Italian Nine or French Thirty-Six

In Academy Awards, awards, Hear this, Lyrics, Melody, Music, Songwriting, You HAVE to on March 3, 2010 at 9:55 am

Movie Poster from Nine (2009)

Over 2000 miles away, Hollywood is the American Film capital.  Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word “Hollywood” is often used as a metonymy  of American cinema.  Just as actors and actresses complete their mecca when they end up at movie studio gates, so to do songwriters flock to the streets of Nashville and attempt to fulfill their life’s purpose when writing music.  With these two cities being so far apart in purpose and location, what joins them?  Music.  “As early as silent films, movies have used music to help tell their story, drawing their audience into their world, hinting of things to come, shaping each character with tempo, pitch, range and melody,” Mark Doty.

Movie poster from Paris 36 (2008)

With the Academy Awards in just a few days, the nominees for Best Original Song are put to the test.  According to John Huntley, “music allows the producer to suggest and express emotions and associations which would have been impossible to achieve by pictorial means alone” (Huntley, 1957).  Just imagine your favorite films without the touching love song or the music that made the car chase scene even more dangerous.  Original songs were written with the story line, setting, and characters in mind.  That being said, the last 2 of the 5 nominees (see song 1, see songs 2/3) for Best Original Song are:

“Loin de Paname,” Paris 36
Music by Reinhardt Wagner
Lyric by Frank Thomas

“Take It All,” Nine
Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

“Loin de Paname,” Paris 36

“Take It All,” Nine

Listening to these songs as a songwriter, with a musically critical yet appreciative ear, can you really judge their excellence outside of the movie they were made to enhance?  Come back tomorrow where all five songs will go head to head and the readers of the Nashville Music Buzz can place their own votes.  It will be interesting to see how our results compare to the actual results this Sunday.
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