• Film: 12 Monkeys
  • Soundtrack composer: Paul Buckmaster
  • Original year of release: 1995
  • Number of tracks: 25
  • Soundtrack duration: 62 mins 9 secs
  • Tracks with vocals/distracting aspects: 5 Tracks (11 mins 23 secs) (Tracks 3, 12, 13, 15, 16)
  • Film score duration (with distracting tracks removed): 50 mins 46 secs
  • Suggested suitable book genres: Thrillers and Dark Sci-Fi
DLS Summary:
Not a bad soundtrack, but perhaps more one better suited to have on in the background whilst getting on with things, rather than reading a book to. This is mostly because the soundtrack has a number of actual songs with lyrics nestled within the film score which can be a distraction for a reader wanting a backing soundtrack to read with. Furthermore, on occasion the film score jumps back to a 1940s French bar style, with accordions and violins playing out this jolly music on repeat. This, however, isn’t too distracting to fling you out of a novel entirely, and only ever lasts for a short stint.

The remainder of the film score is a relatively good, solid, atmospheric piece that alternates its pacing well, without breaking that overarching ‘soundtrack coverage’ we want when reading a book to it. The music, although not overly layered or too energetic, is easily enough to block out commuter background noises for those using soundtracks to help with reading during commutes.

With the vocal songs removed/skipped, all in all this is a reasonably good backdrop film score for reading a thriller or maybe a dark sci-fi story.

DLS Review:
The soundtrack starts off with a strangely 1940s French Bar feel to it (named the ‘Introduccion’ From Suite Punta Del Este), with accordions and violins delivering a colourful boost of energetic ‘peasant’ music. However, the soundtrack drops this zesty vibe for an atmospheric piece comprising mostly of slowly pulled strings and with hints of piano thrown in.

Track three takes us to a short rendition of ‘Silent Night’ sung by a choir which is peacefully delivered without the vocals being too dominating to the overall piece. Then we’re back into the atmospheric string pieces, with sudden returns to that 1940s French peasant bar music again for another short stint.

After these early tracks, the soundtrack finds its feet with delivering an atmospheric and quietly peaceful backdrop, with harps, strings, and piano all gently laying down a wonderfully calm backdrop. Although every now and again we’re thrust back into that 1940s French vibe bar vibe, which kind of knocks us out of the calm atmosphere we’re potentially reading a book to.

Track eight (performed by B.J. Cole) is a 1950s American electric guitar piece, wonderfully suited to a Stephen King novel whilst it lasts. No vocals in it, just a tidy, quietly delivered and suitably evocative track.

Then we’re back to the French music again, only with hints of jazz and a bunch of strings thrown in. Almost sounds Tom & Jerry like in its fun, bouncing, energetic delivery.

It’s really from track nine onwards where the soundtrack is best suited as a backdrop for reading to. From here on, there are moments when the music lurches out at the reader, but never overly so. At no point does the music become a distraction, but rather provides a period of increased pacing and energy, with all instruments of the orchestra coming together wonderfully. Indeed, the use of the harp throughout the score is spot on, and again, ideal for a back piece to read to.

Track twelve is a Blues tune written and sung by Fats Domino. If like me you prefer not to read with tracks with vocals in them, then this is one to skip. Ditto with thirteen which is Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World’.

Track fifteen is a funky piece by Link Wray and the Wraymen (entitled ‘Comanche). Although the track doesn’t have much in the way of vocals, it’s still not entirely suitable for reading to. Ditto with track sixteen, which is a classic Tom Waits style blues piece (titled ‘Earth Died Screaming’).

Finally, from here on until the end of the soundtrack, we’re back into that wonderfully atmospheric backdrop, returning to strings and the rest of the orchestra. Yes, we bounce back into that French bar vibe every now and again, but generally the music is wonderfully suited to reading a thriller or dark sci-fi novel to. Due to the pacing of the music in places, and the energy behind some of the music (along with the sporadic returning to that 1940s French bar vibe) I wouldn’t say it’s particularly suited to any of the horror subgenres. Potentially a bizarro novel, but a thriller would be my proposed choice.

As a soundtrack for reading to:

The soundtrack as a whole:

© DLS Reviews

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