Thomas Newmans’ prolific career has seen him write for some of the most successful films of the last twenty years- even if you’ve never heard of him, you’re likely to already know his music. Shunning the John Williams-esque epic theme approach, he instead subtly captures the emotion of each film with a distinct style: synthesised sounds, small ensembles, clustering harmonies, delicate solo passages and rich string accompaniment.
Like many director-composer collaborations in the movie industry, Newman’s enduring creative partnership with director Sam Mendes has brought considerable success. First collaborating together on American Beauty in 1999, an impressive list of hits has followed with Road to Perdition (2002), Jarhead (2005), Revolutionary Road (2008), and most recently, Skyfall (2012). Of these films only American Beauty is featured on the playlist as it is the most iconic and the remainder are made up of various great films including Meet Joe Black, The Shawshank Redemption and Finding Nemo. [For the full Spotify Playlist, scroll to the bottom of the post].
Ten Song Taster
1. Dead Already (from American Beauty)
On his inspiration for his American Beauty (1999) score: “Sam [Mendes] wanted things that hammered and thwacked a bit. He was interested in percussion and mallet instruments, so I started working on various ideas that involved xylophones and marimbas.” (IMDb)
2. Finding Nemo / Nemo Egg (from Finding Nemo)
3. Deviled Eggs (from The Help)
4. The Whistle Stop Cafe (from Fried Green Tomatoes)
5. Little Women (from Little Women)
6. Cold Lamb Sandwich (from Meet Joe Black) Watch the scene here
7. The Letter That Never Came (from Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events)
8. Road To Perdition (from Road To Perdition)
9. The Shawshank Redemption End Titles (from The Shawshank Redemption)
10. That Next Place (from Meet Joe Black)
Spotify Playlist: 20GreatSongs from Thomas Newman (Excluding ‘The Whistle Stop Cafe’: not available on Spotify)
Feel free to post any suggestions for additions to the list below!