November 17, 2005

Various Artists: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Soundtrack

Print More

The promise of a John Williams film score often garners larger-than-life expectations and the sudden deprivation of one usually leaves one with a feeling of uncertainty. Having scored all the Harry Potter films thus far, Williams has been replaced on the Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Soundtrack by Patrick Doyle, whose past efforts have mostly fallen somewhere in between Shakespeare (Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labor Lost) and historical epic (Indochine, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). So Doyle’s got the right background, but does he deliver?

We begin with a grandiose reworking of the Harry Potter theme we all know so well in “The Story Continues.” The creepy innocent tinkling of past movies were indeed reflections of youth as this sweeping opener is vast in its scope and its sound. Like most tracks on the album, the song is on the short side and quickly leads into “Frank Dies,” a perfect example of how soundtrack song listings can often spoil plot points for those who care (this example is later outdone by track 19, titled “Death of Cedric).

Ironically, this sentiment of ominous melancholy resonates throughout the album, which is filled with plain I’m-running-for-my-life type instrumentals and culminates in the form of the whopping nine-minute ode to Voldemort in the form of track 18, “Voldemort.” This definitely isn’t study music.

Not to worry, however, because the album does have its lighter moments. The strings and drums of “Quidditch World Cup” are reminiscent of some good ‘ole British Isles styled fun complete with sporadic grunting for added effect. Meanwhile, the Disney-esque hopefulness of “Foreign Visitors Arrive” bring images of some complex Ice Capades shows to mind and has enough cymbals to justify its doubling as perfect parade music. Also expect some generic graduation-type strong string music to complete that perfect boarding school atmosphere. The Harry Potter brand, however, comes with a bit more power and pomp.

Okay now for the oddly placed rock songs at the album’s end. Played at the Hogwarts Yule Ball by the Weird Sisters, a fictional band composed of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, Steve Claydon from Add N to (X), Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway from Radiohead and Jason Buckle from Relaxed Muscle, the songs were written by Cocker and finished the album with a strange sort of transformation. From the grungy, fast-paced “Do the Hippogriff” to the slow ballad, “Magic Works,” I couldn’t help but wonder, “What am I listening to again?”

Archived article by Tracy Zhang
Arts and Entertainment Editor