We’re in the thick of movie awards season and with the 2016 Oscars right around the corner, I’ve decided to review an appropriate score. Justin Hurwitz has had an interesting journey. He started out being college classmates with a guy named Damien Chazelle. The two became friends and decided to team up in their filmmaking efforts: Chazelle directing and Hurwitz scoring. Such is the case for La La Land.
Right from the start, this isn’t perhaps the most original or unique score ever written. Hurwitz primarily uses a glorified jazz band coming from a full orchestra. Yet the score works wonderfully, taking a soft, easygoing and upbeat approach. It harkens back to the sounds of the 1920’s. I find that welcoming in today’s mainstream composing world of “louder=better”. Save for two tracks near the end when he uses a choir and orchestra, the whole score echoes the smooth jazz present from the opening.
There’s whimsical moments throughout the score. Much of it consists of only a few instruments, like piano and a woodwind with strings. While it sounds Disney-esque more often than not I never tired of it. Hurwitz’s main theme is simple and romantic. He does raise the noise with brass here and there but the quiet moments balance it out. As I said earlier, jazz is a major influence on the score. It’s used more than once to great effect.
La La Land has had a successful run and this score tells me why. It’s nothing complex or ground-breaking, just something simple and upbeat that’s easy to listen to.
FINAL RATING: 4.8/5