The months of October-December are my three favorite months of the year for one reason -- THE HOLIDAYS. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the most exciting points of the year because they're some of the only guaranteed times of the year that I will get to see my family and friends, no matter what. The feeling that you get during the holiday seasons are also astounding. The spookiness you get all of October, the thankfulness and gratitude you get during November, and that feel-good jolliness you find during the month of December. It's the greatest thing in the world.
In celebration of Halloween, we will be talking about one of my favorite movies ever -- Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Nightmare Before Christmas originated as a poem written by Tim Burton back in the early 1980's when he was working as an animator for Disney. He kept revisiting the project throughout the 1980's, and it was finally released as a movie in October 1993.
The film is a stop-motion film with an incredible story about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, becoming very bored and discouraged with doing the same old thing of scaring people for Halloween every year. He goes for a walk and discovers a door that takes him to a magical place called "Christmas Town", and he immediately falls in love with the idea of Christmas. The film follows Jack's adventure in discovering Christmas and trying to make it his own.
The music in the film was composed by a man named Danny Elfman. Elfman and Burton had worked together before on a few of Burton's projects, and it was a natural fit working together for them to collaborate on this film. Danny Elfman's greatest ability in composing is his ability to create a melody and push the harmonic progression in a way that you wouldn't expect it to go.
Let's take a look at the first song, This Is Halloween. The song is written in c minor, but it shifts in some really cool ways. In the introduction, Elfman uses a progression of cm-Bb-em (i--bVII--borrowed iii) to create an uneasy feeling in the music, creating this creepy vibe to go along with the movie. The song modulates around to several different keys while repeating the same theme over and over, and it's really cool.
Another popular song from the film is one called What's This?. The song is played when Jack first discovers Christmas Town, and he's got this excitement about him that can't be described. Elfman did a wonderful job using an upbeat tempo and major key progression to create excitement in the music. Using a chromaticmodulation, the key of the song changes a couple times by shifting up by a half-step in each verse. Starting in C for the first verse, the second verse is in C#, the third is in D. It works so well, and creates a brilliant song for the film. Fall Out Boy also did a pretty good job covering the song.
Kidnap the Sandy Claws has some cool elements of the same sort of harmonic progression that is classic Elfman, but it also gives some examples of the thematic material that Elfman has in this soundtrack. During one of the instrumental breaks of the song, you can hear a version of the theme of Making Christmas playing as like a form of foreshadowing themes. There's also a cool cover of this song that was done by Korn.
The antagonist in the film is every child's greatest fear (or something) -- THE OOGIE BOOGIE MAN. Oogie just wants to ruin Christmas. What kind of person wants to ruin Christmas?! THE EVIL KIND. THAT'S THE KIND OF PERSON. Oogie Boogie gets Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap Santa Clause in an attempt to stop Christmas from happening all together. SO EVIL. RIGHT?! I KNOW. IT'S TERRIBLE. Elfman did a cool little jig for Oogie Boogie's song in order to give him the depiction of this evil guy, but he's also kinda jazzy and smooth. Even though he's made of bugs. Seriously. It's one of the best songs on the album, and he's got a cool little backup band that goes with him. You get it now, right? He's an evil dude, but he's a cool evil dude that you hate because HE WANTS TO RUIN CHRISTMAS. WHO WANTS TO RUIN CHRISTMAS.
Alright. That's all I have time to write for this week. Keep an eye on the horizon for something...different next week. I think you might enjoy it. You also might not enjoy it. Then again, you guys could just be a bunch of weasels. I have no way of knowing.
Until next time, Happy Halloween, my friends.