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Signs Soundtrack

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, July 30, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

CD has 13 tracks

For decades strange, intricate symbols have appeared pressed into farm fields across the globe. Enormous, puzzling messages from an extraterrestrial civilization--or an incredibly elaborate hoax staged by... whom? Those are the questions that drive M. Night Shyamalan's narrative, but as in the director's other thrillers (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), the answers aren't always where you expect them. As he's done for Shyamalan's previous films, composer James Newton Howard creates a musical undercurrent of mystery and unease, with nervous arpeggios and sullen, swelling strings ratcheting up throughout the score's unsettling first half. The film is dotted with apparent visual homages to past sci-fi films, and moments of Howard's orchestral score have occasional parallels with the more action-oriented passages of John Williams's landmark Close Encounters score. But there's more than brooding atmospherics, tension-building, and the occasional booming crescendo here. A sense of gentle spirituality gradually evolves as well (largely via the composer's sensitive use of minimalist techniques), with Howard's music ultimately achieving a quiet, satisfying sense of resolve that's missing from all too much of Hollywood's hollow dramatic thunder. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Main Titles
  2. First Crop Circles
  3. Roof Intruder
  4. Brazilian Video
  5. In The Cornfield
  6. Baby Monitor
  7. Recruiting Office
  8. Throwing A Stone
  9. Boarding Up The House
  10. Into The Basement
  11. Asthma Attack
  12. The Hand Of Fate - Part I
  13. The Hand Of Fate - Part II

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 30, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: August 2, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Hollywood Records
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006AWG7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,856 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G M. Stathis on August 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Upon first impression one may not be very impressed with James Newton Howard's score for M. Night Shymalan's "Signs," indeed one might suggest that we have heard much of this before in John Williams' "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," Jerry Goldsmith's "Twilight Zone" or a number of works by Bernard Herrmann ("The Day the Earth Stood Still, "Garden of Evil" and "North by Northwest" come to mind). In time, however, one recognizes that there similar motifs here, but that overall Howard has again created a memorable work that is clearly his own. Howard's score begins with and focuses upon a repeating, almost staccato motif which is quite sinister at times and yet becomes benign it not triumphant. In fact, the growth of this musical motif proves a bit more dramatic and satisfying than what is happening on the screen. This motif is heard variously on solo piano, wood winds and even the full ensemble, but usually remains with singular instruments along with changes in tone and intensity until at last it riases to a powerful crescendo. In his music for Shymalan's "Unbreakable" Howard played with a heroic main theme that takes time to be uncovered completely. Hints and pieces of the theme appeared early in the film but its full presence was not revealed until a critical scene in the film and was then repeated at other important moments. Howard has done this in other film scores where he holds back the full expression of a theme until he feels the time is right. In "Signs" Howard uses a similar device. His main motif moves through the majority of the score with only small hints that something else will come of it.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know how James Newton Howard does it...but it's scary how he keeps getting better and better.
This special movie is easily the best of Summer 2002 and this score is as well. This may be a Score of the Year before all is said and done as well.
Lush, lyrical, atmospheric, brooding...a touch of Herrmann/Hitchcockian moments.
The highest compliment that can be paid to a score I give to this: It's a character in that film. I can't imagine seeing that movie without this perfect music.
I can't wait for JNH's next score!
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Format: Audio CD
James Newton Howard has always been one of the unsung Hollywood heroes. A man whose work is done completely behind the scenes yet stands center stage during some of filmmaking's greatest moments. His chilling compositions accompanied Haley Joel Osment's infamous "I see dead people" quote in "The Sixth Sense." You can hear Howard's notes exploding off the screen with tremendous energy in "Major League." And he never fails to wring the smiles out of us during moments in films like "Dave", where his music makes the moment seem that much more satisfying. This is a man who has scored some of the best films of all-time (all of M. Night Shyamalan's films to date, many films for director Ivan Reitman, "The Fugitive," etc.) and yet hasn't gotten proper recognition. Meaning, an Oscar. Hopefully, with his spectacularly well-timed and affecting score for the newest sci-fi masterpiece "Signs", Howard will finally get his name on the ballot. It's long overdue.
Now, the first thing a lot of people will remember when they think about the film "Signs" is the amazing use of silence M. Night Shyamalan was so specific with. Because, after all, nothing is more scary than no noises whatsoever. The film wouldn't have been nearly as atmospheric if an eighties techno horror film score would've been pulsating at every moment. James Newton Howard must've known this when he began composing his score for "Signs," which doesn't run for very long (about a half hour of music total for the entire film).
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A Kid's Review on December 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Listen. Just a soft single note. Suddenly WHAM! A shrill three note motif. One that literally sends chills down your spine. Listen to this in broad daylight. Chills. Listen at night. What was that? a door creaking open? Or was it Howard's score?
This CD will give you a slight uneasyness, like Funeral March for a Marionette (Alfred Hitchcock Presents). Buy this CD. Buy this CD.
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Format: Audio CD
Although James Newton Howard's early soundtracks have their charms, Howard really came into his own in his collaborations with M. Night Shyamalan -- the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and especially Signs. The Main Titles are an arm-rest grabbing thrill, and had me in the theatre closing my eyes so I could appreciate the music better. This piece announces the genre of the music, and the film, immediately. It is a throwback to the scores of Bernard Herrman for Hitchcock, especially the Vertigo soundtrack, and announces Shyamalan's challenge to the reigning master director. The film may not stand up to the Hitchcock standards, but the score certainly does.
For the rest of the album, Howard toys with and develops the fast three note ascending arpeggio that signifies the aliens. It is by turns harsh and terrifying, as in the Main Titles, questioning, awe-inspiring, triumphant, and in the end hopeful. The development of this theme is the true genius of the album. Rather than having the hero's theme ride roughshod over the villain's at the climax of the movie, as it does in so many, many soundtracks (just take a look at any of John Williams'), this movie ends with the incorporation of the villainous theme. In one form or another, this motive is almost always present, permeating the album.
This is not an album for soaring and uplifting themes; there are practically no melodies that will remain in your memory after you finish your first listen. Instead, the album gives off a mood and an emotion. One of my favorite moments is in the track The Hand of Fate - Part I when the alien's theme is at its most fully-formed since the opening credits, only to be transformed into struggle, then unmitigated triumph as our heros finally put together all the pieces of the puzzle.
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