Welcome to the Rileys
Musical Score By: Marc Streitenfeld
Songs By: Various Artists
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In Welcome to the Rileys, when Doug (James Gandolfini) and Lois (Melissa Leo) Riley’s teenage daughter died, it destroyed their marriage. Doug finds himself conducting an affair with a local waitress while Lois becomes an agoraphobic, unable to leave the house for even the slightest of reasons. After his extramarital relationship is abruptly ended, Doug heads off to New Orleans to find himself. What he finds instead is a seventeen-year-old runaway, Mallory (Kristen Stewart), working at a strip club to make ends meet. What could have been the last straw in the Riley’s marriage ends up being the glue that bonds them together.
The soundtrack of Welcome to the Rileys features a musical score created by Marc Streitenfeld followed by songs from various artists including Kitty Daisy and Lewis, Odetta, Joe Simon, Shiny Toy Guns, The Kills and the Ying Yang Twins. German composer Marc Streitenfeld began working in the field of musical composition when, at the age of nineteen, he relocated from Munich, Germany to Los Angeles and began working as a musical assistant to Hans Zimmer. He became recognized for his work after Strietenfeld composed the soundtrack of A Good Year for Ridley Scott. Since then, the collaboration between composer and director has been very successful and Streitenfeld has worked on the musical scores of such successful Scott films as American Gangster, Body of Lies and Robin Hood.
The musical score of Welcome to the Rileys is mainly banjo-driven, somewhat of an homage to the New Orleans setting of the film. The score perfectly reflects the upward and downward swings of emotion endured by the characters in this movie, sometimes seemingly joyful and fun as in Rebirth and I Am Here. At other times the score is intense and eerie as in the title track, Meet the Rileys, and Headstone. The score features the use of banjo, guitar, piano and percussion performed by Streitenfeld himself, as well as harp, mandolin, upright bass, violin and cello. There are background noises such as whispers and scraping sounds that often give the score that sense of spookiness and intense sorrow.
The songs that follow the musical score feature a mix of genres including jazz, blues, dance, punk and rap. Their musical stylings mirror the musical score as they paint listeners a picture of the light and dark sides of the movie’s setting and characters. Songs like Going Up the Country, Go Down Sunshine and Teenager’s Prayer offer up the bluesy jazz persona of the locale. Songs like Le Disko, U.R.A. Fever and Jigglin represent the world Mallory lives in, a portrayal of the darker side of New Orleans.
As an accompaniment to a film, the Welcome to the Rileys Soundtrack perfectly represents the movie and its themes. Streitenfeld did an excellent job of representing the rollercoaster of emotions the main characters go through in this film, The selection of songs for the various segments of the film were spot on. As a stand alone album, the song selection may seem strange to those who don’t know the storyline, however the variety of tone and style of music will be the actual draw. The Welcome to the Rileys Soundtrack would make an excellent addition to any music aficionado’s soundtrack collection.