Lady in the Water is the next M. Night Shyamalan film, and it is another Shyamalan film that is scored by James Newton Howard. There is a dreamy feel to the compositions on “Lady in the Water” that do have similarities to the other Howard-scored firm soundtracks. The use of dramatic tension during tracks like “Charades” ratchets up the intensity levels during this soundtrack. There may not be anything in the way of vocals present on this score, but there does not need to be any.
The vocal part to this score is the move itself; Howard makes these compositions pull double-duty when they can go equally well in a vocal-less and a vocal environment. All the normal orchestral instruments are present during this score; the tendency of mixing in current instruments with the score is not played to on this album. In a sense, tracks like “Walkie Talkie” tie together threads in film score schools; hints of Batman (1990) and John Williams are strewn amongst the track. Tracks have a typical popular music runtime (this is between two and a half and four minutes); while this may be done to allow Howard to come up with continually differing tracks, there seems to be some pandering to the listeners here. This means that listeners do not have to stick with a track for an extremely long time; tracks are quickly paced as they correlate with Shyamalan’s scenes in the movie.
The average track on the “Lady in the Water” score attempts to create a beginning, middle, and end for itself; with these self-contained tracks, individuals can just listen to tracks like “Healing” without necessarily needing the context provided by the rest of the score. “Healing” adds another dimension of emotion to the “Lady in the Water” score, using twinkling piano keys to further bring a human element to the strings and other instruments that Howard uses. The inclusion of a few Bob Dylan covers at the end of the soundtrack CD seems to be out of left field, but provides at times a juncture between the orchestral and the popular. The tracks at the end of the disc would be enjoyed more by Dylan fans, to hear what these new acts have done to eir classics, but the songs are all done well enough to succeed on their own. Howard and Shyamalan go together, and the music on this disc just shows more of the same.
Top Tracks: Walkie Talkie, Healing
OST: Lady in the Water / 2006 Decca / 16 Tracks / http://www.ladyinthewater.com / http://www.iclassics.com / Reviewed 25 July 2006