Independence Day: The Complete Score

Independence Day: The Complete ScoreThe soundtrack from Independence Day – or at least some of it – has already seen the light of day in a soundtrack release concurrent with the movie’s 1996 release, but by overwhelming demand, La-La Land Records has revisited this blockbuster’s music, with every note of the final score spread across two discs and the obligatory copious liner notes. The original big-screen version of Stargate may have given Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin and frequent musical collaborator David Arnold their first taste of the big time, but ID4 all but made them household names. Arnold has gone on to find success and steady work, most recently in the James Bond films (where he’s proven to be one of the few major behind-the-scenes figures to survive the transition from the Pierce Brosnan era to the Daniel Craig era), so there’s gotta be something to all the hype.

If ID4 was the audition for a stellar career, Arnold passed with flying colors. The music from ID4 is epic, with a capital EPIC: nothing is downplayed, and to be honest, very little is played with subtlety. But even the interviews with the filmmakers in the booklet confirm what I’ve always felt about ID4: it’s a big and largely un-intellectual popcorn movie which delights in blowing stuff up real big and dishing out crowd-pleasing one-liners, both visual and verbal. (C’mon, there is something humorously satisfying about Will Smith beating the crap out of a crashed alien pilot in hand-to-tentacle combat.) ID4 isn’t a movie that demanded subtlety from its musical score. Arnold knew exactly what kind of movie he was working on, and delivered music worthy of a blockbuster, loaded down with instantly identifiable leitmotives and themes.

The new album spreads the complete original score, note for note as heard in the movie, across the first CD and about a quarter of the second CD. The rest of the second CD includes unused alternate versions of many scenes, as well as stripped-down versions of cues that originally featured choir. These tracks are fully orchestral, but let you focus only on what the orchestra’s doing. It’s a neat trick, and an economical one since musicians’ union rules charge even more for a recording featuring a choir than an orchestral recording alone can charge. The original single-CD release from 1996 was no slouch and featured a generous amount of music from major scenes, at a time when many soundtrack CDs were starting to clock in at about 40-45 minutes due to the costs of paying every orchestral musician and every singer for every minute of their music being published. La-La Land took a real risk on reissuing the complete soundtrack: it was a far more expensive proposition (for the label), and it’s not exactly a new movie. (It’s not an obscure movie either, though, which is probably the saving grace of the new ID4 soundtrack.)

It almost goes without saying that the highlights on either disc are the major action setpieces. Few of the quieter moments are nearly as memorable: in going back to listen to “The President’s Speech”, the music wasn’t quite as inspirational as I seemed to remember. The alternate takes are interesting stuff, though: if you own the DVD of ID4, you know that a very different ending was originally planned before the producers decided to go for a more credibility-stretching (but, again, crowd-pleasing) conclusion, and the music for that rejected sequence can be found here. The other alternate takes range from minor differences in musical emphasis 4 out of 4and arrangement, to more major changes that are likely the symptoms of constant changes to the movie in the editing room.

It’s good foreground listening material, and well worth the purchase price. ID4‘s soundtrack isn’t subtle, but neither was the movie. Sometimes you just need good accompaniment for big explosions. That would be this soundtrack.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. 1969: We Came In Peace (2:01)
  2. S.E.T.I. – Radio Signal (1:53)
  3. Mysto Bridge /Satellite Collision / Destroyers Disengage / Russell Casse, Pilot (2:17)
  4. First Sighting /AWAC Attack (2:18)
  5. The Darkest Day (4:14)
  6. Moving Day / Countdown (2:12)
  7. Cancelled Leave (1:46)
  8. Commence Lift-off / Parabolic Indenwhat? (1:17)
  9. Evacuation (5:48)
  10. Firestorm (1:24)
  11. Aftermath (3:36)
  12. Base Attack (6:11)
  13. Marilyn Found (1:29)
  14. Area 51 / The Big Tamale / Formaldehyde Freak Show (4:12)
  15. El Toro Destroyed (1:31)
  16. Slimey Wakes Up (5:24)
  17. Target Remains / Rescue (5:56)
  18. The Death of Marilyn / Dad’s A Genius (3:34)
  19. Alien Ship Powers Up (1:46)
  20. International Code (1:32)
  21. Wedding (1:50)
  22. The President’s Speech (3:11)
    Disc Two

  1. Just In Case /Attacker Fires Up (3:10)
  2. The Launch Tunnel /Mutha Ship / Virus Uploaded (8:27)
  3. Hide! / Russell’s Packin’ (The Day We Fight Back) (4:44)
  4. He Did It (1:33)
  5. Jolly Roger (3:17)
  6. Victory (3:40)
  7. End Credits (9:07)
  8. 1969: We Came In Peace (Alternate Take) (2:11)
  9. Destroyers Disengage (No Choir) (0:34)
  10. Cancelled Leave (Alternate Take) (1:43)
  11. Commence Lift-off (Alternate Take) (0:55)
  12. Base Attack (Segment – Film Version) (2:27)
  13. Marilyn Found (No Choir) (1:28)
  14. Target Remains/Rescue (Alternate Take) (2:40)
  15. Dad’s A Genius (Alternate Take) (0:45)
  16. Attacker Fires Up (Original Version – No Choir) (2:01)
  17. Virus Uploaded (Alternate Take) (2:35)
  18. The Day We Fight Back (Original Version) (5:48)
  19. Jolly Roger (Alternate Take) (3:22)
  20. End Credits (Segment, No Choir) (2:47)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2010
Disc one total running time: 65:31
Disc two total running time: 63:34

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