The Age of Adaline Score and Soundtrack
Score By: Rob Simonsen
Songs By: Various Artists
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the epic romance film The Age of Adaline, Blake Lively is Adaline Bowman, a young woman born in 1908 who hasn't aged a day over twenty-nine since being involved in a freak accident involving a lightning strike. Her daughter (Ellen Burstyn) has surpassed her in age. Ever since a distressing incident with the FBI, Adeline has used fake names and IDs, changing jobs and locales, but always maintaining contact with her daughter. Things appear to be moving forward smoothly until a flame from her past (Harrison Ford) threatens to reveal everything...to the son (Michiel Huisman) she is now romantically involved with.
In April 2015, Lakeshore Records released the soundtrack and score of The Age of Adaline. The CD versions are scheduled for release in May. The Age of Adaline Soundtrack features a mix of musical styles and genres, such as jazz, folk, pop and more, as would be fitting considering the decades the film spans. Songs on the album are by various artists and, though they all represent a specific time period and the sorts of music you might find people listening to them, many are about love. Specifically the one who got away, as witnessed in tracks like Simple Twist of Fate by Bob Dylan, Since I Don't Have You by The Skyliners and Comin' Back to Me by Jefferson Airplane.
The musical score of The Age of Adaline was created by American composer Rob Simonsen. Having studied piano performance and music theory in college, Simonsen received his big break with his composition of the score for the 2003 independent film Westender. Since then, Simonsen has co-scored (500) Days of Summer, composed additional music for Moneyball and Life of Pi and created musical scores for All Good Things, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World, The Spectacular Now, Dollhouse and Blue Bloods.
The Age of Adaline Score contains some beautiful orchestral pieces with piano solos. The album begins on a happy note, but transitions into sadness. According to Simonsen, "Adaline’s theme is mostly heard on the piano. We wanted something melancholic and pretty, yet not too sad. And while the love theme appears repeatedly throughout the movie, it is actually not heard in its entirety. I wrote it away from picture and there was never a scene long enough to play it. However by repeating the opening phrases of the love theme, it has a quality of getting stuck in the ‘starting out’ mode, which is fitting for Adaline, who is stuck in time, repeating things in her life over and over, now a woman resistant to letting anything develop."
One of my favorite tracks is Twisted Around the Truth. I could easily imagine the various instances of Adaline's life and loves crashing into each other as she meets her new love's father, who just happens to be a flame from her past. This is represented by the strings section, each section performing a different segment, seemingly intertwining, rising in crescendo to create a cacophony of sound. My other favorite is To A Future With An End which features female vocals amidst a rising crescendo of orchestral score, offering an uplifting ending to the album before introducing a song performed by Elena Tonra called Start Again.
Usually, when I reviews soundtracks and scores of a particular film, I often veer toward the soundtrack, preferring the songs to tell me the story of the music. Sometimes they do they job better than the score, though not always. In the case of The Age of Adaline, I have to say that the score is the key element of this film. Though some of the songs describe the story adequately, it's the score by Rob Simonsen that really tells the tale for the listener. Without having seen the film, I already had an idea what it was about based upon the score. Though I recommend both albums, it is with The Age of Adeline Score that I believe music fans will get the most for their money.