Don’t Look Up (Soundtrack From The Netflix Film)
Maisie Music Publishing, LLC, under exclusive license to Republic Records, a division of UMG Recording, Inc.
First off, I loved the film – good fun, sharp, cruel, cutting and above-all, disturbingly accurate. But this is a review of the film’s score. Something I can’t say I hugely noticed during the watching of the movie, which arguably means it was doing its job well. I noticed it in two senses, it kept things moving, it drove the film pace-wise. And I spotted the name Nicholas Britell in the credits. So I was keen on a second and third listen away from the film.
Britell’s work on Succession is sublime, so key to the mood-setting of that dark satire. And here he teams with the Succession producer again (he’s also created the scores for McKay films, Vice and The Big Short).
Don’t Look Up though, it feels like his most sophisticated score – the most challenging to create too, the most fulfilling no dobut. There are a lot of plates in the air here, and Britell seems to keep the spinning most effortlessly, moving from swirling electronics and his typical piano-based fare (The Launch) to nearly-chaotic big band jazz (It’s A Strange Glorious World). But every short cue is more than just a simple genre-description, as choral elements move in around within these instrumental pieces. A simple motif on the piano (The BASH Presentation) will be matched with a beautiful violin refrain, banjo and brushed drums will drive the next element (Kate Goes Home) and there’s a tonal jumble within the framework of this film – it’s dark, weird, funny, critical and playfully absurd – so Britell has to capture all of those things. He has to have pomp and ceremony (The BASH Launch) and slight whimsy (On Hold).
He is masterful at every stretch.
I thought most often of Michel Legrand’s alternating lugubrious and joyfully spectacular scores. More recently, I feel Britell’s great contemporary is the wonderful Daniel Hart.
And I thought too of John Williams when at his most playfully jazzy (C-5 Galaxy).
I have loved listening to this as an album in its own right.
Britell is one of the ones to watch in modern film score composing. More importantly, as this proves yet again, he’s absolutely one of the ones to listen to.