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Leatherheads (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

As has been apparent at least since his Sail Away album in 1972, Randy Newman's musical sensibility is heavily informed by the styles of popular music that prevailed roughly from the 1890s to the early '20s — in particular Tin Pan Alley pop, ragtime, and Dixieland jazz. As a film composer, Newman has not tried to hide his inclinations, but rather has sought out (or been sought out for) movies that could incorporate them smoothly. One such is director/star George Clooney's Leatherheads, a neo-screwball comedy about the rise of professional football set in the mid-'20s. Nominally speaking, Newman's favored styles are to a certain extent anachronistic for the period; the sentimental ballads of the turn of the 19th century such as "After the Ball" were not being sung too much 30 years later, for example. But in Hollywood terms, that's no problem. Ever since Marvin Hamlisch brazenly used the rags of Scott Joplin to accompany the Depression Era setting of The Sting in 1974 and won an Academy Award for his trouble, it has seemed that any popular style from the Civil War to World War II could be mixed up largely by feel, if not by the calendar. In Leatherheads, Newman's familiar mixture of pre-1925 styles connotes the light comedy and sentimentality at which Clooney is aiming. Toward the end of the soundtrack, notably on "The Ambiguity of Victory," Newman contributes more traditional symphonic film scoring. And, given the subject matter, he apes the sound of a college marching band more than usual. But for the most part, Clooney has employed him here to do what he does best. Most Newman scores are unlikely to be mistaken for those of any other Hollywood composer (though they occasionally may be mistaken for Randy Newman albums without vocals), and this one is no exception.

Customer Reviews

Leatherheads

(taken from press info) Oscar® winners George Clooney and Renée Zellweger match wits in Leatherheads, a quick-witted romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America’s nascent pro-football league in 1925. The wildly energetic and fun big band score was composed by the legendary Randy Newman. Newman’s music for The Natural ranks among the greatest sports scores of all time!

Biography

Born: 28 November 1943 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An anomaly among early-'70s singer/songwriters, Randy Newman may have been slightly influenced by Bob Dylan, but his music owed more to New Orleans R&B and traditional pop than folk. Newman developed an idiosyncratic style that alternated between sweeping, cinematic pop and rolling R&B, which were tied together by his nasty sense of humor. Where his peers concentrated on confessional songwriting, Newman drew characters, creating a world filled with misfits, outcasts, charlatans, and con men....
Full bio

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