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I Am Number Four
  • Composed by Trevor Rabin
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2011 / 44:14

Widely derided for ripping off other popular movies aimed at young adults (in particular the Twilight series), I Am Number Four performed unspectacularly at the box office when released in February.    Now, to coincide with the DVD release, Varèse Sarabande has issued Trevor Rabin’s score on CD.  I think it’s fair to say that you know what you’re going to get with a Rabin score for an action blockbuster – he would have been an unlikely recruit for the Spanish Inquisition, whose chief weapon was surprise.  I think it’s also fair to say that Rabin is about the only person who is still writing film music like Hans Zimmer’s troupe did for this kind of film back in the 1990s – while Zimmer’s boys of today are mostly about texture (Iron Man, The Island etc) there was a time when really, it was all just about fun.

Rabin’s tuneful, ever-enthusiastic music is nothing if not fun.  The main theme is a decent if unmemorable power anthem – to make the standard comparison with poultry, it is the equivalent of the chicken nuggets you sneakily have a lunchtime when nobody is looking rather than the coq au vin you serve to your dinner party guests – once it’s gone you instantly forget it was ever there, but it’s quite tasty while it lasts.  There’s a more romantic theme too which is typical Rabin, electric guitars and synth string pads.  The action music is plentiful and entertaining enough.  The composer seems to have tried to turn the blend of orchestra and electronics more towards the former than he usually does – this isn’t entirely successful, so banal are the orchestrations at times, but I suppose it’s nice that he is showing willing.  I Am Number Four sits comfortably in the middle of Rabin’s output in terms of quality – the fact that it sounds like it was written 15 years earlier and sounds as dated as those mid-90s Zimmer scores now do is a little odd but, actually, I’d take this over most of the drone served up these days for Michael Bay films and the like.   ***

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  1. ddueck (Reply) on Wednesday 1 June, 2011 at 19:13

    Ah, this might just be a fun one to look into. I’ve been enjoying “Armageddon” and Mancina’s “Twister” again, among other simple 90s action scores (The Rock, Starship Troopers), and have been surprised at how much more enjoyable they are than modern scores from that crowd. It actually seems surprising they were ever considered “guilty pleasures” by me (and others, I’m sure). They are actually memorable, tuneful scores, and just a blast to listen to. Good to hear another film music fan making the distinction between simple “fun” music and simple “blah” music. There is a genuine place in my collection for the former.

  2. Rod (Reply) on Sunday 5 June, 2011 at 23:05

    “He would have been an unlikely recruit for the Spanish Inquisition, whose chief weapon was surprise”.


  3. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Tuesday 21 June, 2011 at 10:23

    Surprisingly did not enjoy this one at all, considering I’m usually forgiving of Rabin (he writes some really decent themes). The action music flits all over the place, there’s no cohesion and no really thematic moments other than the last thirty seconds or so of “Hit Me With Your Lumen”. Last year’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was superior, IMO.