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Signs [Import]

James Newton Howard Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Product Details

1. Main Titles
2. First Crop Circles
3. Roof Intruder
4. Brazilian Video
5. In The Cornfield
6. Baby Monitor
7. Recruiting Office
8. Throwing A Stone
9. Boarding Up The House
10. Into The Basement
11. Asthma Attack
12. The Hand Of Fate - Part I
13. The Hand Of Fate - Part II

Product Description


For decades strange, intricate symbols have appeared pressed into farm fields across the globe. Enormous, puzzling messages from an extraterrestrial civilization--or an incredibly elaborate hoax staged by... whom? Those are the questions that drive M. Night Shyamalan's narrative, but as in the director's other thrillers (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), the answers aren't always where you expect them. As he's done for Shyamalan's previous films, composer James Newton Howard creates a musical undercurrent of mystery and unease, with nervous arpeggios and sullen, swelling strings ratcheting up throughout the score's unsettling first half. The film is dotted with apparent visual homages to past sci-fi films, and moments of Howard's orchestral score have occasional parallels with the more action-oriented passages of John Williams's landmark Close Encounters score. But there's more than brooding atmospherics, tension-building, and the occasional booming crescendo here. A sense of gentle spirituality gradually evolves as well (largely via the composer's sensitive use of minimalist techniques), with Howard's music ultimately achieving a quiet, satisfying sense of resolve that's missing from all too much of Hollywood's hollow dramatic thunder. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Signs - Brilliant score by JNH Dec 20 2003
Format:Audio CD
James Newton Howard's score for Signs has topped my collection. The sounds are simple and classic, yet very stimulating and adrenaline-pumping--akin to the famous strings in Psycho. The depth of the music is in its layers of instruments. The music complements the movie (the DVD of which I own) so well, reviving that Hitchcockian-style thriller I enjoy so much. In addition, I think the music captures so well the emotional plot within the story. I typically listen to movie music while driving. On many occasions, I drive with my two young sons to and from school. I watched Signs with them (editing out certain parts). Afterwards, we listened to the music in the car. The three sudden, loud, and scary parts (end of Brazilian Footage [Track 4], beginning of Asthma attack [Track 11] and Hand of Fate [Track 12]) made us all jump. And at every listen, at the climactic part, my younger son says "Swing away Merrill. Merrill, swing away." and then yells "WATER!" (sorry if you haven't seen the movie yet). You can't get a better response from a 3-yr-old. The music tells the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect within the film, less so by itself Oct. 30 2003
Format:Audio CD
I'll play the contrarian: I really enjoyed the film. The higher meanings and the semi-surprise ending worked for me. It's a spiritualized Twilght Zone episode.
James Newton Howard is so attentive to the plot and underlying emotions of each scene that the music becomes indispensable. Other reviews have rightly mentioned the Bernard Herrmann minimalism. The three-note motif is a similar tactic to the five-note signature of "Close Encounters." Howard's intent with the opening theme was to create what he called "[...]a context of expectations." The music telegraphs that at SOME point, something big is going to happen to go along with it.
Normally, the music will change to mark a shift in location (city, country, planet). Since nearly all of this movie occurs within 20 acres, the repetition and thematic simplicity reinforce the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film. Still, this presents exactly the same problem as with John Williams' score for "Minority Report." Parts of the score become TOO sedate when removed from the film.
The furthest Mel Gibson's character gets from the confines of the farm is in flashback dreams of his wife. In turn, that memory keeps him cooped up under his roof, trying to hide from God. Howard uses warm strings to signify the issue of faith gently working its way back into the Hess household. Changing which instrument does the three-note trickle greatly varies its mood and effect.
The subdued nature of the score also gives the crescendos more punch ("Into The Basement," "Asthma Attack," and "The Hand of Fate - Part I") There's a thread of heartland Americana in the gentler parts of the score, particularly in "The Hand of Fate - Part II."
The music and the film are a great partnership. On its own, the soundtrack is worth getting for the energy of the first track, and of the last three.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A modern take on classic suspense themes July 31 2003
Format:Audio CD
