Now for something a little different- I haven’t reviewed any film scores yet. I recently acquired the score for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom on 10-inch vinyl and I thought it was worth a review.
THE RECORD: Moonrise Kingdom Original Score– Alexandre Desplat/Mark Mothersbaugh 2012 Abkco Records
Let it be clear that I love Wes Anderson movies. The only one I surprisingly haven’t seen is Rushmore. Everything else I’ve seen at least once and enjoyed. Moonrise Kingdom, which recently came out on DVD, was no different. One thing I really like best about Anderson’s films, other than Bill Murray, is the music. It makes these films stand out so much more, and makes them incredibly memorable. He frequently employs the help of composer Alexandre Desplat to musically accompany and portray what is happening on camera. Mark Mothersbaugh is often involved, who I think has a brilliant and colorful resume, with everything from his work with Devo to his projects for children with Nickelodeon and Yo Gabba Gabba! and all the other films and albums in between.
The back of this record has a little note from Wes Anderson that starts off, “Sometimes the music comes first”. As a music major in college, I spent a good part of 4 years studying music theory, analysis, and history. While much of it I probably can’t immediately remember now, some of the composers that I loved best remain in my mind. One of them was twentieth-century British composer Benjamin Britten. I especially thought it was interesting that he wrote music for children and amateur musicians, which is shown in Moonrise Kingdom. The main characters listen to Britten’s composition The Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra on their children’s record player often throughout the length of the film. In Anderson’s note, he explains that he was inspired by Britten’s Noah’s ark-themed opera Noye’s Fludde when writing Moonrise Kingdom.
The score itself is called “The Heroic Weather-Conditions of the Universe”, which is follows a theme in 7 parts. Each part employs different instruments to reflect the weather of the landscape being explored. It follows the two lovers on their escape by foot. It begins with Part 1, “A Veiled Mist” lead by soft wind instruments, harps, and light percussion, and slowly builds with each part, adding in guitars, horns, and a larger string section. The sequencing of the record itself is broken up with the rhythms of Mark Mothersbaugh and Peter Jarvis’ drum corps “Camp Ivanhoe Cadence Medley”, which ends the first side.
Side two begins with Parts 4-6 as one track (“Thunder, Lightning, and Rain”) and adds in a male chorus and more thunderous percussion. The last track takes Desplat’s composition and puts a Benjamin Britten-spin on it, with narration leading each instrument as it comes into the composition, similar to the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. I feel like this last track really brings the record together, and really shows where Anderson’s inspiration came from.
THE BREW: Yuengling Traditional Lager- DG Yuengling and Sons Brewing, Pottsville, PA
The oldest brewing company in America. Yuengling’s flagship lager is light, crisp, and fairly inexpensive. For someone growing up in Connecticut, I’ve always considered Yuengling a treat to indulge in anytime I’ve spent hanging out in New York or Philly (similar to eating at Whitecastle, but with more damage to my liver than my arteries). So for some, Yuengling may seem not seem like anything special than the beer they drink on a regular basis. But it’s popular for a reason. It’s a bit darker than other commercially produced lagers out there (technically considered a red/amber lager I guess) but still incredibly drinkable. and it’s low-ABV allows for that. It’s not a beer I’m going to be snobby about. It’s just simple and delicious, and sometimes that is all you need.
THE PAIRING: I paired this record with Yuengling’s light, easy-drinking lager. I could have gone for a heavier ale with lots of different flavors to pair with all the different instruments. However, I thought this light lager paired better with the the film itself and the music that inspired it. Way back in history, people drank light lagers because they couldn’t drink anything else safely. It was downright healthier to drink beer! Lately, I have been seeing light beers are often found at sporting events because they are refreshing after a day of being active. I thought of the exploring couple in Moonrise Kingdom, and what they would drink after a long day of hiking and adventures. The movie also has a lot of coming-of-age aspects to it. Yuengling was one of the first beers I ever had, and I’m sure many other people can say that too. If you live in a state where Yuengling is sold, it’s easy to find, and it is a generally good-tasting, light beer. I’ll drink it anytime, but I especially love it after a long day of working or playing outside.