Musical Score By: Ian Hultquist
Songs By: Various Artists
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the dramatic film, Animals, David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw are Jude and Bobbie, a young couple living in a broken-down car outside of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Drug addicts, each day is a constant search for ways to get money to score, conning and stealing their way through life in an effort to keep ahead of their addiction. Living in some sort of idealistic fantasy world, their situation becomes a harsh reality when one of them is hospitalized.
The Animals Soundtrack features songs by various artists, including The Pentagons, Moon Magick, Wedding Dress, Pyyramids, The Life and Times, Barky & Speaker and more, and musical score by American composer Ian Hultquist. Developing an intense passion for music and film at an early age, Hultquist pursued his interests at Berklee College of Music, where he received a degree in Film Scoring and Composition. Founding member of indie bands Passion Pit and Aislyn, Hultquist also writes music for film, commercials and more. Film projects include The Diabolical and Thought Crimes.
According to the composer, “There are a few different themes that are prominent throughout the film. We have those few dark scenes that really show the couple hitting bottom. We have the beautiful, shimmery pieces that reflect their escapism. But, most importantly, we have their love theme: The Ballad of Bobbie & Jude This is the fingerpicked guitar piece that is hinted at a few times throughout the film. We never let the audience hear the full piece until the very end, or until we've come to a full realization of their relationship.”
As we listen to the score of the film, we have a sense that Bobbie and Jude are happy together – the plucked guitar seems to speak of lighter moments in their lives, but those are few and far between. Much of the music features a dark and haunted aspect as we follow the couple through the dangers of drug addiction and the actions they take in order to keep themselves high. Moments in which they are high seem to echo, representing a dreamlike quality that contrasts to the harsh reality felt by the couple once their addiction leads to hospitalization and separation.
The songs found on the soundtrack are mainly alternative and express all aspects of Bobbie and Jude’s relationship. There are love songs that speak of true love (You're Good Lovin, Cowboy Song), but there are also love songs in which the singer appears to be tormented by that love (Joy Boy, Everything Leads Back to You). There is a psychedelic quality to some of the tracks, perhaps relating to the couple’s state when they are high (Forget, Hard to Say, Bejeweled).
All-in-all, the Animals Soundtrack is a great listen. The score tells the story of the ill-fated love of Jude and Bobbie. The songs enhance that, but the score – which is presented to us before the songs on the album – is what really grabbed me and made me wonder what this film was really about. This is definitely an album worth checking out.