I've really enjoyed James Newton Howard's work on the films of M. Night Shyamalan. "Unbreakable" was really a standout score for Howard, so I had high hopes for his music for "Signs." Though Howard takes a completely different approach to his music for "Signs," I was not disappointed in the least.
"Signs" is a movie that hearkens back to some classic suspense films, such as Hitchcock's "The Birds," which Shyamalan mentions specifically as part of his inspiration for "Signs." It's a film which borrows heavily from some of the best suspense films ever made, but puts it in a modern context and peoples it with vibrant characters. With this in mind, it should not be at all surprising that Howard took a similar approach for his music for the film.
The opening theme of "Signs" is strongly reminiscent of some classic suspense themes, particularly those of Bernard Herrmann. When I first heard it, it put me in mind of those old thrillers of Hitchcock's, which sets the stage perfectly for the film. The same sort of adapted classic thriller theme is used at several points through the film, most noticably in the final scenes (on the CD, in "The Hand of Fate").
Throughout his score for "Signs," Howard repeats and builds upon a three-note motif that changes its nature depending on the scene. The same basic three notes are used to express the suspense of "Roof Intruder," the mystery and wonder of "Baby Monitor," the restrained tension and release of "Asthma Attack," and the triumphant conclusion of "The Hand of Fate." The three-note motif is, in fact, present through a great deal of the score, though sometimes more clearly than others.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Signposts Say Avoid The Film; Buy The Soundtrack March 26 2003
Format:Audio CD
While I made no secret of my disappointment over director M. Knight's recent film Signs, I thought that composer James Newton Howard, did a good job with the score. I would even go so far as to say that the music for the film was its best component. Howard took a cue from Bernard Herrmann's music for several Hitchcock movies for Signs. In other words, both composers decided that "less is more" often does the trick and creates great film music.
The "Main Title" for example is a very simple composition. The use of piano getting louder and louder creates an effective and haunting memory that has stayed with me long after the rest of Signs has slowly faded from my conscience The rest of the music of the score is an emotional hodgepodge. There's tension, saddness, excitement and a touch of romance. Too bad that music as good as this found its way into such a bad film. Fortunately, the CD soundtrack allows me to enjoy the best part of the film, without having to sit through the film again
The 13 track CD has a running time of 45:34 and is recommended to be a part of anyone's film music collection
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!
Listen. Just a soft single note. Suddenly WHAM! A shrill three note motif. One that literally sends chills down your spine. Listen to this in broad daylight. Chills. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars signed off
I usually love James Newton Howards scores but this one seems to have something seriously missing. His previous work for M Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) was... Read more
Published on July 15 2003 by Christopher Girvan
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
"Main Titles" is the reason to buy the score. It is short, but the suspenseful theme is great. Read more
Published on June 7 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the movie's atmosphere...
The Signs soundtrack is great; It was one of the best parts of the movie(in my opinion). The creepy three-note motif is present in practically every track here, and was a brilliant... Read more
Published on May 24 2003 by Robert Fernandez
5.0 out of 5 stars SCARY but good
#1 is very cool and scary 5/5
and all of the other ones are about 4/5 it's a great cd i recomend this cd
Published on May 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Signs
I thought this music was so good it should've been nominated and won the academy award for "Best Original Score. Read more
Published on April 29 2003 by Logan F. Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Soundtrack, but gets boring...
Signs was a great movie, and it's soundtrack was good too. The first song had to be the best, repeating the same simple notes over and over again. Read more
Published on April 26 2003 by Woofboy
5.0 out of 5 stars Jim Howard
James Howard has done it again. "Signs" is a beautiful score, just like some of his other work. I think that "The Sixth Sense" was a wonderful score. Read more
Published on April 5 2003 by B.A.S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Soundtrack of the Year
Although James Newton Howard's early soundtracks have their charms, Howard really came into his own in his collaborations with M. Read more
Published on March 20 2003 by Jen
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