Usually that means it's Dad come by for a visit, 'cuz he's the only person who ever rings the doorbell: everyone else just knocks. So I took a looksee out the peephole to see if it was him.
It wasn't. It was a lady in a FedEx uniform holding a package.
I thought that it must be something Lisa had ordered, because she's all the time getting books and other stuff for her music classes. Although I had been told that something was coming to me via FedEx, but I wasn't expecting that particular package until sometime next week. So I signed the lil' computer pad thingy and the nice FedEx lady handed me the package and the first thing that I noticed is that it was addressed to "Chris Knight".
The second thing that I noticed is that it was sent from "Steve Jablonsky".
Here's some of what was inside:
Steve Jablonsky sent signed copies of Transformers: The Score to both Lisa and me! Lisa was especially thrilled about it: this is going to be quite a cool thing for her to show to her students! It must be said: between the Star Wars decor in her classroom, doing stuff that encourages appreciation of folk music and now this, she goes all-out to make learning music interesting.
And as for my copy, well... I already have some plans for it. This CD of Transformers: The Score signed by Steve Jablonsky himself is going to be put on display in a shadowbox, along with a printed-out copy of the online petition that I started a few months ago (including ALL of the signatures). And my original idea was to put a little plaque in between them saying "Some things are worth fighting for" but my friend Eric Wilson had an even better idea: his suggestion is that it should be emblazoned with "NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY!". So that's what it's going to say :-)
Along with these two CDs, Steve also sent a signed copy of the D-War soundtrack. And he sent one more signed copy of Transformers: The Score, which has a very special purpose which I'll talk more about to wrap-up this post. Which I can't thank Steve Jablonsky enough for not only sending us these nice copies of the Transformers score, but how he's helping out with a really groovy cause.
Okay, wellllll... here's the first review anywhere of Transformers: The Score. I just spent the past few hours listening to it twice. So what's it like?
In a word: "Magnificent!"
Folks, I can gladly report to you that the wait has been well worth it. In fact, as good as Transformers: The Score sounds, I now appreciate that they didn't rush this into production. It is exceedingly obvious that a great deal of care and attention went into putting this CD together. It is the common belief of many people that Steve Jablonsky's score for Transformers is among the finest in motion picture history, and a lot of us have wanted a CD that does justice not only to the movie and its score, but to the man who composed the orchestral soundtrack. Thankfully, Transformers: The Score does all of that, and more.
If you're a fan of the Transformers movie and you loved its instrumental soundtrack, you absolutely should do yourself a favor and purchase the actual CD, rather than buy a digital download. Why? Because I don't know if a digital file can come close to replicating the tremendous depth and splendor of a compact disc, and this score absolutely demands that you enjoy it at the fullest possible clarity. I cannot begin to emphasize this point nearly enough regarding Transformers: The Score. It deserves space on your CD rack, to be admired and appreciated. It's a beautiful CD to just look at, even.
There are 20 tracks on this CD. Only a few themes from the movie didn't make this cut, but don't fret: there's plenty of material here, including all of the most important pieces. And not only that but most of them are significantly longer than how they were used in the final film. The CD clocks in at just 2 seconds shy of a full hour: quite a bit longer than most CDs that I've bought in the past few years or so, but about par for the course so far as movie soundtracks go.
By the way, I can also report that the names of some of the tracks, which had previously been mis-spelled when details about Transformers: The Score first appeared online, are now spelled correctly. That is worth mentioning because not long after the track listing was revealed, some sources said that those would be the names printed on the labels because the CDs were already well in production. Now it looks like they went back and fixed these names. At least they are correct on the copies that we received. Those are noted below.
Okay well, let's get right to it! By the way, those tracks which are described on the CD as being different/longer than how they are in the movie will be marked with an asterisk ("*").
1. "Autobots"*: The opening theme from the movie, but greatly expanded. Sounds epic and majestic. Already, there's a sense of how much effort and appreciation went into this CD, because the crispness and clarity of the audio is astounding.By the way, I haven't looked at the interior fold-out artwork much. Since the front label is what Steve Jablonsky signed, I'm very reluctant to mess with that :-) I will be buying another copy this coming Tuesday from the local retailer, and make my fair contribution. Actually, I might buy more than one, maybe as Christmas stocking-stuffers for friends or something.
2. "Decepticons"*: MUCH longer than the "Decepticons" MP3 that first appeared on the Burger King tie-in website over the summer. Continuing the high quality that was introduced with "Autobots", there is also far more depth than anything we have heard before so far as available Transformers music goes, and it's especially apparent with the ominous chanting. More than any other track, I think here Jablonsky is really emphasizing the utter alien-ness of the Transformers race... which is something that hasn't been done nearly enough in the entire long history of the franchise.
3. "The All Spark"*: Music for a machine god. Has a nice, dark use of cello (I think that's what it is: my cello-playing buddy Darth Larry will doubtless tell me if I'm wrong :-).
4. "Deciphering The Signal"*: Very "cyberpunk"-ish and driving vibe here.
5. "Frenzy"*: Evil and sneaky, a fitting theme for the namesake Decepticon. This is a lot of the stuff that we heard when Frenzy was hacking into Air Force One.
