There is no finer way to end the day than listening to a good movie soundtrack – or is there?
Unfortunately, Order of the Phoenix’s soundtrack suffers more than the movie does for being consistently uneven. In my collection, it rates distinctly behind Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire for lack of innovation. There’s far too much fiddling with the volume needed, and only a few tracks stand out.
When an album only hits around 50% of the tracks being noteworthy in my book – I can’t justify recommending the entire thing.
Recommended tracks 9/18:
Fireworks, Dumbledore’s Army, Hall of Prophecies, Possession, Room of Requirements, Ministry of Magic, The Sacking of Trelawney, A Journey to Hogwarts, Loved Ones and Leaving<
Recommendation: Smile if you get it for a gift, get it on sale if you see it, but get a few tracks off iTunes and skip the rest if you’re buying for yourself. Collectors and completionists will pick this up regardless, but probably be slightly underwhelmed. Come to think of it, that really does describe Order in general.
For those of you not going digital – the disc looks cool. The book itself contains notes from Hooper and Yates, and done in brown dark parchment tones with artfully filtered and collaged pictures scattered about the pages. There are no new pictures.
First, a commentary on the track names – I absolutely dislike when track names are named after key scenes in a way that is a big flashy red spoiler. Yes, it makes it real easy to find after the movie – “what was that playing when so and so ____”, but far too often soundtracks are on sale before the movie comes out. Bad form and most movie soundtracks do this now, so you can’t really say anything bad about it.
2. Professor Umbridge
3. Another Story
4. Dementors in the Underpass
5. Dumbledore’s Army
6. The Hall of Prophecies
8. The Room of Requirements
9. The Kiss
10. A Journey to Hogwarts
11. The Sirius Deception
12. Death of Sirius
13. Umbridge Spoils a Beautiful Morning
14. Darkness Takes Over
15. The Ministry of Magic
16. The Sacking of Trelawney
17. Flight of the Order of the Phoenix
18. Loved Ones and Leaving
The tracks are decidedly out of order from when they appear in the movie – it doesn’t help the ‘flow’ of the CD to do this, by the way, it just makes things appear jumbled. Bits of Hedwig’s Theme are buried inside “Another Story”, “Hall of Prophecy”, “Room of Requirement”, “A Journey to Hogwarts”.
** 1. Fireworks – This is a strong way to start the soundtrack. The music in question appears during the later half of the movie, by the way. The track itself starts out with a bit of a jiggy feel that is quite reminiscent of the “Quidditch World Cup” (QWC) track off Goblet of Fire. However, instead of moving into the tribal feel off such as QWC, it visits it for a few seconds with a drumbeat that had several of the people in the theater ‘air drumming’ during the end credits and then shifts again into this hard core guitar … thing. It’s a rebellious little track and fits pretty well.
2. Professor Umbridge – With a perky yet sinister vibe, the track also has a bit of a ‘tick tock’ feel and makes for a good character theme. It could get irritating after a while. Nicholas Hooper notes:
… an insistent and slightly irritating tune that carries on oblivious to the harm it does…
So, mission accomplished on that track. It checks in without being too much of anything.
3. Another Story – This truly standard variant is a stripped down version of Hedwig’s Theme (we can all hum that in our sleep, I’m sure) but suffers somewhere in the middle for being a bit too stripped down. It’s very soft but not remarkable.
4. Dementors in the Underpass – starts out with too much dead air then scurries into action – “Oh, was I late for the soundtrack, here I am!”. It’s a bit choral and creepy.
** 5. Dumbledore’s Army – A good tune that grows on you.
** 6. The Hall of Prophecies – Creepy and evocative of the scene.
** 7. Possession – It’s okay, a bit creepy sounding. Works.
** 8. The Room of Requirements – A chiming, twinkling sort of piece. The most magic to be had on the soundtrack.
9. The Kiss – non-intrusive to the scene, fairly ho-hum on its own.
** 10. A Journey to Hogwarts – A much better variation on Hedwig’s Theme, with a strong variety of instruments and a slightly haunting flute melody woven inside.
11. The Sirius Deception – Not really standout material.
12. Death of Sirius – Not really standout material.
13. Umbridge Spoils a Beautiful Morning – Not really standout material.
14. Darkness Takes Over – Sounds overly familiar to me, like a mashup between a couple tracks from Goblet of Fire.
** 15. The Ministry of Magic – After the last couple tracks, this was the one that made me look up from my work and go “hey, what’s that one”.
** 16. The Sacking of Trelawney – A sad and mournful tune, suits sudden afternoon rainstorms best.
17. Flight of the Order of the Phoenix – A bit frantic and rushed in places. Flying music, obviously and thankfully short.
** 18. Loved Ones and Leaving – Not bad. A good way to close the album, actually. Graceful and dignified.