Harry Gregson-Williams – Veronica Guerin *Review In English*

“The songs and the score here truly suit the film concept and the album represents one of Harry Gregson-Williams’ best works so far.”

Soundtrack Label: Hollywood Records

Firstly, I have to admit that I have not seen the whole film yet, only some available clips on Youtube. However, as the film title tells the truth, this is a biographical film of a female Irish journalist called Veronica Guerin whose brave act brought an investigation about the drug trade in Dublin to the surface of the news. Sadly, it also led to her murder in 1996. Nonetheless, the aftermath of her death resulted in a large number of arrests and convictions of drugs and arms barons in the state. The film is directed by Joel Schumacher and the music is composed his future favorite composer Harry Gregson-Williams.

At that time, after being recognized as Hans Zimmer’s fellow who is able to make his own stand of electronic and orchestral music for a big while, Williams challenged himself by taking another film project which required not-so-loud music and that meant he had to downscale a little bit. This score still has the orchestra and electronic for sure but it depends mainly on violins (including electronic violin), guitar and ambient music. The Celtic instruments are also used to reflect the place where the film takes place. Besides, what so special is that Williams has also composed two main songs based on his thematic materials and one of them is vocal by a famous Irish singer and songwriter, Sinead O’Connor. According to what I have just told you, while another recently Schumacher-Williams collaboration called PHONE BOOTH is such a doom in his minimalized electronic work, VERONICA GUERIN has many special offers to give it a real shot.

The album impressively starts with the introduction of the primary theme through One More Day, the first main song sung by Sinead O’Connor which is, by far, the most touching and meaningful song I have ever heard.  This song is also reprised with piano and violin solo in Never Show Your Fear which led to a breathtaking closure of the album in The Funeral.

Back to the score, the secondary theme is then introduced in Dublin 1996 where the violins and ambient music bring the haunting but also beautiful atmosphere at the same time.

As you may get the idea of these two main themes now, the second song, Bad News, plays much of impressive role from them. It starts from the boy singing, sung by Brian O’Donnell, with his fresh innocence voice to be later achieved by the orchestra in the first half and the reprise of the themes together in the second half. Due to the CD’s booklet, Williams has told us himself that he was inspired by a street boy singing in Dublin and I think it accompanies the score and the first song very well on the album. (Probably the way it is heard in the film too)

OK, two hi-light songs have been recommended . Now let’s look at the genuine hi-light of score which is track 5, The Killing. The violin, strings, percussion and dark ambient music performing the theme really make ¾ of this track to one of the best thing I have ever heard from Williams’ composition. All I can say is that this track is a must-hear one and I hope you can feel its moving power as I am. Even though I have never seen the entire film led to the particular scene, this track powerfully stuns me every time the crescendo reaches its peak.

Next, this album also has some chill-out track to enjoy. Driving and Research are very enjoyable Celtic plus electronic tracks. Though these tracks are pretty short, the motifs here are simply lively and really fun to listen to. Conversations is also a fine piece of those music term not to be missed as well.

The last thing to talk about is the usual Williams’ electronic tracks. These tracks stay just mediocre or a bit better but, fortunately, they don’t ruin the album’s impression that much. The effect of these tracks mostly deal with eerie and threatening mood and some of them are better performed by the thematic and Irish-flavored stuffs such as Traynor Lies and Second Warning.

For what happens here is another example of how subtlety can bring strong emotion, but with Williams’ electronic signature to prove his ability composing a serious but also flowing minimalized score (with some other flavors) for a serious drama. In final result, the songs and the score here truly suit the film concept and the album represents one of Harry Gregson-Williams’ best works so far.

Tracklist

01. One More Day (*****)
Performed By Sinead O’Connor

02. Dublin 1996 (*****)

03. Driving (*****)

04. Preparations (**)

05. The Killing (*****)

06. Research (*****)

07. Traynor Lies (****)

08. The Beating (****)

09. Conversations (*****)

10. First Warning (***)

11. Bad News (*****)
Performed By Brian O’Donnell

12. Second Warning (****)

13. Deceit (****)

14. Never Show Your Fear (*****)

15. The Funeral (*****)
Performed By Sinead O’Connor

Final Score: 9

Buy It @Boomerang


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