Taking Woodstock

Composed By: Danny Elfman

Distributed by: La-La Land Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Taking Woodstock is a new comedy from director Ang Lee based on the memoirs of Elliot Tiber.  Mr. Tiber (played by Demetri Martin) inadvertently played a role in making the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the historic event it became.  The festival was supposed to take place in Wallkill, New York, but the permit was lost.  Elliot, who is trying to save his family’s motel from foreclosure, offers the producer at Woodstock Ventures (Jonathan Groff) use of his motel for the shows promoters.  He then introduces the producer to his neighbor (Eugene Levy) who just happens to run a 600-acre dairy farm down the road from the motel.  Thus, the 60s historic pop culture event known as Woodstock is born.

            The Taking Woodstock musical score was composed by Danny Elfman, formerly the lead singer and songwriter for the band Oingo Boingo.  Elfman first began dabbling in musical scoring in 1985 for Tim Burton’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure .  Since then, Elfman has created quite a résumé for himself in the musical scoring business having composed film scores for such movies as Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Men in Black, Mission Impossible, Good Will Hunting, Wanted and more.

            I loved the music of the 60s and early 70s - musicians of the age experimenting on electric guitars and synthesizers creating a sound that was utterly unique at the time.  Danny Elfman’s approach to the soundtrack of Taking Woodstock was to transport us back to that era, using the instruments and the musical stylings of the time period.  In a series of tracks (8-10) called Groovy Thing, Elfman perfectly represents this period musical score very reminiscent of songs like Tambourine Man and Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There Is A Season)

            Of course, not everything is psychedelic sound.  Elfman does include some rather introspective acoustic guitar performances that are rather soothing in nature.  But mostly this is one GROOVY soundtrack that perfectly describes the time period of the film.

            I enjoyed the Taking Woodstock Original Motion Picture Score specifically because I enjoyed the music of the Woodstock era.  Had I not enjoyed the music of that era, I would have still enjoyed the acoustic guitar pieces scattered throughout.  Danny Elfman rarely disappoints me and the Taking Woodstock Original Motion Picture Score is anything but disappointing.


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