MUSIC BY THOMAS NEWMANDISC 11. DEAD ALREADY2. AROSE3. POWER OF DENIAL4. LUNCH W - THE KING5. MENTAL BOY6. MR.SMART - MAN7. ROOT BEER8. AMERICAN BEAUTY9. BLOODLESS FREAK10. CHOKING THE BISHOP11. WEIDEST HOME VIDEOS12. STRUCTURE and#38; DISCIPLINE13. SPARTANETTE14. ANGELA UNDRESS15. MARINE16. WALK HOME17. BLOOD RED18. ANY OTHER NAME19. STILL DEAD We knew Thomas Newman was versatile (he's created gripping soundtracks for everything from The Shawshank Redemption to Desperately Seeking Susan), but his score for American Beauty is simply gorgeous and one of his best. Filled with inventive instrumentation--tablas, bird calls, dulcimer, banjo, ukulele, detuned mandolin, and more--the score varies between highly rhythmic, world-music influenced passages ("Dead Already," "Lunch with the King") and the more subdued ("Mr. Smarty-Man," "American Beauty"). Throughout, Newman's score is inventive and a great complement to the dark comedy's numerous mood swings. The movie's other soundtrack--a collection of memorable alt-rock tracks--gave us just a sampling of this score. Here's the rest. It's short (37 minutes) but sweet. --Jason Verlinde
Thomas Newman's score for American Beauty is one of the few perfect movie scores I can think of. The music was part of a movie which constantly scaled the heights of greatness both on a technical level and on an emotional level. The score fit so intrinsically into the arc of the story that it seemed almost invisible.
"American Beauty" won 5 awards at the Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actor. A lot of people didn't agree. The subject matter was risky and for some, all too real. Even if it wasn't such a great movie (Which it was!), it still should've gotten the Oscars it did, only for the music! Thomas Newman has scored numerous memorable films including "Little Women", "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Scent of a Woman". He composed the music for AB and was nominated this year. He sadly lost to John Cori..
Musician Frank Zappa is credited with saying that "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." In other words, trying to express the feelings music can convey in words is a pointless (perhaps ridiculous) exercise. While Zappa's words are not always true -- much modern music is simplistic and trite enough that writing about it is actually quite easy -- Thomas Newman's music for the score of "American Beauty" certainly proves Zappa's point.