Where do Hollywood directors turn for music when they’ve got a big-budget comedy that falls into somewhat of an absurdist category? The same place Mike Judge turned when he made Idiocracy, or Todd Philips during Old School, or Ben Stiller for Tropic Thunder – to comedy music mastermind Theodore Shapiro. To be fair, Shapiro has scored a few non-nonsensical comedies as well – Marley & Me, The Devil Wears Prada, and even the drama The Girl in the Park, but for all intents and purposes, Shapiro’s niche is clearly in the over-the-top comedy genre. This is a genre that allow shim to crank out 21 second-long tracks of modern-day thriller music like “Hut Burner” right alongside equally anachronistic hip-hop beats like the ones found in “Flight From the Village.” If the recording studio is a playground, then Shapiro seems to be having more fun than any other kid in school right now.

And this is good news for the listener, as Shapiro doesn’t allow his music to get stale, letting the cliffhanger ending of the suspenseful track “Looking for Abel” bleed right into the hipster chill beats of “Meet the Hebrews” – another track that clocks in under a minute. The only similarity in tone that can be found in this album is the general sense of being somewhere vaguely Middle Eastern – most likely a Middle Eastern dance club that occasionally experiences a driving sense of danger (as in “Abraham and Isaac” or “Sargon Attacks”) or a group drum session complete with random chanting (as in “The Jackal Dance”). Though the only hint in the liner notes to this Middle Eastern influence is the listing of A.J. Racy as being responsible for “middle-eastern instruments” it’s clear that this is the tone that’s being attempted – and for the most part it’s successful, though obviously not in the same sense as, say, Alberto Iglesias’s score for The Kite Runner – no, Shapiro is painting with a much wider brush here – most likely one made from Jack Black’s matted hair.

Director Harold Ramis knows his comedy and he also knows his comedy music – Shapiro knows how to set up comedy music on an epic scale, allowing his listeners to laugh along with the film while “almost” taking the music seriously. This is a strong score, though in the end it may be a bit too powerful for its own good. The simpler tracks (such as “Holy of Holies”) provide the best musical enjoyment, while the “bigger” tracks start to feel a bit over-the-top – even for a nonsensical comedy about hunter-gatherers.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Playing for an ADHD child who loves adventure movies
Stay Away if: You’re looking for any kind of relatable and consistent theme

To purchase the soundtrack to Year One, visit Amazon

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