Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Songs From The Movie
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on January 14, 2014
Words cannot express how much I love this album. Everything about it is wonderful. Admittedly, I'm a huge Mary Chapin Carpenter fan, and there's little she could do that I wouldn't love, but this album really exceeded even my greatest hopes.

Like Nanci Griffith's DUST BOWN SYMPHONY or Dougie MacLean's WITH STRINGS, this is an album of revisited songs. Not "greatest hits," but more likely songs that seemed to lend themselves to the orchestral arrangements. The song selection is only one of the great things about this album, though.

These are entirely new recordings. Arrangements for full orchestra have been made for each song, and it's the full orchestral sound that you get -- she's not accompanied by her usual band here. Given that the title of the album is SONGS FROM THE MOVIE, the end product sounds very much like a great motion picture score. The arrangements are full and lush, playing a larger role than just that of a backing track. We even get a chorus as backing vocalists on one track ("Ideas Are Like Stars").

For me, one of the things that makes this album so special is the way it takes these songs and lifts them beyond genre. Songs that might have originally been labeled "folk" or "country" become timeless standards. "Where Time Stands Still" is such a fitting song for this album, because this album seems to exist in a place outside of time.

If I had to make a criticism of the album, it would only be that the album is too short. Sure, it's almost 52 minutes long, but it only left me wanting more. A couple of original songs, not recorded before, would have been lovely, but I can't complain about anything that's here.

It's wonderful to have an artist step outside their usual box every once in a while, and this album is a thrilling addition to the Mary Chapin Carpenter catalog.
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on January 17, 2014
I understand the impulse to play with arrangements to find different dimensions of a song. While this may be an interesting experiment, the results can be mixed. SONGS FROM THE MOVIE includes many of my favorite songs by this masterful composer. But, I feel the orchestral arrangements miss some of the most valuable and unique elements of Mary Chapin Carpenter's songs. I have always been amazed by the sense of intimacy and emotional immediacy captured in her recordings. I feel the orchestral arrangements produce "artificial" swells of sound to indicate emotional tides. The orcehstra became superfluous, distracting from the vocal performance.The subtly of the lyrics is washed asunder. The renderings of the lyrics are diluted. Only two of these tracks "worked " for me, COME ON COME ON and GOODNIGHT AMERICA. This recording has left me wanting new material from this amazing songwriter. Less is More.
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on January 16, 2014
I've been a MCC fan since State of the Heart and have all of her primary recordings (none of the compilations). If I were going to create my own playlist of favorite songs, none of these would be on it, so keep that in mind when you read this review. When I saw this was coming out, I was lukewarm about it, but bought it out of curiosity. I put the songs from Songs From the Movie in a playlist, side by side with the original versions and listened to them sequentially (orchestra version of On and On It Goes, then original version, etc). My conclusions are:
Neither Mrs. Hemingway nor Where Time Stands Still speak to me--either version.
Songs I prefer in their original form are: I Am A Town (she sings it like she means it; the new version is flat), Only A Dream, and Goodnight America.
Songs I like better with the orchestra are: Dreaming Road, On and On It Goes, and Ideas Are Like Stars.
I like both versions of Between Here and Gone.
Dreaming Road is my favorite cut on Songs From the Movie and shows what an inspired pairing of MCC's songs and Vince Mendoza's arrangements can achieve. It's unfortunate that only a couple other songs on the recording capture this same magic. If these 10 songs are already your favorites, you will probably like this recording. If, like me, they aren't, I can't see much reason to purchase the entire recording.
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on January 17, 2014
up front: I am a big fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter and have been for a long time. I went to a concert of her in Houston and her work has never failed to please. Setting some of her songs to an orchestral background had to be a tempting project and in some cases on this CD, it really succeeds. On other songs, it's clear that it's a strain to try and make it work. If you're a Chapin Carpenter fan, you'll love some of these cuts as I do but others will leave you wondering what they were thinking. A word of caution: the snippets you hear on various websites don't really help. Buy the CD or the MP3 download if you're a MCC fan. It's worth that.
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on January 16, 2014
Ever wonder what a photograph would look like enlarged, framed and displayed on the wall where you can appreciate every detail? This album is a musical picture that makes me give pause, take deep breaths and enjoy every note, every word that Chapin put down.

