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Monday, April 20, 2009


You may have recently read my review of the commercial soundtrack album to the big screen spin-off of the TV phenomenon Hannah Montana. Unfortunately none of the film's score was included on that album, but the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, have kindly sent me a promotional disc, so I can tell you all about it.
What little score there is in the TV show is provided by Kenneth Burgomaster, but the powers-that-be behind the movie decided to place the project in the capable hands of the much-in-demand John Debney, who of course has written many a score for the light comedy genre, and is also no stranger to musicals (well, this film has plenty of songs in it, even if its not a musical as such), having worked on Idlewild with the duo Outkast. For Hannah Montana: The Movie, in which Miley/Hannah's father takes her back to her Nashville roots, Debney provided suitably rural-yet-contemporary-styled scoring, a little over 30 minutes of it, threading songs and score skillfully together, and as also responsible for the orchestral arrangement of "Butterfly Fly Away, co-written with Glen Ballard by another renowned film composer, Alan Silvestri, and performed by both Miley and her father Billy Ray.
Of course, the resulting score is, as is often the case in films of this nature, largely made up of quite brief cues, many of them running under a minute or two, some comedic, but there's some catchy, thriller-styled music early on in "PCH Chase" and "Pier Chase;" and countrified pieces such as "Hello N.Y." and the quirky "Live Alligator" get the toes tapping. Of course, there is sentiment to be found along the way, and "Side of the Highway" is a particularly warm cue, mixing country instruments with orchestra quite nicely. Equally nice, and written along the same lines, is "Ride with Travis;" and romantic and emotional cues like "Swing Doors Breakup," "No Place for a Relationship," "My Mother's Necklace" and "I Can't Do This" are handled sensitively.
"Hannah Arrives" mixes her trademark rocking style with country quite effectively, as does, to a lesser extent, "Ride to Dinner"
All-in all then a very nice score, which I imagine is unlikely to receive a commercial release of its own and it's therefore a pity that at least a couple of moments couldn't have made it onto the Disney album.


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