Brooklyn Soundtrack and Score

Music Composed By: Michael Brook

Songs By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on Colm Tólbín's novel, Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan as Ellis Lacey, a young woman living in a small town in southeast Ireland in 1952.  Her older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) arranges for Ellis to go to the United States to make a better life for herself, but the trip is not all it's cracked up to be.  Living in Brooklyn, New York and taking a job as a clerk in a department store, Ellis' homesickness is about to get the best of her when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), whose presence helps Ellis relax a little in her new home.  But when a letter comes from Ireland bearing bad news, will Ellis return to her first love, or continue to stay with this new one?

            In November 2015, Lakeshore Records released the score of Brooklyn, followed by the release of the soundtrack in December.  The score of the film was created by Canadian Michael Brook, a composer, producer and recording artist, whose musical career began as a guitarist.  When his music began to be used for such films as Heat and Any Given Sunday, Brook began to develop an interest in film composition.  Since then, he has created musical scores for such notable films as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Fighter, Into the Wild, Chavez, An Inconvenient Truth and Undefeated

            The score of Brooklyn features a mix of orchestral sound, acoustic guitars and piano.  The Opening Titles feature violins and woodwinds creating a sense of wonderment and awe that also appears in Arriving in America Seasick and Deck Discussion feature guitar/banjo string plucking that offer up a sense of humor as Ellis finds her exciting trip to America plagued by issues.  This string plucking shows up again in Bookkeeping, but is joined by a piano piece as Ellis starts to settle into her environment.  What begins as an upbeat score begins to develop a sense of sadness as issues contrive to push Ellis away from her life in the United States with her new beau and back to Ireland.  Tony and his love for Ellis are expressed through piano solos.

            The Brooklyn Soundtrack features songs from various artists, including Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, Linda Hayes, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, Ruth Brown, John Carty, James Blennerhassett, Seamus O’Donnell and Jim Higgins and more.  The music featured on this soundtrack represents the era of the film as well as the ethnicity of its main character.  Jazz was all the rage in the 50s and so there are tracks like Be Cool, What's It To You Jack, Zing a Little Zong and Five, Ten, Fifteen Hours which offer up a great variety of the types of jazz songs that could be found in the time period.  There are Irish classic waltzes like Boolavogue and My Wild Irish Rose.  Finally we are treated to an sad sounding love song entitled Casadh an tSúgáin.  Performed in Gaelic, the tune speaks of a yearning for a love that he has lost and a hope for a love that has yet to be.  The song's lyrics are featured in both Gaelic and English in the booklet included with the soundtrack.

            Usually, when I review a soundtrack that is sold separately from the score, I find myself raving about the soundtrack and somewhat dismissing the score.  This time around, I can honestly say that I enjoyed both the Brooklyn Soundtrack and the Brooklyn Original Motion Picture Score equally.  Michael Brook paints a perfect picture of the film through the musical score he has created and the songs on the soundtrack just add to that picture, giving us the full spectrum view of the time period, the locale and the emotions felt by the main characters in the film.  Both albums are definitely worth the listen!


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