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Milk – OST

2009-06-09 07:54
Soundtrack (Danny Elfman)
The soundtrack to Sean Penn's Oscar-winning biopic Milk is a little bit of both, putting together a snapshot of the pop songs that took the film version of Harvey Milk to City Hall, as well as the peerless score work of Danny Elfman, that name you always see in the credits of a Tim Burton movie.

So while it’s a bit schizophrenic in nature, the Milk soundtrack feels like it was made for hardcore fans. While Elfman has long been the go-to guy for some of the most exciting movie directors over the last 30 years (he did, of course, pen The Simpsons theme song) there is nothing as iconic about his work on Milk. Each instrumental is tailor-made for the scene which it helpfully describes in its title, but most of them are distinguished by their brevity, and it's not long before you're moving along to the next oddity ("Dog Poo" and "Weepy Donuts", anyone?).

But that all comes towards the end. It opens up with the fabulously hip licks of David Bowie's "Queen Bitch". Since much of the movie takes place during a watershed period for gay rights in the US, this is an inspired choice. So is Sly & Family Stone's "Everyday People" (I am no better, and neither are you/We're all the same, whatever we do), while disco touchstones "Rock the Boat" and "You Make Me Feel" add some fun to mix, because, he may have been an inspiration to a generation, but Harvey Milk was also a fun-loving queen.

Movie soundtracks present quite a tricky challenge. Somehow they have to convey the mood of the movie while still being capable of existing as a stand-alone piece of entertainment. Or they're there just to show off the score composer's work.


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