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Step Mom (Soundtrack) by John Williams

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Step Mom (Soundtrack) by John Williams

Composed by John williams
Performed by Uncredited orchestra; 
Christopher Parkening (Guitar)
Released by Sony Classical on December 1998

Track Title Time Rating Soft Brilliance from Williams
by Christopher Coleman

John Williams' score to the 1998 holiday season heart-tugger is privileged to be my first review of 1999 and I couldn't be more pleased with starting the year off on such a "note."   Williams returns to his ways of excellence that seem to have taken a sabbatical since his score for Jurassic Park with the exception of Seven Years in Tibet.   Sleepers, Rosewood, Nixon, Amistad and even this years Oscar-nominated, Saving Private Ryan, did, in no way, showcase the brilliance of John Williams.  While each had a moment or two of listening pleasure, they fall dreadfully short of the simple beauty of Stepmom.

Most of Williams' score for this film is soft, warm, and very relaxing.  He employs the use of guitar majestically. This time his featured artist is Christopher Parkening.  The only other guitarist that might be better would be a man with the same name as the composer, John Williams.  This might have made a marketing mess!  Then again, they could really pump up the John Williams & John Williams collaboration thing if they wanted.  In any case, Parkening sparkles every time he appears in the score.  I just wish there could have been more of him.

On track is playful and reminiscent of some of his work from E.T. the Extra-terrestrial and even Jaws.  this track sounds very similar to portions of Seven Years in Tibet with its semi-dark intensity.

The one drawback is the mysterious inclusion of the flashback tune of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell .  It is the only pop song, oldie or otherwise, included.  It does provide a definite break in the mood of the score, but aftering hearing one ol' Motown cut, I wanna hear more.  Instead, we are escorted back into Williams' beautiful theme in the last track.  If it weren't for this emotional trip, this score would have obtainied the coveted 10/10 rating.

Amazingly, I did not rush right out and pick up Stepmom as I normally would any of Williams' new releases.  I waited and read reviews, listened to a few clips, and thought about it.  Finally, I strolled by Borders to find it on sale for $13.99.  I popped on the headphones and gave it a complete listen.  I knew I'd be walking out with it!  Many consider such scores to be of the elevator variety, but I find such tender pieces of music the most long-lasting in listenability.    This is one you can definitely click the repeat-all button on.


Always and Always



The Days Between



Time Spins its Web


4 The Soccer Game 4:43 *

A Christmas Quilt



Isabel's Horse and Buggy



Taking Pictures



One Snowy Night



Ben's Antics



Isabel's Picture Gallery



Jackie and Isabel


12 Jackie's Secret 2:22 **



14 Ain't No Mountain High Enough* 2:29 **
15 End Credits 6:18 ***
  Total PlayingTime 65:50    



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

Other reviews:

"Williams' score for Stepmom is more than adequate, but although the guitar performances transfer well to the album, the rest of the score becomes lost in the background. It is, however, a more enjoyable listening experience than Saving Private Ryan, and will please a more general crowd." *** 

Christian Clemmensen -

John Williams

Step Mom (Soundtrack) by John Williams
"Stepmom was quite a disappointment to many people, including myself...still recommend the score as it's several steps above what anyone would probably have written and a John Williams score will always have some intrinsic merit." *** 

Tom Daish - Soundtrack Express

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Step Mom (Soundtrack) by John Williams


All artwork from Stepmom is exclusive property of Sony Classical (c) 1998.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.  Composer photo provided by Christian Clemmenson and Filmtracks.

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