The grand opportunity of being able to compose something for a Symphony Orchestra to play is an immense and very rare opportunity few musicians have. This is because nobody, except Hollywood, can afford a Symphony Orchestra to record live. Soundtrack lovers, like me and many others, have become incredibly attached to film music because of the exquisite sounds, melodies, textures rhythms and imposing energy a symphony orchestra can deliver to any listener.
However, there are some cases in which the composer doesn't take advantage of the whole potential of a Symphony Orchestra... this is the case with remote-control composers that prefer to use synthezisers above real instrumentation. This album is one of those cases.
If you listen to this you will find that it does have some catchy rhythms and melodies, but they are repetitive and mostly interpreted by synthesizers. Yet, I dare you to listen to these five tracks only once: "X-Training", "Rage and Serenity", "Mutant and Proud", "First Class" and "Cerebro". It's impossible not wanting to listen to them again. The first main melody is heard in "First Class" and the second strong theme is heard in "Magneto" (yet, I'm not very fond of this last one). There is a third, more hidden, melody played on piano that is first heard on "Would You Date Me?" and then on "True Colors" and "To Beast or Not to Beast". However, out of the two main themes emerges a lot of variations; the energetic "X-training" comes from the theme used in "First Class" and "Frankestein's Monster", "Pain and Anger" come from the "Magneto" theme just to name a few.
The music sounds a bit flat at times because of the heavy use of electronics. X-Men First Class does offer, however, some very nice themes and this is a very decent album, despite the heavy role of synthesizers.
The contrast between the whole orchestra playing and a guitar, piano, cello, violin, flute or harp solo is part of the wide emotional palette a symphony orchestra can handle. But if you don't wanna use the whole orchestra, then at least use real instruments. Synthesizers, like visual effects in a movie, can help the final presentation, but they are not meant to tell the story on their own. I loved the piano solo moments, although short, on this album.
At the end this album works as an enjoyable standalone listening experience.