Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Mychael Danna's Rousing 'Moneyball' Score Feat. This Will Destroy You & A Lenka Song Is A Big Winner

by The Playlist
September 23, 2011 7:33 AM
9 Comments
  • |

Discussing soundtracks, especially scores can be, in some instances, sort of dull. It's easy to confabulate when a pop or rock figure like Trent Reznor ("The Social Network"), Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead ("There Will Be Blood") or Karen O & The Kids ("Where The Wild Things Are"), but aside from Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Clint Mansell, Jon Brion and maybe John Murphy known for his great collaborations with Danny Boyle, there are very few "superstar" composers that mainstream audiences appreciate or generally want to read about. For example, Alberto Iglesias (known for his work with Pedro Almodovar) is probably, aside from Alexander Desplat, one of the greatest living composers on the planet right now, but not that many spend time spilling ink over his work. In our minds, Abel Korzeniowski ("A Single Man") is certainly a composer to watch, but can anyone hum one of his works?

In short, score work isn't always easy to write about, admittedly isn't that sexy a topic and therefore sometimes fall by the wayside (it's easy to understand why this site has shied away from that topic*). This is the long way of saying, you know what score is really great, arguably Oscar-worthy and one of the finer scores of the year? Mychael Danna's subtle, moving and then rousing score to Bennett Miller's excellent baseball drama, "Moneyball." A patient, soulful and slow-burning picture that's reminiscent of a 1970s Robert Redford film, Dynna's score can be described in similar terms. Known for often working with his brother and fellow composer Jeff Danna, Mychael is also regarded for his score work on "Capote," "Little Miss Sunshine" -- he co-wrote the now, rather well-known theme of the film with indie-rockers DeVotchKa -- "(500) Days of Summer," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" and Ang Lee's upcoming "Life Of Pi."

Three pieces in particular are fabulous, the thematically tied "Coaching," "It's a Process" and "More," a mini-suite that builds and builds in a wonderfully encouraging and anthemic manner. Like the film, the score is really inspirational, but within the picture, it's often used as quiet emotional background texture; it's an effective, moody work, but it's not necessarily a really showy or noticeable score either. There are also two key songs in the film: Lenka's "The Show," performed by Kerris Dorsey who plays Brad Pitt's daughter in the picture and an atmospheric post-rock instrumental track by This Will Destroy You called, "The Mighty Rio Grande," that you'll instantly recognize as its been used in the trailers and admittedly does a lot of the heavy emotional lifting in "Moneyball" and is arguably just as important as Danna's score as well.

Anyhow, this is obviously a score we fully endorse and we hope come Oscar time it gets recognized. Available digitally from Madison Gate Records now, the 23-track soundtrack is worth your $7.99 on Amazon.

"Moneyball" Soundtrack Tracklisting

1. One Out Away- Mychael Danna
2. A Little Bit of Faith - Mychael Danna
3. Spring Training - Mychael Danna
4. Big League - Mychael Danna
5. Opening Day - Mychael Danna
6. Losing Streak - Mychael Danna
7. Can't Miss Prospect - Mychael Danna
8. Time Tested Intangibles - Mychael Danna
9. Is Losing Fun? - Mychael Danna
10. Coaching - Mychael Danna
11. It's a Process 0 Mychael Danna
12. More - Mychael Danna
13. The Streak - Mychael Danna
14. Turn Around - Mychael Danna
15. Old Ground - Mychael Danna
16. Hattie - Mychael Danna
17. Game 5 - Mychael Danna
18. Fenway - Mychael Danna
19. The Offer - Mychael Danna
20. Oakland - Mychael Danna
21. On Its Head - Mychael Danna
22. The Show - Kerris Dorsey
23. "The Mighty Rio Grande" -- This Will Destroy You

Samples of the soundtrack below, plus a few embed below.


*the bigger reason is we just didn't want to pigeonhole ourselves into one topic.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

9 Comments

  • B | June 2, 2012 5:35 PMReply

    Couldn't agree more. Danna's score was driving, and inspirational, yet it managed to do so in a very simple, manner. Whimiscal-yet-serious. It never overpowered the image and didn't purport to be anything it wasn't. His strings resonated in my head long after I finished watching the film.

    I'd love to know if you could recommend any similar scores--I haven't had much success in finding any. Shoot me a line if you have any suggestions.

    Great article.

    B

  • Aaron Nelson | December 17, 2012 12:22 PM

    There are a few movies that I love in large part for their soundtracks. This is one of them. Another that is in a similar vein is the soundtrack to Road to Perdition by Thomas Newman. Simply stunning. One of the few movies that I watched and continually thought to myself, "Wow, what an amazing soundtrack." Some other favorites that have stuck with me long after I saw the movie are Moon by Clint Mansell, (haunting) Solaris, by Cliff Maritnez (also haunting), and Sunshine, by John Murphy (not all gems but an amazing theme and other atmospheric pieces). I have a thing for bleak and lonesome sci-fi. After seeing Moneyball I was struck by how the soundtrack was perfect and yet seemingly incongruous to a sports movie. But, then again, this was no ordinary sports movie.

  • Glass | September 24, 2011 8:32 AMReply

    I agree with the three pieces with the recurring theme - those are goosebump tracks.

    Overall, it's appropriate, but like the movie, it didn't really get sent home like I would've liked. The performances were all great, I'm actually fascinated by the story, but it didn't have the kind of punctuation I would've liked. Still a good movie and I enjoyed it, but it's not something I'll buy.

  • jimbo | September 24, 2011 8:20 AMReply

    Mychael Danna's best score, and still one of the best scores of the last twenty years by anyone, is 'The Ice Storm'. The pure unlikely genius of using Javanese gamelan for a film about plasticised 70s Americans. It works like a dream.

  • Big Tom | September 24, 2011 6:57 AMReply

    Music by "This Will Destroy You" is great.

  • samir | September 24, 2011 5:17 AMReply

    The best music in the film was easily the song by This Will Destroy You and the song by his daughter. Otherwise Danna's score is good, but nothing more than that.

  • The Playlist | September 23, 2011 8:31 AMReply

    Who says we don't like any of those dudes? Just random shout-outs to mostly contemporary folks.

  • Nik Grape | September 23, 2011 8:30 AMReply

    And it should be an unrwitten rule that every article written about scores/soundtracks should somehow include Ennio Morricone.

    But I'm listening to the samples now ... sounds great so far. Thanks for the post.

  • Remy | September 23, 2011 8:13 AMReply

    No love for Michael Giacchino or Angelo Badalamenti, eh?

Email Updates