To answer the critics here that claim the orchestrations are too lush or detract from the songs - the way fans have heard them for years, I can only say that Chapin should be given credit for the chance she took on this approach. One of the aspects of her art that I appreciate is that she doesn't repeat herself. Each album is a new sound - some more different than others. The change for this album is another step forward. Bravo.

There are some obvious standouts - where "Only A Dream" and "Goodnight America" were always cinematic now they are worthy of being compared to an Imax show with words complemented by the full orchestra. With regard to the scoring of the songs, and it is truly more like a movie score than a song arrangement, the instruments reflect the emotion of the song rather than announce it. This difference should not be taken lightly. It is this subtlety that rewards repeated listening.
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on January 17, 2014
A lot of thought went into this beautiful rendering of songs from one of our premier singer/songwriters. A major problem with applying symphonic arrangement to songs such as these is knowing when to back off with the music's intensity and avoid overpowering the lyrics. Mary-Chapin's lyrics and their presentation can be very subtle and it took a subtle touch with the arrangement to compliment rather than obscure. This is most evident in "Goodnight America" , a masterpiece of a song, where the intensity of the music rises and falls perfectly at all the right times.
Its tempting to get caught up in the beautiful orchestral arrangement but, please, listen to the lyrics. That's what Mary-Chapin Carpenter is all about. All in all, a wonderful collection of inspired songs from a gifted artist.
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on January 16, 2014
Lovely orchestral renditions of Mary Chapin Carpenter's most popular songs- but after the 4th or 5th song they start to blend together and sound too similar. Still, a nice twist for a compilation recording.
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on March 10, 2015
I first got to know of this album through the website of Vince Mendoza, arranger and conductor of this album, whose music I crave. Although I had never heard of Mary Chapin Carpenter before, the title and the album cover were appealing enough to make me purchase the album. Before the CD arrived the music electronically delivered to my Amazon music because I am a Prime member, and so I started to listening to it. Wow, what beautiful music is. All the songs in this album are written and sung by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her lyrics flow smooth, but are well crafted, and touch the deepest part of your heart. The melody and the chord sequences are very circular, and thus have some haunting effect. The arrangements by Vince Mendoza are marvelous with very clever use of instruments, such as blaring french horns (which I think of as one of his unique trademarks) and sweet woodwinds. With little drum keep (although Peter Erskine is playing percussions here) in the background, the music gently flows into your ear, and then to your mind. The music resonates with you the most in the wee hours. One of the best albums I have bought in the past few months.
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on January 17, 2014
The soaring strings and lush instrumentals combined with MCC's gorgeous voice make this a true must have for MCC fans and anyone else who just loves beautiful music and meaningful lyrics. I hope she does this again.
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on April 6, 2014
I've been a fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter's music for many years. I actually think she's gotten better with age, ranking recent albums such as "The Age of Miracles" and "Ashes and Roses" as among her finest works.

Thus, I was excited to see a "new" album come out recently, and one that was actually for sale at a shop here in Bangkok where I live. I bought it impulsively without realizing that these songs were "orchestral" versions of tunes she's already recorded. Hmm, not exactly a musical style that I enjoy listening to, but it's MCC, so I gave it a chance.

After a dozen listens, I think I'm about ready to shelve this one. Frankly, I find these orchestral arrangements just plain annoying. Mary's voice still sounds warm and radiant, but these versions just aren't moving me. Obviously, many reviewers find beauty in these new arrangements, but I find this a struggle to get into. I would much prefer acoustic, stripped-down versions of these songs. This album certainly isn't for everyone, especially those listeners like me who are used to more folk and country styling in her tunes.
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