OST: The War

OST: The War / 2007 Sony / 17 Tracks / http://www.pbs.org/thewar /

Ken Burns essentially has had eir hands in everything involving American history for the last fifteen years. Whether it be eir work on baseballs or the civil war, one can best bet that individuals at an NPR somewhere are drool. “The War” is another one of these documentaries, and marks Burns’ view on Word War II. Instead of only containing music from the era, there are a number of songs present that are from the current period. For example, Norah Jones’ “American Anthem”, Wynton Marsalis’ “America My Home”, and “Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur” by Yo-Yo Ma are all on this soundtrack.

Where the inclusion of these songs is not as much of a problem as pop songs would be on a period piece from the fifteen century, “The War” has appeal beyond merely being a soundtrack. Where Burns really shines in regards to the music selection has to be the inclusion of songs that were war-time hits, including Bing Crosby’s “It’s Been A Long, Long Time”, Duke Ellington’s “Solitude”, and “The Wang Wang Blues” by Benny Goodman. While there are a number of different sources in regard to the method of recording, the era in which the songs came from, and the original form of the recording (vinyl, tape, reel to reel, CD), Burns’ arrangement here is strong enough to hide any recording weaknesses present in the older songs and any talent weaknesses in the newer songs.

What may be an interesting exercise would be to have subsequent albums featuring other music from the period covered by “The War”. I know that I am not familiar with much of the music from that time period, but if I had a chance to pick up a few volumes of Music from “The War”’s era, I would do so in a heartbeat. The music here is all in the series “The War”, so if you are one of those individuals that liked what music worked in the interim between sections, acted as the backdrop for speeches and other clips and the like, give this soundtrack a go. While one would be hard-pressed to og and capture the spirit and style of the late forties, Burns and all associated with eir do just that with this disc. Pick this up, see “The War”, and learn a little bit about modern history before the present day.

Top Tracks: Kalle Randalu – Variations For The Healing of Arinushka / Count Basie – How Long Blues

Rating: 7.1/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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