Carter Burwell continues his collaboration with Spike Jonze with the long delayed and much anticipated Where The Wild Things Are. Filming began in 2005 and this film has been delayed for over a year due to complications and re-shoots. The final product is an incredibly astounding and surprisingly adult result.
I remember reading Where The Wild Things Are as a child and I’m sure many others in my generation do as well. The film itself takes the themes of loniness and acceptance and shines them under a more mature light than what we originally remember. Burwell’s score accompanies these emotions with perfection in his trademark simplicity. The main theme “Lost Fur” is merely comprised of a few plucks on a bass and a solo piano while accented by a guitar.
The music does make a transformation once Max enters the world of the Wild Things. Once he gains acceptance and feels needed and understood the music sheds its dreary isolated tone and brings us back into the light. Karen O’s songs work seamlessly with the score as they bring us back to those childhood moments of fantasy and wonder where we own the worlds we’ve created. The film spirals back down to reality really fast as things fall apart and our characters come to realize that worth and happiness are not easy to come by. The emotional conclusion is carried all by Burwell and then ends on an incredibly touching note. This is one hell of a score not just because it’s simple in its emotional effectiveness, but because it can seamlessly work with another artist’s creations for the musical soundscape of the film. This isn’t a kiddy film and Burwell did not deliver a kiddy score.
Burwell’s score is a digital download only on iTunes and Amazon MP3 while Karen O’s songs for the film did get a CD release. I recommend getting both of them for your solo listening experience. It’s definitely worth it.