Underrated Soundtrack: Astro Boy (2009) – John Ottman

There are a few movie soundtracks that I’ve heard that I believe were grossly underrated. Sometimes, as in today’s example, it seems as though nobody really noticed such an impressive piece. The example I have today is the soundtrack from Astro Boy (2009), composed by John Ottman. This soundtrack’s highlight is its amazing sweeping orchestral theme. Everything about it screams heroic, without becoming like the cheesy staccato strings and “epic” brass that has, in my opinion, ruined heroism in hollywood.

Instead, it becomes reminiscent of the scores of films like Superman and Indian Jones, where the classic hero’s theme as hollywood knows it was invented.

Thanks for taking the time to really listen.

 

Setting a Baseline for Art Music

Today’s post is gonna be pretty short. To establish a sort of baseline for art music, one need not look much further than the one and only Johann Sebastian Bach. Here’s a magnificent piece by the master himself.

So what makes this art? Well, the composer was writing about something that really mattered to him. He was an expert in his craft, and it shone through in his music.

Thanks for taking the time to really listen.

Art Music Matters

It really does.

There was a time when music was treated as the special form of artistic expression that it should still be. Back before the days of superstars, producers, and record labels. Music actually meant something in and of itself; something that couldn’t be expressed with mere words, or else we wouldn’t have needed music. But we did, and still do.

The problem today is that music has become another of those things that ‘they’ make and that ‘we’ consume. Like television, movies, video games, and other forms of art (I’m using art in its loosest possible sense), music has become something that simply is the way it is. People learn to adapt and adjust to fit what has been created, rather than the other way around. People will buy the CDs, listen to the songs, and praise an ‘artist’ not for an absolute measure of ability, but a relative one. Is the song good, or is it simply better than others?

Nowadays, the media is more concerned with the so-called news that pertains to already established names in the industry simply because that’s what the people seem to want. No one seems to really care that there are extremely talented musicians out there that make next to nothing yet do what they do because they love to do it, not because they are getting paid/famous. The ratio of skill to $$$ for the average orchestral performer is drastically different from that of a star like Justin Bieber.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that all popular music is bad, and that every starving artist is a diamond in the rough. I’m simply saying that not all popular or famous music is good, and not all good music is famous or popular.

So I, and others like me, say that it’s time music went back to being something we created, performed, and listened to because we love it. Not because someone tells us it’s popular; not because the news can’t shut up about what kind of wacky things Miley Cyrus did at her latest concert, but because art music, for its own sake, really does matter.

In case you can’t tell, I profoundly support the idea that music should go back to the way it was when it was about more than just feeling, and when not every piece of music was about romance or heartbreak. Back when people had a touch of intellectual curiosity that could only be quelled by its investment into someone’s artistic expression. If we don’t start supporting the people who carry the tradition of art music through this time of intellectual and artistic atrophy, we risk losing said tradition entirely.

This blog is here so that I can rant talk about art music, both old and new, famous and unknown, provided it has artistic or intellectual value. Hopefully, there are people out there who might gain something from it. I sincerely hope that not just hearing, but really listening to just a little bit of music that actually means something, really trying to understand it, to gain something from it, every day, might just give your life a little more artistic value.

Hopefully there is someone out there who cares about this as much as I do. If you have an opinion on the subject, or piece of artistic music that fascinates you for any reason, by all means, leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.