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  • gi_joeComposed by Alan Silvestri
  • Varese Sarabande VSD-6980 / 2009 / 71:41

It’s been a slightly odd few years for Alan Silvestri, working less than he used to but still generally writing a couple of new scores a year.  The odd thing is that he has seemingly been on autopilot for quite a while now, with his music sounding professional and polished but lacking any real sense of inspiration.  His fans hoped that 2009’s GI Joe might be the return to form; after all, his previous scores for director Stephen Sommers are amongst his most popular recent ones.  Sadly, if anything, the reverse has turned out to be true.  This score is the musical definition of going through the motions – we hear all the familiar Silvestri gestures and styles, but everything sounds so limp and uninspired.  Even the action music – usually a strong point for the composer – just sounds like a pale imitation of past glories.

It certainly doesn’t help that the album is so long – that just gives more time to emphasise its flaws.  One of the biggest flaws is the use of electronics, which sounds horribly dated.  I’m not sure Silvestri has ever been all that comfortable putting drum loops over his orchestra and it just doesn’t sound at all natural here.  Fortunately, it’s not all bad – an eight-minute action piece in the middle of the album, “The Joes Mobilise”, is terrific.  Indeed, the album’s final section – the last 20 minutes or so – are pretty consistently entertaining.  Sadly, I doubt that many people will have the energy to get there, so relentlessly exhausting is what has gone before.  There are flashes of the familiar Silvestri from days gone by here – just not nearly enough.  **

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