Seven Psychopaths

Composed By: Carter Burwell

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the British comedy Seven Psychopaths, Colin Farrell is Marty Faranan, a writer struggling to complete his first screenplay, but he needs some inspiration.  In an effort to help Marty get a jumpstart on things, his friends (Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell kidnap a gangster's (Woody Harrelson) beloved dog.  While the friends mean well, offering up all the inspiration Marty needs for his screenplay, so long as he lives long enough to complete it.

                The Seven Psychopaths Soundtrack features music by various artists like Hank Williams, The Stone Ponies featuring Linda Ronstadt, Deer Tick and more.  The musical score was created by Carter Burwell, a composer with a great deal of experience creating musical scores for black comedies.  Past film scores include Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Burn After Reading and No Country for Old Men.

                For the musical score of this film, Carter Burwell had two goals: "to make the characters as human and sympathetic as possible - or as one can make characters in a film titled Seven Psychopaths.  Because the reality of the story and of the characters is so often subverted and reframed, it seemed a worthy challenge to draw the audience into the characters' own hearts and minds and emphasize their emotional reality" and "to make the ending of the story redemptive."  The score is mainly piano-based and reflects the moods of the characters, which at times can be quite dark.

                The songs on this soundtrack offer up quite a variety in genres, from country to rock to opera and more, but all have a somewhat dark connotation to the lyrics.  My favorites are Angel of Death by Hank Williams and Different Drum by The Stone Ponies featuring Linda Ronstadt, songs I have grown up with.  I was surprised to learn that The First Cut Is the Deepest was remade by Sheryl Crow, the original 60s version by P.P. Arnold appearing on this album.  I think Sheryl Crow made a better remake of the song, but I still enjoyed the original.  Angela Surf City by The Walkmen and Dirty Dishes by Deer Tick are alternative rock tracks with a focus on lost loves and some interesting lyrics.  I was also intrigued by the use of opera in this film, but the one song I had trouble stomaching was the overly long, off-key singing of Country Dumb.

                Overall, the Seven Psychopaths Soundtrack contains quite a variety and range of music that somehow seems to all fit together when telling this story.  The music is just what one might expect to find on the soundtrack of a black comedy - songs with darker undertones and music with a hint of melancholy amongst the positive.  Definitely worth taking a listen to.


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