Incredible Soundtrack #11: American Beauty (Newman, Thomas)

The music attached to a film creates the environment, I believe, moreso than the literal environment depicted through the visuals…

I have always loved the soundtrack to American Beauty. Originally, I had the two well-known tracks “Any Other Name” and “Dead Already” featuring on a soundtracks compilation. But I still wanted more. I then found a soundtrack in a charity shop for a couple-o-quid and realised that only those two tracks from Newmans score featured on this soundtrack – the rest of the tracks consisting of the artists featured – such as The Who and Free. Don’t get me wrong, I like the tracks, but it wasn’t Thomas Newman’s score.

Eventually, I hunted the score itself down and – because you can find the aforementioned tracks very easily, I have have chosen tracks which only feature on the score soundtrack

5. Mental Boy – This track begins with a sinister sound that is unsettling before the piano softly plays a melody that is innocent and sensitive. A great example of the balance Mendes tries to create in the film between innocence and deeply unsettling problems that affect families.

11. Weirdest Home Videos – Whilst we watch the sordid, peeping-tom nature of a character in the film, it is accompanied by the innocence of this track. It changes you feeling about what you are watching and distorts your perception. This is a perfect example as to how the soundtrack truly changes a film completely.

19. Still Dead – Almost a ‘remix’ of Dead Already but with much more percussion. A great example of the almost tribal soundtrack Nedwman creates.

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  1. I didn't know this soundtrack existed until you mentioned it! I was a huge fan of the Soundtrack with the pop music on and just the couple of Thomas Newman pieces on it. I bought this last night, and have already listened to it 4 times. Brilliant. Thank you.

  2. Brilliant! I am always so worried how much attention these posts get. I love analysing the scores and trying to describe how great they are – but i'm never sure how much others are getting out of it. If you like this sooundtrack, look out for my posts which will come in the future about Newmans score for WALL-E and FINDING NEMO

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