Soundtrack Shelf: Edward Scissorhands OST (Danny Elfman, 1990)

int7146_booklet.inddSaw this just sitting there, looking awfully pretty as most of these score expansions do, and I hadn’t played the disc for awhile so I dropped it into the CD deck in the spare room to listen to a few tracks and… it took a longer time than usual to spin and read the disc and after awhile it refused to even play. Hmm, cause for alarm. Checked the disc, it looked fine, and fortunately a little later it played okay on my main player, so all was well (some players just don’t like certain discs, or maybe that old deck is on the way out).

The light was falling outside, damp and dreary, as if more Autumn than Spring, and I had the house to myself (other than Ed, who sitting by the window was more concerned with what was going on out in the darkening night than what I was doing). So I ended up listening to Danny Elfman’s magical score for longer than I had intended to, the music fitting the mood of the fading light outside and the warm glow of the lamp in the corner…

I saw Edward Scissorhands back when it released in 1990 at the cinema, and I really enjoyed it, although I haven’t really watched it many times since- it is likely Tim Burton’s best film, and it certainly boasts Danny Elfman’s best score. I recall, like most people I would imagine, being quite captivated by the score, a huge part of the film’s success. My cousin bought the original OST on CD, and as many of us did back in those days, I did a copy on cassette which would suit me fine. I didn’t buy it on CD until this edition was released by Intrada back in 2015, celebrating the films twenty-fifth anniversary (yes, another film anniversary). Its not massively expanded, as I think the original OST was about 50 minutes and featured the majority (and best) of the score- this disc totals 71 minutes, including the trailer music, an alternate and some Christmas source music and, er, that Tom Jones song. For once though, thanks to my cousin buying that 1990 edition, this was my first purchase rather than the dreaded double-dip upgrade that so many of these score expansions have been of late (it’s now OOP unfortunately, but I don’t know what the limited run was). I noticed that it was produced by the late Nick Redman, another sober reminder of how much fine work he did over the years.

Its a funny thing though, that I bought this disc when it first came out and have seldom listened to it over the three years since, even though the music is very beautiful and it remains one of the most distinctive film scores ever released- its music often features on tv commercials and you can tell when films have been temp-tracked with it, as Edward-like moments frequently turn up scores in a ‘I know what you’re doing there’ kind of way.

I really enjoyed just sitting back and listening to it. Years ago in my youth I used to sit back on my bed and listen to scores intently- maybe I simply had more time back then, maybe there’s just too many distractions now. Too often these days my soundtrack and general music listening is in the background or during my commute to/from work- perfectly fine but its not actually old-style ‘proper’ listening. I found the Edward Scissorhands score quite relaxing, and quirky and fun in that particularly Danny Elfman way.

So it occurs to me I really should dust off a few more CDs on my soundtrack shelf that I somehow fail to play much (instead of just looking at them all the time, thinking, ‘yeah, I really should play that again’ but seldom getting around to it).  So we’ll see; this then is the inaugural post of my ‘Soundtrack Shelf’ series, where I’ll make a point of listening to those scores and writing about them here- we’ll just see how successful I am in listening to them. But I think it’s rather fitting that the first one is Edward Scissorhands.

(I own only two Danny Elfman scores- the first being the original OST CD of his Batman soundtrack. Unfortunately, as thirty years of buying discs is wont to cause, I have no idea where that Batman disc is, and I never bought the expanded edition released by La La Land Records (twice), so unless something fairly miraculous occurs and it somehow arises from whatever dark corner/box it is in, this will be the only Danny Elfman score in this series.) 




5 thoughts on “Soundtrack Shelf: Edward Scissorhands OST (Danny Elfman, 1990)

  1. I don’t know why, but I find something… comforting in Danny Elfman’s style of music. That’s not the right word exactly, considering how many darkly quirky films it accompanies, but when I rewatched Beetlejuice recently, as soon as his familiar work began to play over the opening credits I felt, “Oh yes, good good.” It’s probably just because I saw a bunch of Tim Burton movies in my childhood, but whatever.

    Though this reminds me I haven’t seen Edward Scissorhands in a very long time. Better get round to watching the Blu-ray I’ve never played before they release it on 4K and I feel compelled to upgrade…

    1. I feel rather the same way anytime I watch a James Bond movie with a John Barry score. Its like a little capsule of goodness/perfection. Its one of the things that modern films, and how scores function in them, tend to suffer from now- a lack of real individual identity. Its telling that I couldn’t really comment on any of Danny Elfman’s scores of the last decade or so – I’m sure he’s still writing some good scores, but I’m also certain they are fairly uniform and ‘ordinary’ compared to the almost cheeky tone of his earlier triumphs, particularly those for Burton films. His score for the 1989 Batman is still better than any of the scores for the Batman films that followed.

      1. Oh yes, and John Williams too, obviously. All their music sounds like “them” (which is not to say it’s samey, just distinctive), which I’m not sure is as true of many or any newer composers.

      2. Absolutely. Williams, Barry, Horner, Herrmann, Goldsmith, all great composers with individual ‘sound’. Not at all like the composers working in film today- there are exceptions, but most of it is bland and generic. Its creeping into being ‘sound design’ more than music, sometimes. Imagine how great the Marvel films might be if they had huge individual scores like Superman: The Movie etc. that we could away from whistling tunes like in the old days with the Raiders March etc. Thats the real tragedy, where even the good films might have been great with a different musical approach.

  2. Pingback: Soundtrack Shelf: Cherry 2000/The House of God (Basil Poledouris, 1987/1984) – the ghost of 82

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