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|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|
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
"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.Read more ›
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
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on Dec 2 2003
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 morePublished on July 15 2003 by Master CG the zombie
"Main Titles" is the reason to buy the score. It is short, but the suspenseful theme is great. Read morePublished on June 7 2003
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 morePublished on May 24 2003 by Robert Fernandez
#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
I thought this music was so good it should've been nominated and won the academy award for "Best Original Score. Read morePublished on April 29 2003 by Logan F. Robinson
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 morePublished on April 26 2003 by Woofboy
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 morePublished on April 5 2003 by B.A.S.