Behind the making of a great soundtrack

Even if you’ve never heard Labrinthrating work outside of “Euphoria” or seen Disney’s Encanto, chances are you know two things: how Labrinth’s vocals can punch through a track to freeze an audience and not talk about Bruno. That’s the power of a great soundtrack – it has the potential to transcend artist and their host format while simultaneously supporting both.

Not all soundtracks have scores written by GRAMMY-nominated artists or spend eight weeks atop Billboard’s 200 chart (like the Encanto soundtrack a), but the greats follow a similar path of storytelling, collaboration, and transcendent impact.

A great soundtrack tells a story

Many people consider music in Encanto, with its irresistible catchiness and universal charm, to be the epitome of a great soundtrack. But there’s also a large subset of people who would prefer a quirkier set of songs, like those by Scott Pilgrim vs. the world. Yet a good soundtrack isn’t determined by its replay value or musical distinction – it’s determined by the joint effort of music and visual media history.

“Music can just bring a scene to a specific place,” Karsten Runquist, writer/director and critic of over 1,500 movies on Letter box, noted. “‘Euphoria’ is a really good example right now. It’s just littered with music, and it really sets the mood of the show. Different characters have different songs. Every character on the show kind of has their own playlist – it’s another way of adding depth.”

In Season 2, Episode 3 of “Euphoria,” the 1987 INXS song “Never Tear Us Apart” plays while Cal Jacobs—an abusive and adulterous main character on the show—dances with his high school lover. in a flashback scene. The song’s romantic yet ominous lyrics “they could never tear us apart” add dramatic irony and help viewers understand in a complex way what might otherwise come across as a strictly deplorable character.

According to “Euphoria” music supervisor Jen Malone, the new wave track was so integral to Jacobs’ backstory that the show’s creator wrote it into the script himself. “We have no parameters on genres or time period… We wanted to stay in our world and use music as an interesting storytelling device [and a] very important character on the show,” Malone said. The ring.

In many cases, the role of music can even exceed that of a central character. movies like pulp Fiction, SuperFly, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderversese, Tree and countless others use music to weave plots and define characters. Sometimes the music in these movies becomes just as memorable, if not more so, than the action or dialogue. For example, Miles Morales loses track of time while humming “Sunflower” in Into the SpiderVerse emphasizes how young the character is as well as any visual.

A good soundtrack is collaborative

The development of a soundtrack generally comes down to three major elements: the narrative base of the medium, the musical tastes of the people involved and the relationship between the director, the musical supervisor and the artist.

Features of “Grand Theft Auto V” (GTA V) Franck Ocean as the host of an always-on in-game radio station and includes Dr.Dre as a key character in the game’s downloadable content, “The Contract”. Such superstar additions would likely be impossible if Rockstar Games hadn’t spent decades pushing for quality music in its “GTA” series.

“We’ve built one of the biggest platforms for music in the world,” said Ivan Pavlovich, music director for Rockstar Games. Los Angeles Times in 2018. “We fight for that in every game, and artists can see that. We could have gone any direction, but we make choices based on the music we like.”

The importance of/the tendency to create soundtrack choices based on personally loved music is a sentiment that Malone echoed.

“[‘Euphoria’] is almost like a mixtape that we give to our audience. The same way everyone shares music, you know a friend will say, “Oh my god, that song is so awesome, you gotta listen to it,” and then it goes into your personal playlist, is not it ? In a way, it’s like we’re sharing Sam’s mixtape with the public,” she explained to News Feed.

Malone estimates that the average “Euphoria” episode can have up to 37 tracks over an hour’s runtime, while GTA V has over 400 songs and 16 radio stations. For stories like those told in “Euphoria” and GTA V, attempting to create a soundtrack that matches the graphic nature of their storylines can lead to a series of dead-end phone calls, awkward conversations, and denials, leaving more room for the original scores to fill.

“[Creating an original score] is a mix of me and the director talking… and throwing the breeze to ‘Oh, I love this music, or I love this soundtrack,’” says Labrinth, who composed the score for Malcolm and Mary and co-produced The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack. “For me, a big part of the process is walking away, looking at pictures or hearing what someone is saying to me. And then I throw it all away. And I go, ‘Based on my gut, that should go in this area or in this scene?’”

A good soundtrack is magic

A good soundtrack has the power to create new acts and bring past successes to life. According to Spotify, streams of “Uhuh Yeah” by Colbie and GLAM increased by 2,700% and Sinead O’Connor1987’s “Drink Before the War” track rose 26,900% after appearing in “Euphoria” Season 2.

As insane as some of these streaming boosts may be, soundtrack placements have even more power than skyrocketing listenership – they can go so far as to free an artist from the creative expectations they place on his personal projects.

“When I was making music for myself, I would think about it too much, or question things, and it was a little more valuable… It was more dangerous for me and [that there was] a lot more to lose,” says Labrinth. There is, however, less pressure when creating an original score, “because I’m trying…to elevate something they’re creating, so I feel like it’s an effort of collaboration. And so it kind of relieves you of the need to do something perfect. »

Let the soundtrack become a record like Encanto or serves as a timeless collection of music as Kendrick Lamarit’s Black Panther album, a great soundtrack maintains the impact of visual media while transcending its original and complementary role.

“When you associate great songs with a great show, and then when you listen to those songs, part of the show is still in your psyche. You remember the show and you can relate to it. It speaks to your life,” says Uziel Colon , Sr. Project Manager of the Latin & Music For Visual Media category at The Recording Academy. “Once you’ve married great songs, great lyrics, great shows and stages… It’s magic.”

We are probably on an irreversible trajectory towards the metaverse. What role will music play in it?

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