I’m often drawn to the understated elegant soundtracks. They don’t sound grandiose; they don’t sound imperial or adventurous or over-the-top. The smallest nuances in how the individual tracks are composed, the development in the pieces that grow along with the characters and plot… These are the soundtracks I hunger for.
Recently, I found myself checking out the nominees for best original soundtrack for the Golden Globes. Of course, “La La Land” was the winner of the award with its whimsical, jazzy soundtrack. It’s something fun and different and puts people in a good mood when they listen to it. It’s a phenomenal soundtrack and for cooking or hanging around the house, it’s a joy to listen to. But for writing…I look for the darker more serious soundtracks. This is why I was immediately enamored by Nicholas Britell’s score for the Golden Globe best drama motion picture winner, “Moonlight”.
“Moonlight” follows the story of Chiron, a young boy growing up in Liberty City, Miami, FL. The film is divided into three different time periods, the first of Chiron as a child, the next of him in his late teens, and finally into his adulthood. Chronicled are his friendships to the neighborhood crack dealer and his girlfriend, his budding relationship with another boy, Kevin, and the emotionally-abusive trials his mother puts him through. The story is quite tender in places; hard to watch in others. The music blends with each good and awful thing that befalls Chiron: low chords on the piano, quick short violin strokes that occasionally morph into flourishes of rippling song, and ominous, simple and delicate melodies.
This is an intimate portrait of the evolution of one boy’s journey to adulthood. The music syncs with this character evolution in such a beautiful and sensitive way. Britell has described his score as an attempt at “poetry” through music, and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I can tell “Moonlight” will be a soundtrack that I’ll continue to listen to as I write. Thank you, Mr. Britell, for composing such a fantastic soundtrack.
Track picks: Little’s Theme, The Middle of the World, The Spot, Chiron’s Theme, Don’t Look At Me, Black’s Theme, Who Is You?
Until next time,