6. "Optimus"*: Starts off as a soft, noble "new age"-ish theme for this, one of the most beloved characters from popular culture of the past two decades. Some beautiful strings in this track (reminds me a lot of what Howard Shore did for the Rohan theme from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers). It gradually becomes something more soaring and mighty.
7. "Bumblebee"*: A lot of the Autobot theme but "personalized" for Bumblebee's character. I thought it sounded really sweet and heroic.
8. "SOCCENT Attack": This was used twice in the movie: at the beginning when Blackout attacks the base in Qatar, and then later on when Megatron resurrects. So if you want the music for when N.B.E. 1 wakes up poky and declares "I am... Megatron!" here ya go! Wonderful music to accompany with mankind's first encounter with the Decepticons.
9. "Sam At The Lake": Pretty much what it says. For some reason I'm noticing it more listening to it from the soundtrack CD than I did in the movie. It sounds... I don't know, more "catchy". Yes, even the music from the scene when Sam and Miles are at the lake, sounds terrific on this CD :-)
10. "Scorponok"*: "BRING IT!!!" And no, your eyes are not deceiving you: the title of this track is fixed from what it was earlier reported to be! I'm looking at it on the CD label right now and it is spelled "Scorponok", not "Skorpinok". This is another one that is significantly longer than the movie version. Which will delight many because this was one of the most demanded themes from the soundtrack: Scorponok's assault on the SOCCENT survivors and then the Air Force's massive counter-attack. Of all the tracks on this CD, this is the one that I am most in fear of. Why? Because it's got that same kind of "FASTER GO FASTER!" vibe that "Duel of the Fates" from the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack had. Which actually caused me to get a speeding ticket a few days after it came out while driving to Elon University. I solemnly promise you, I will keep this track handy in the car when Lisa goes into labor someday and I need to get to the hospital fast.
11. "Cybertron": A very desolate, empty, haunting theme. For some reason I'm reminded a lot of Brian May's score from The Road Warrior. A sad requiem for a dead world.
12. "Arrival To Earth"*: THE MOST DEMANDED track on the whole thing, bar none! This is the track that was called "The Autobots Descent" by a lot of people over the summer (some still refuse to call it anything but that... yeah I'm looking at you Mr. Smart-Alecky Young Dutch Filmmaker :-P). Whatever it is you want to call it, "Arrival To Earth" is staggering in its majesty. The whole theme, from just before the "meteors" appear in the sky, to Optimus's introduction, is here. And there is a LOT more to it than what you heard from the movie, too! I actually had a tear in my eye listening to this one from the CD, just as I did when I watched this scene in the theater. Pretty much the heart and soul of the entire album.
13. "Witwicky": Mischievous. Notice that the title of this track is also fixed, where earlier reports had it as "Whitwicky". This is from when Sam arrives back at his house and the Autobots are trying their best to hide.
14. "Downtown Battle": This is the music that you'll probably have playing in your head when you know that something big and angry is about to arrive to lay some serious smack down.
15. "Sector 7": Trying hard to remember where this was from: when Simmons first arrives on the scene, perhaps? Good music for a government agency that doesn't really exist. Too bad the National Security Agency can't ask Steve Jablonsky if they can use it for their anthem 'cuz coming out to get permission like that would be an official acknowledgment that they are really there :-)
16. "Bumblebee Captured": A very moving track. This was a genuinely painful thing in the movie to watch: sorta like that very horrific scene in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial that has scarred my mind ever since seeing it at the theater in 1982. "Bumblebee Captured" strongly evokes the innocence of this brave Autobot caught in tragic circumstance. Quite appropriate music for the scene's tone.
17. "You're A Soldier Now": A continuation from "Downtown Battle" with a nice reprise of all the major themes spread throughout, especially those of the Autobots and Decepticons.
18. "Sam On The Roof"*: There's a really nice use of the chorals from the Decepticons theme in this one. More continuation of the previous tracks used for the Mission City fight.
19. "Optimus Vs. Megatron": It all comes down to this: the battle between two brothers. "At the end of this day, one shall stand, one shall fall."
20. "No Sacrifice, No Victory"*: They have lost a beloved comrade. But they have gained new ones. Ends with military-like drumming along with the closure of the Autobots theme, as the remains of the Decepticons are consigned by the U.S. Navy to the freezing depths of the north Atlantic.
How do I rate Transformers: The Score? I'll give it the full five sparks!
That's pretty much all I have to say about the actual score itself, but there's one more thing that I need to talk about to finish out this post. As I said earlier, Steve Jablonsky sent signed copies of Transformers: The Score to Lisa and me. He also sent one more, which isn't signed to anyone in particular. We asked for his help on something, and he was very glad to oblige. For this, we are extremely thankful:
There are a few things I need to wrap up on this end before I can get this going. But this copy of Transformers: The Score, signed by Steve Jablonsky, will soon be put up for auction on eBay. Where everyone can bid for it. And 100% of the proceeds will be going toward something involving music education.
There will be much more about this very very soon. In the meantime, keep checking this blog for further details.
Very special thanks again to Steve Jablonsky, for his remarkable score and for how he's helping us with this.
So now you all know what to do to help Steve out: go buy Transformers: The Score next week and put some money in his pocket!! Go buy it because you love this music and you want to enjoy it at its fullest grandeur. Go buy it because in your heart, you know it's the right thing to do. Or, don't buy it, and perish in flame.
It's your choice. But, not really.