choir helpfully reminds us who is in the movie and what else they’ve starred in. The droning overlays in “Simple” (3) are a bit of a departure, but not that interesting in the long run.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is the sort of score that ELFMAN probably could have written, performed (probably largely by himself) and recorded over a weekend, but it doesn’t necessarily suffer for that. Don’t go in expecting EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, obviously – the movie didn’t exactly allow for it – but if it’s a brief, breezy and upbeat listen you require, you could do a lot worse. The only question is, why couldn’t the 45-minute song album and 20-minute score album be combined into one?

Rating: 6/10


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Silver Linings Titles 3:12  ****
2 Running Off 2:02  ***
3 Simple 1:56  ***
4 With a Beat 2:17  ***
5 Tiny Guitars 1:01  **
6 Walking Home 1:05  ***
7 Silver Lining Wild-Track 2:57  ***
8 The Book 0:42  ***
9 Happy Ending 3:53  ****
10 Goof Track 1:28  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 20 minutes  


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