"The Fault In Our Stars (Score Album)"
Music By Mike Mogus & Nathaniel Walcott
31 Tracks/Disc Time: 47:31
"The Fault In Our Stars" is the surprise hit of the Summer grossing over a 100 million dollars and already cemented Shailene Woodley as superstar actress for years to come. The film based on John Green's beloved best selling novel revolves Hazel (Woodley, "Divergent" and "The Secret Life Of An American Teenager") and Gus (Ensel Algort) are two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group and surprisingly have alot in common including wit, a disdain for the conventional normalcy and a passionate love that sweeps them on a journey together to places they never thought they would reach together. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg and regardless of their situations, they make the most of the little time they may have together to enjoy the life they're already living through a series of misadventures that will transcend their lives beyond their hearts and minds. The film has now been slated to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in an extended version in September.
While the film featured a lot of pre-recorded songs (not featured on this album) there is also plenty of original score to back the timely romance of the young couple. Providing the music are newcomers Mike Mogus and Nathaniel Walcott, who last year scored the romantic comedy, "Stuck In Love" that featured and all star cast including Oscar Winner Jennifer Connelly, writing a rather charming score for that film. Their score for this film isn't exactly going to blow anybody's socks off, but it is a very charming and subtle effort that will remind most of the work of Thomas Newman as well as John Powell's and Marcelo Zarvos at times. The score is based simplicity and mostly a series of musical episodes that are very effective transitions from one nice scene to the next.
The film opens with the brief and peppy "Opening Titles" that has a feel of a musical opening from an 80's John Hughes movie which is a good start, but ends very abruptly which is a negative in my view. The score is filled with out of modern vibes to it as Mogus and Walcott mix in strings, keyboards, acoustic guitar work into the mix that give it a fuller feel. They wisely split up the score basing it upon material for Shailene Woodley's character, Hazel highlighted by tracks such as "Hazel Intro", "Hazel Checkup", "Hazel And Gus Into-Staring", "Young Hazel Montage", and "Mom And Hazel" that feature a lively acoustic guitar that is romantic and subtle that gets a fuller treatment as her character and Gus fall in love and go on their misadventures together. Mogus and Walcott happily underscore those with depth and lighthearted melodies that features gentle thematic rhythms that don't overwhelm, but charm you which are highlighted by the tracks "Surprise", "Funky Bones", "Always", "I Love You", "The Kiss", "Love Making", "Christmas Tree", and "Buying Eggs". The other half of course, is the plight of their characters' rather sad and possible outcomes which Mogus and Walcott still keep the subtlety of the already cheerful material that was established, but in a much more sadder state. "Anne Frank House", "Disappointment", One Sad Swingset", "Ambulence", "Issac Euolgy" and "Hazel Euolgy" all brought together to a full powerful, yet subtle finale in "The Great And Terrible 10", which is not only a good finish to the score, but also a nice piece that Mogus and Walcott's lush voice really shines here. A track that builds and builds through some nice string work as well as guitar and electronics that work together perfectly to end the film and this album on a nice finish.
Atlantic's score album, which honestly is a true rarity for a label to release both the song and score album respectively, is a nice listen that doesn't over burden the listener and it actually is quite a breezy listen at times. The major league problem I have is the amount of short tracks that dominate the album that constantly stop and start thus ruining the flow and energy that the score tries so desperately (outside of the film) to build as a positive entity. The album would've been best served with all the short tracks combined for a flowing musical experience that easily would've made this album a stand out. As-is however, the music is good there's no question about it. This is the only major weakness this album has and it is a score that does deserve release and despite its' flaws, it is worth getting. "The Fault In Our Stars" is a nice score by a pair of newcomers who look like they'll be around for a while and this is a major step up in the musical food chain. Very charmed thumbs up.