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The Iron Lady by Thomas Newman (Review)

posted Jan 10, 2012, 10:45 PM by Kaya Savas

Newman is one of my favorite composers since he was my generation's Newman. I love Lionel, Alfred, Randy, David and now Joey Newman. But I always found myself more emotionally affected by Thomas Newman's scores. He has composed some amazing scores in his career and some of the most recognizable sounds to come from music in films. This past year was a great year for him, but I feel as if The Iron Lady wasn't as stimulating for him as it could have been. The score while full of his signature style feels distant, and I wasn't able to get into it. I loved his score to The Help and found that to be his best work of 2011. While The Iron Lady is good it's nowhere near the greatness we all know he's capable of.

The score feels very muddled and the melodies aren't exactly gripping or grounding. I had a hard time placing my finger on the identity of the score. In fact I feel as if the music has a bit of an identity crisis of its own. Some parts of the album feel vastly different from other parts and the experience came across disjointed for me. The second half of the album is much stronger than the first half, but it also feels like it's from a different score. I do love that "Shall We Dance" from The King And I is included (his father Alfred won an Oscar for that score). While it may seem I'm being harsh to the score don't let it come across that I hated it. I liked it. It has a soft spoken beginning that leads to a heavier second half, and it's done in full Thomas Newman flair. It's just that when I feel no emotional connection to the music it makes it hard for me to get behind it.

I urge any Thomas Newman fans to check the score out, and even general score buffs shouldn't miss it. Just don't expect Road To Perdition and you should enjoy the score just fine. It builds itself nicely even if I feel like it has identity issues. Don't get me wrong though because it is a good score. Enjoy it one time through and if you're a super Newman fan you may revisit it.
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