Music News

Jonny Greenwood

How unfortunate would it be if all the furor surrounding the latest Radiohead album eclipsed this new orchestral film score composed by the band's lead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood? Those seeking to find Greenwood's rock sensibilities — or the echoes of Radiohead's modernist approach — won't find a trace of it in There Will Be Blood. Devoid of guitar, this score showcases a completely different side of Greenwood, a longtime classical enthusiast who's held the position of BBC composer in residence since 2004. Rock fans should, however, also note that this music does pull you in. In fact, the album works marvelously well because it's a change of pace. And the foundation of the music itself, Greenwood's writing, reveals itself to be strong. One doesn't have to see the film to get caught up in the eerie shadows that this music casts, which, by the end of its modest 33 minutes, will still leave you feeling exhausted (in a good way, not to mention transported to another place — the very essence of a successful score). Interestingly, Greenwood generally didn't write for specific scenes. He simply wrote "lots" of music inspired by the film and the script, then let director Paul Thomas Anderson do the sifting. It's possible that this accounts for the vibrancy and underlying menace of the work in spite of its generally low-key feel. However indifferent you might be toward bringing soundtracks home and enjoying them out of their original context, you'll want to consider this one not on the basis of Greenwood's status but for how it stands on its own.

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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni