Alan Silvestri may not be a household name (we’ll leave that to John Williams), but I’ll bet you have a lot of the films he’s scored in your collection. Silvestri has composed music for every Robert Zemeckis film since the two first collaborated on Romancing the Stone and he is single-handedly responsible for my phone’s email notification (from Back to the Future). What’s funny is that the five films he scored during the ’70s I’ve never even heard of. Leave it to someone of Zemeckis’s stature to find someone as brilliant as Silvestri to unleash some of the most memorable scores of the ’80s—even if you didn’t know his name. Silvestri is also the man behind one of my all-time favorite scores (Death Becomes Her), and seems to be back in business with his score for DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods.
Two Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations (Best Original Score for Forrest Gump and Best Original Song, “Believe,” for The Polar Express), two Grammy wins (“Believe” and “Cast Away End Credits”) with two more nominations (Back to the Future and Chicken Run), the man knows his way around just about every genre. He even has some horror on his resume with six Tales from the Crypt episodes. Recently, his style has changed a little bit. Honestly, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, all three Back to the Futures, and Death Becomes Her, are almost interchangeable.
Harkening back to the sounds that made him so memorable, it’s all horns, violins, and drums. Throughout the soundtrack for The Croods there are variations on the main attraction—the song “Shine Your Way” performed by Owl City and Yuna. While personally not a huge fan of the song, there’s way worse that could be aimed at your kids on the radio. The standout tracks are “Piranhakeets,” “Turkey Fish Follies” (featuring elements similar to Back to the Future Part III and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), with the best track being “Smash and Grab,” performed with the USC Trojan Marching Band. It plays behind a scene where the family is trying to catch their breakfast, animated like the first stone-age football game. The scene is gorgeously rendered and the track is especially fun to drive to. The music video for “Shine Your Way” can be found here, and the entire soundtrack is now available on iTunes, with The Croods CD available March 26.
Cover art courtesy Relativity Music Group