When I think of film score composers three names immediately pop into my head, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, and Danny Elfman.  What is it about these three composers that strike me so hard?  It’s the fact that beyond adding great mood and atmosphere to a film their works can be taken away from their respective films and be highly enjoyable on their own.

Danny Elfman is famous for his whimsical and lighthearted scores which at times have a dark and hint of danger feeling to them.  One score that perfectly encompasses his unique style is PeeWee’s Big Adventure.  The album starts off with the track “Oveture(The Bike Race)” which set in the main theme of the rest of the score.  It kicks off with a delightfully whimsical and upbeat melody with the musical theme of the score getting its first claw hooked into your head as well as creating grandiose landscape to flesh out the piece more.

The following track “Breakfast Machine” is able to create the playful and mischievous sound that also feels somewhat dark and these two bits work in contrast with each other creating a piece of music that resembles a child’s fear of happy and harmless clowns.  Besides The Simpsons theme, this is probably Danny Elfman’s most recognizable work.

For the next couple of tracks Danny Elfman explores the main theme of his score in different ways and has it being played across a wide array of instruments including a horn section, a string section, and percussion section while creating sweeping bits of music to fill in the gaps and add more layer and landscape to it.  The track “Simone’s Theme” takes the musical theme that has been running throughout the score and adds in the rhythm of an accordion while it plays out on what I believe to a Hammond electric piano and bells and gives the feeling of meandering down a canal in Venice on a dark and empty night with the only light coming from the reflection of the candle lit lamp posts.

The score for PeeWee’s Big Adventure closes off with “Finale” which takes all the bits created throughout the score and combines them into an eclectic overview of all the music that is experienced on the score preceding it.

On the album containing the score for PeeWee’s Big Adventure there is included the score for the Rodney Dangerfield vehicle Back to School.  With this score he captures Mr. Dangerfield’s comedy in musical form and unlike it’s preceding score it lacks a dark and foreboding sense.  What you get happy and bouncy score that feels very, for lack of a better term, “scholastic” and makes for a nice addition to the album when the first half would have been more than enough.

If you ever happen to come across this album and don’t mind trying something different out I would recommend giving it a listen and if you already do enjoy film scores there is no reason why this shouldn’t be in your collection.  It’s a great piece of work and really showcases Danny Elfman’s ability to create scores that work perfectly for the film that they are made for and showcases his talent for music by the scores he writes being highly listenable outside of their respective films.

On a side note, if anyone reading this has any talent in making heavy metal covers, “Breakfast Machine” is just dying to be reinterpreted into some form of metal.  I already want to just headbang when the dun-dun-dun-d-d-d-d-dun part plays, now imagine that with metal guitars and drums.

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