There is always some confusion about how to appreciate a film score. Should a film score be strongly thematic, high on melody and easily listenable even out of the film? Or is it just enough if it is ambient, a yawn to listen to it as standalone music and shirt-sits perfectly on the visual arm-sleeves of the film? A film score’s primary aim is to functionally work within a film but most often that doesn’t seem to make a film score get its due. The fact is that the criteria differs from one film and score to another.
‘Couples Retreat’ score was unanimously rejected by people in India or elsewhere, not because of quality of music but because Rahman chose to do music for a typical Hollywood rom-com after Oscars and Globes. As for me, I am really happy that Rahman did this score. It still is a very melodic and enjoyable musical ride I take on at least once in a week. Though I haven’t seen the film I like what I hear. In this case, I don’t really care much about how extensively, how loudly or how well it is used in the film. It gave Rahman to write some full length orchestral music pieces and instrumental tracks which we hardly get to listen to in his Indian film soundtracks.
On a more psychological level, the opinions depend on whether one wants to like the score or not. In this case, there are hundred reasons one can list down for not liking the music and of course most of them would be about everything else but the actual music. Will we ever judge music just by it? If one doesn’t like a particular score, does that make the score bad? Or if one likes the score does that make the score great? A score is just what it is.
Filmtracks.com lists Rahman’s Couples Retreat score in third spot next only to James Horner’s ‘Avatar’ in its “Top Scores of the Year 2009” list. ‘Jason and Cynthia Suite’ and ‘Animal Spirits’ are mentioned in the best film cues list. These sensibilities of people behind such Hollywood film score websites are more inclined towards music content than the music’s visual connect.
Here is a high praise ‘Couples Retreat’ soundtrack review by an American.
In Soundtracks.com podcast, a film score critic says that ‘Couples Retreat’ score deserved an Oscar nomination more than ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ did.
And this is the first post on http://www.backgroundscore.com