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Jerry Goldsmith

Varèse Sarabande 302 066 238 2

  • Composed, conducted and produced by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Orchestrated by Mark McKenzie
  • Engineered by Bruce Botnick
  • Edited by Ken Hall

Total Time 35:01/font>

  1. Night Talk (3:06)
  2. Testing (2:09)
  3. Alone (1:05)
  4. Megan's Abduction (3:19)
  5. Megan Overboard (4:51)
  6. Cop Killer (3:51)
  7. The Ransom (7:27)
  8. Profiling (3:46)
  9. Not My Partner (5:02)

Artwork copyright (c) 2001 Paramount Pictures; review copyright (c) 2001 James Southall

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Along Came a Spider

Routine Goldsmith thriller score

Jerry Goldsmith's at the stage in his career when he really doesn't need to work at all. You might expect, therefore, that he would be highly-selective about the movies he scores, like his most obvious contemporaries John Williams and Elmer Bernstein. But as we all know, Goldsmith is not like that in any way - he regularly accepts the most mundane-seeming assignments or, if not mundane, they tend to be downright awful. He established a good rapport with director Lee Tamahori on the fairly mundane thriller The Edge and so decided to work with him again on the even more mundane Along Came a Spider, sequel to Kiss the Girls.

Goldsmith's score essentially follows the pattern of all his thriller scores of the last 25 years (or more) - effective suspense music takes up much of the time, including a truly unsettling electronic "creeping" effect, with the remainder being rhythmic action music based around a single short brass motif. This action music is certainly the most entertaining thing about this album - it's essentially an extension of Goldsmith's work on his previous Morgan Freeman thriller, Chain Reaction. (Interesting, isn't it, that Goldsmith has scored Morgan Freeman's two worst films.)

Many have, predictably, criticised the score for being too - well, predictable. This isn't really fair - Goldsmith has introduced a few new elements: the brass writing is much thinner and tauter than has been the norm for the composer over the last decade or so, and much more closely resembles his scores of the late 1970s; and the romantic material is much more subtle than usual, with for example "Alone" being written for solo piano.

However, the score does have its negative points too: the opening cue, "Night Talk", is an exercise in complete nothingness, and there are really too many extended sections of repeated pizzicato violin passages or ambient suspense music. Compared with Mark Isham's ambitious - if not exactly easy-listening - score for the first movie, Goldsmith's music falls short. It will probably not appeal to a wide audience, but fans of the composer's thriller music like US Marshals should find themselves enjoying it. It's not a bad score or album by any means, but then neither will it find itself very high in many fans' listening priorities in the long term. Compared with Goldsmith's strongest efforts in the genre it pales into virtual insignificance, but then it's still an awful lot better than most recent film scores.

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Rating ***