As I write this review of Randy Newman's seventh contribution to a Pixar film and look back over my notes, the words (or phrases) I jotted down and underlined while listening were "moments of grandeur", "lightness", "peril", "Snares!" and "Militant". Although these words don't mean much up front, they speak to the depth of highs and lows that the Monsters University soundtrack mirrors throughout. This isn't a copy of the jazzy Monsters, Inc. soundtrack in any way - this is a new and completely original work that takes inspiration from the big action of a football game, subtle emotions in our hearts and the overwrought nature of an individual's college years.
(Please note that if you're attempting to avoid spoilers, you will not want to read any further until after you view the movie.)
As I plugged in my headphones and turned up the volume, my mind quickly drew comparisons from a few of Randy's other works. Comparing this specifically to his other Pixar scores, I found this to be closest to Toy Story over any other movie - I couldn't stop thinking of moments where Buzz was on screen talking about Star Command punctuated by snare drums and horns (Track 10, Field Trip at 20 seconds). For the more militant moments of the soundtrack, I pulled comparisons from one of Newman's other works, Meet The Parents, where Greg stumbles into Jack's secret room (beginning of Track 9, Stinging Glow Urchin).
I was also glad to hear some moments that played off of a traditional trouble-maker cartoon feel - (Track 12, The Library) with it's light jazzy moments, big crescendos and quiet moments where you can feel the syncopation between the characters' footsteps and the music was a ton of fun. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Goodbyes (Track 18) is the most heartfelt track on the soundtrack and really pulls you in with it's great violin swells and sweeping movements.
I loved how Oozma Kappa (Track 8), really showed off the "less cool" side of the OK gang by highlighting the accordion at moments and pairing those moments with a polka or jig feeling. I also can't get enough of the tracks, Main Title (Track 1), Rise and Shine (Track 11) and The Scare Games (Track 14) since I'm a sucker for great snare and quad drums (that even include authentic rim clicks). I wouldn't expect anything less from Newman (as well as the Blue Devils drumline) and although I run the risk of sounding over-excited, this is my favorite work from Newman on a Pixar film.
UPDATED - Well, we can wipe away our tears now as Twitter has been abuzz this morning with the source for the end credits theme that we originally thought was Randy Newman's work. Seems everyone kept their eye on the MU end credits as we did as that End Credits song is called Gospel by MarchFourth Marching Band. You can purchase the End Credits theme on iTunes or on Amazon.
|MarchFourth Marching Band|
You can pick up the Monsters University soundtrack on sale now on iTunes, or on Amazon.
Track Listing - Total time 55:11
- Main Title (0:51)
- Young Michael (3:58)
- First Day at MU (4:32)
- Dean Hardscrabble (3:19)
- Sulley (0:48)
- Scare Pig (2:00)
- Wasted Potential (1:16)
- Oozma Kappa (3:16)
- Stinging Glow Urchin (2:34)
- Field Trip (3:57)
- Rise and Shine (3:00)
- The Library (3:44)
- Roar (Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia) (2:52)
- The Scare Games (5:58)
- Did You Do This? (2:00)
- Human World (2:07)
- The Big Scare (3:02)
- Goodbyes (3:11)
- Mike and Sulley (1:12)
- Monsters University (1:34)
- In-depth Brave soundtrack review
- Brave movie review in Dolby Atmos
- Listen to Roar and buy the 3-Song EP (with remixes)
Pixar Post - T.J.