Like the film itself, the soundtrack goes a bit all over the place and doesn’t form much of a cohesive identity around the points in the film where it could. It does experiment with a lot of different styles, and I enjoyed that.
Note, the track listing contains spoilers, which is poor form for a soundtrack.
Track Listing (12/28)
1. “Opening” 2:54
2. “In Noctem” 2:00
3. “The Story Begins” 2:05
4. “Ginny” 1:30
5. “Snape & the Unbreakable Vow” 2:50
6. “Wizard Wheezes” 1:42 (not in film)
7. “Dumbledore’s Speech” 1:31
8. “Living Death” 1:55
9. “Into the Pensieve” 1:45
10. “The Book” 1:44
11. “Ron’s Victory” 1:44
12. “Harry & Hermione” 2:52
13. “School!” 1:05
14. “Malfoy’s Mission” 2:53
15. “The Slug Party” 2:11
16. “Into the Rushes” 2:33
17. “Farewell Aragog” 2:08
18. “Dumbledore’s Foreboding” 1:18
19. “Of Love & War” 1:17
20. “When Ginny Kissed Harry” 2:38
21. “Slughorn’s Confession” 3:33
22. “Journey to the Cave” 3:08
23. “The Drink of Despair” 2:44
24. “Inferi in the Firestorm” 1:53
25. “The Killing of Dumbledore” 3:34
26. “Dumbledore’s Farewell” 2:22
27. “The Friends” 2:00
28. “The Weasley Stomp” 2:51
According to the digital booklet, tracks 1 and 4 contain Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme”. 11 and 19 contain parts of “Quidditch Match” from Williams’ Prisoner of Azkaban. In the realm of self-sampling, “Possession” (Order) can be hinted at in tracks 7, 18, and 24, and “In Noctem” shows up on tracks 7, 18, 22, and 26.
The Music (Bolded entries are recomended)
Opening – The drums kick in late, but with a desperate energy that is exciting and moving. The choir layered over the top is unique and sad.
In Noctem – A stunning choral standout but then again I might be a sucker for choral Latin.
The Story Begins – strange, stringy and then into bouncy. It’s almost schizophrenic. The last 10 seconds were just.. meh. If it had stopped a bit earlier, it would make the list.
Ginny – Sweet and soft starter, then right into Hedwig’s theme with girly swirls in the background. Lazy music and disappointing. Seriously. Get your owl theme out of my character music!
Snape and the Unbreakable Vow – Tense, slow and purposeful. I liked that.
Wizard Wheezes – Jazzy! A definite hit.
Dumbledore’s Speech – Quiet instrumental layered over bits of In Noctem? Volume, Mr. Hooper. Please investigate it.
Living Death – Bright and sparkly. Music to mix potions to. Felt more like it’d be in place with OOTP’s soundtrack. Maybe it was a leftover idea?
Into the Pensieve – If this were a perfume it’d be an aquatic. I don’t really like aquatics. Music to drown to, probably would describe this best.
The Book – I liked this, even though there are tracks that are better.
Ron’s Victory – forgettable
Harry & Hermione – Very sweet
School – kinda cute and works, like you’re bouncing down the hall between classes and you get there just as the bell rings
Malfoy’s Mission – distinctive
The Slug Party – Awesome in every way.
Into the Rushes – This fell down in the second half of the song, too quiet and directionless
Farewell Aragog – fitting and very Celtic sounding
Dumbledore’s Forboding – Hmmm.. Not bad? Not great, that is certain. More In Noctem though. It’s like In Noctem (DJ Dumbledore and the Melancholy Moodybells Remix), and that’s just dull.
Of Love and War – Unremarkable and indistinct
When Ginny Kissed Harry – Aw! A bit reminiscent of the “Friends and Love” track. Calm, too. Much like the relationship between the two characters, a likely track to inspire love or hate. It is quite different than the tracks it is sandwiched by.
Slughorn’s Confession – Hooper only knows one real volume. Not very standout.
Journey to the Cave – Surprisingly good.
The Drink of Despair – Not feeling it, really.
Inferi in the Firestorm – Frantic and noisy and gets interesting about a minute in, which is about a minute too late for me
The Killing of Dumbledore – repetitive
Dumbledore’s Farewell – Slow, but not that quiet! Also pretty good.
The Friends – Well it was alright, I suppose.
The Weasley Stomp – It didn’t make me think of the Weasleys that much. Shouldn’t it, with a name like that?
A lot of Hooper’s tunes are good start then get real quiet like they forget where they’re going about a minute to a 1:30 in, then change directions completely or sort of get redundant on the ends. He specializes in the quiet, the absolute background. Would he be up to the epic sweeping vibe of Deathly Hallows? I don’t think so. Good thing Williams is strongly rumored to be coming back, but even if Hooper stays, he’ll probably not make a mess of things too much.
Should you pick it up?
Not at full price, no. Unless you are a hardcore fan and need the complete soundtrack to every single Potter flick, the tracks above should suffice.
Compared to Order of the Phoenix, it is a bit of an improvement at least due to the experimentation with different styles.
Where this soundtrack hits, it really hits well. Where it misses, it just falls flat.