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Music Review: Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen – The Score from the Motion Picture (500) Days of Summer

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The Score from the Motion Picture (500) Days of Summer, now available for digital download, features twenty songs from the smash hit film. With music by Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen, this score is an outstanding collection of instrumental music taken from a great movie.

Chances are you have already seen (500) Days of Summer if you are choosing to read about this album, so this review will operate under the assumption that readers have a familiarity with the movie that deals with the extremes that can be felt throughout a relationship. From the gleeful bliss of budding romance and young love to broken hearts and stabbing betrayal and the full spectrum in between, this score manages to do an outstanding job of capturing the feelings of the characters on screen.

There are a few motifs and themes that the score refers back to time and again, but throughout each of these is performed a number of different ways. Tom has a recurring theme, as does Summer. Often these two are intertwined to make a really pretty melody. The track titled “Arm Drawing” offers a delicate, intimate sound that prominently features the strings section. “After Dance” is much more melancholy, and listening to it may manage your thoughts to wander towards forlorn loves from your past.

Each of the tracks is named after the scene it corresponds with in the movie, so this helps listeners quickly identify when it is that the song can be heard in context. One minor qualm is the length of the tracks. Only one track is over three minutes long, and fourteen of the twenty are under two minutes. Having said that, these songs were developed for specific moments and fit really well in the movie. So if that makes for a slightly disjointed listening process, I suppose the payoff is a richly rewarding viewing experience when watching the movie and hearing the songs integrated.

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