About the Soundtrack: Wall-E is composed by Thomas Newman, who follows up his previous Pixar affair, "Finding Nemo," with this intergalactic effort. Featuring a whopping 38 tracks, the soundtrack consists of the original score, sound effects, and source music, including an new song by Peter Gabriel. While the track numbers are impressive, many of the cues are relatively brief, so you're not getting an exhaustive amount of score material. The packaging of the soundtrack is rather unique as it is presented in eco friendly cardboard material with the CD booklet nestled inside. Kudos to the production hands responsible for this thoughtful approach. Better yet, the recycled packaging material ties in nicely with one of the themes of the film, so it's a win all around with this concept.
What You Need to Know: For those of you who are seeking a space faring epic, you will find the score to Wall-E to be a bit different than what you expect. That said, it's definitely in line with the composer's style.
Thomas Newman brings his usual low-key style to the scoring duties for this one but couples it with a serious dose of playfulness that certainly gives the music a personality. His use of strings and sci-fi gadgetry are at the forefront of this creative score, offering a musical journey that is quite personable if a bit frustrating. I was left always wanting just a little bit more after each track. Throughout my listening experience, I was hoping a stirring, definitive theme would emerge to take this score to the next level but one never seemed to come along.
Wall-E does, on the other hand, showcase just how far Pixar scores have come since the early days. This is, without a doubt, one of the more 'mature' sounding works in their cinematic library, and that includes "Ratatouille." Never before had I heard such offbeat music come across so gracefully. Indeed, Newman's steadfast nature never wavers as he delivers an underscore that makes one conjure up a unique image of the cosmos, though he doesn't ratchet it up enough to take the listener on a bona fide adventure.
Some of the score's finer moments occur when the more synthetic elements, thematically speaking, come to life. Though robotic "sounding," Newman creates an interesting underscore that feels oddly organic and sweet, at times. Indeed, if robots had hearts, this is the type of music that one could imagine them to. Naturally, this is a perfect fit for a character like Wall-E and I imagine that the music plays along wonderfully during the film. Had their been just one sniff at a pronounced main theme, than this score could have really taken off.
The songs on the soundtrack didn't really do much for me; even Peter Gabriel's new single failed to capture my interest. However, there are enough score entries on the disc to keep one occupied, so the songs were a bit of a non-factor for me.
Final Score: If you're ready for a restrained galactic odyssey, then this one's for you. However, if you prefer more of an old fashioned orchestral romp, this isn't a recommendation that can be made. With those stipulations, I suppose you can tell that this is a marginal recommendation from me, but it's a 'go' for launch nevertheless.