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Simple, but beautiful romantic comedy music
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall
A romantic comedy about a girl who is always the bridesmaid but never the bride (hmm, I wonder what the ending of this film might be?), 27 Dresses marks the highest-profile film scored by composed Randy Edelman in quite some time. He was extremely popular in the 1990s, with his cheap-sounding synthy scores for Dragonheart and Gettysburg garnering (slightly mystifying) widespread acclaim, though far more quality seemed to be in evidence in his charming comedy music in Beethoven and action scores like XXX. In recent times he has been working generally on low-quality fare, and his once-solid relationship with Varese Sarabande which saw most of his scores released by that label, however desperate the film, has been more sporadic.
Indeed, this is his twentieth new score since 2001, but less than half of them have seen album releases, an unusually low proportion for a composer of Edelman's profile. 27 Dresses sees him returning to a genre in which he attracted little attention, but did probably his finest work. A decade or so ago (perhaps more), several times each year a soundtrack album would come along, and after playing it through once, the main theme would be in my head for days; but I can't remember the last time that happened, with the once all-conquering desire for films to have memorable themes very much a thing of the past. Against all odds, the score that has become the first in years to provoke such a response in me is - well, it's not hard to guess - 27 Dresses, with a charming, catchy, enchanting main theme being its highlight. A rolling scherzo, it lasts far longer in the memory than one would expect anything from this sort of film to.
The orchestra is not large, and somehow Edelman makes it sound more artificial than it probably is, with the various keyboards (why use a synth piano to play the main theme when presumably a real piano is sitting right next to it on the stage at Abbey Road?) not helping, but the old-fashioned charm of the melodies is where the score makes you forgive its deficiencies - there's real quality here, evidence of a high-quality tunesmith who has probably been passed by as film music has moved to more "hip" places.
There's not only one fine theme here, either - the melodramatic "Turncoat" is a pleasingly sincere attempt to accompany the girl's "tragedy" (a tragedy which doesn't seem so great compared with some which descend upon people around the world, admittedly); and there's another playful piece which runs through several tracks. The light, Rachel Portman style is sometimes joined by gentle jazz elements, and these inject some life, ensuring the 40-minute album never runs out of steam despite the simplicity of the music presented. OK, it will rock nobody's world, and it's predictable, and we've heard it all before - but such is the charm of the underlying material, it's frequently difficult to resist, and so I recommend it to those seeking some easy listening charm.