Definitely, MaybeIt’s not unusual that a good film with a few memorable scenes will stick in my head and inspire me to go out and pick up the score (or the soundtrack, if it’s especially decent), but it’s rare that listening to a score leads me to want to see the film. In fact, I don’t know that it’s happened before. Perhaps it just seems so unusual because I had no intention of seeing a film directed by rom-com penner Adam Brooks and starring the vacuous Ryan Reynolds. But Clint Mansell’s unique and unpredictable score is enough to intrigue even the most suspicious-minded moviegoer. Maybe it’s not just the same romantic comedy we’ve been seeing for decades… or maybe it is, I have no idea, I’m just here to review the score.

From 1986 to 1996, Clint Mansell performed as part of the band Pop Will Eat Itself. Following the band’s break-up, he landed his first scoring gig for Darren Aronofsky’s film Pi. He went on to score Aronofsky’s next two films (Requium for a Dream and The Fountain), earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score for his work on The Fountain. But besides these high-profile art projects, he’s also done a little bit of what could be called “paying-the-rent” work, scoring Sahara, Suspect Zero and Doom. And while definitely, maybe might also fall into the same category, it doesn’t feel like a score that’s just been phoned in. In fact, it feels like a score that’s gone above and beyond the movie it’s laying the backdrop for, but again, that’s just conjecture.

There’s a melancholy sort of upbeat vibe coursing through the tracks here and Mansell is sure to provide enough energy to keep the album moving, but without detracting from the overall sense of comfy dejectedness. The keyboard really sets the stage on most of the tracks, and it’s no wonder considering that Mansell was the keyboardist/guitarist for Pop Will Eat Itself – this multiple instrumentation is most illuminated in the guitar/keyboard battle during “Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man,” though it’s still the bass that stands out most in the track.

The tracks are variable in length, with the haphazard “Panic Stations…” and the decidedly blandest track on the album “Sunday, Sunday” coming in around 40 seconds each, and the longer guitar-riff and bass-filled track “The Candidate” clocking in over four minutes long. More than any other, this full-length track is able to capture Mansell’s ability to creat a fully-formed entity out of a piece of music.  And this track would almost fit in a spy thriller or a similar genre. There’s as much sneaky look-over-your-shoulder intrigue in this track as there is sappy tear-jerker schmaltz in the tear-jerkingly titled “The Happy Ending is You.” But, beside this brief - and I’m assuming necessary - lapse, Mansell never let’s himself fall too far into the realm of overt sentimentality. Definitely, Maybe might not be the movie every cinema fan should rush out and see, but every score fan should check out Clint Mansell’s work here.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Anyone looking for a score that sounds like an album of real songs with the lyrics removed
Stay Away if: You’re looking for a conventional rom-com score, with the standard lovey-dovey motifs
Buy this on Itunes: “The Candidate”

To purchase the score from Definitely, Maybe, visit Amazon

Be Sociable, Share!