John Barry – Moonraker

moonrakerJohn Barry’s James Bond soundtracks are all majestic.  Choosing one over the other is a game best played by those who like their martinis shaken, not stirred.  (OK, that was lame.  Forgive me.)  Still, I’ve always had an affinity for his sappier material.  He imbues the Bond films, Moonraker in particular, with a lush sort of melancholia that feels more tragic almost in direct proportion to the slowness of the tempo.  On Moonraker, Barry pulls out the orchestral stops:  The brass expands across the windshield of your brain like a great sustained trumpeting of Nordic warlords.  The strings drench themselves in sopping wet streams of diamond-dewed heartache.  Remarkably, action film soundtracks today sound nothing like this:  They’re often glitchy, given to bad one-man-one-keyb-and-one-small-room heartthumpno that’s just a slicker version of the music you might hear on the six o’clock news.  They don’t strive for beauty, for bigness, for sweeping you away.  I’m not advocating one set approach to action film soundtracks.  I just find it curious that one of the better such scores around (this one) is on the whole a leisurely, Wagnerian wall of sound that is almost literally haunting.  In other words, gorgeous make-out music.  How about that?

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