Brian Tyler is one of Hollywood’s foremost “up and coming” film score composers.
Well okay fine, he’s technically not really an “up and comer,” as he’s already firmly established in the business, but given his relatively young age, and fairly recent ascendance to high-profile marquee films, I can’t really justify placing him among the old (and still working) lions like Danny Elfman, Elliot Goldenthal, or even Hans Zimmer.
Anyway, I first ran across Brian Tyler when perusing the internet for chase themes for use in a film project that never got off the ground.
One gem that I happened to stumble upon, was a track (or should I say “the” track) from Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
I can’t find a clip of it at the moment, but the track is called “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and it’s track 2 on the score.
Anyway, I was blown away by the unrelenting energy, and raw power exuded by this track.
For one thing, it’s epicly long, yet somehow manages to consistently ramp up the tension and energy level throughout it’s entire running time.
More importantly though, it’s an incredibly complex composition, and yet the emotions produced when hearing it are wholly elemental to the point of being primal.
In short, though I wouldn’t see Tokyo Drift until, well, just a few months ago; Brian Tyler was instantly marked as a high priority on my radar (or should that be sonar?).
Since then, though I haven’t seen all that many of the films he’s composed, I’ve gone out of my way to look up a track or 2 from some of his higher profile works.
So far, my favorite album of his has to be his work on Rambo.
While he was smart to include, and leave relatively untouched, the wonderful Jerry Goldsmith theme; every other piece of music on the soundtrack is absolutely stellar in it’s own right.
The action cues are violent and intense, and much like Tokyo Drift, have a very natural and engaging rhythm of rising tension throughout.
In particular, the Title Theme
and the final battle sequence track, No Rules of Engagement
Stand out as personal favorites of mine.
Another soundtrack of Tyler’s that I found to be quite good, was his far more subtle and restrained work on Annapolis.
Given the naval academy setting, and slightly downbeat tone of the movie, the more casual, and stripped down feel of the music fits all too well.
To be honest, Annapolis is just about the only one of Brian Tyler’s scores that I’ve heard without being able to tell he composed it right off the bat.
Annapolis serves as a good indication as to the depths of Mr. Tyler’s talents, as though he’s since gone on to become sort one dimensional as of late; it’s movies like this that remind us that he can in fact do other things.
While I’m on the topic of Mr. Tyler’s one-dimensionality, it should be mentioned that; in my opinion, he’s already begun to phone in some of his compositions.
To be fair, those movies were severely lacking in quality and inspiration, but that shouldn’t figure into the composer’s commitment to the project.
Unless they paid him in Pogs.
If they did that, then I’d take it all back.
Anyway, Tyler’s work on these movies was bland, and honestly felt like he opened up his drawer of previously discarded action cues and just threw them onto the album.
War had a few nice motifs here and there, but most of the action cues sounded more like noise than anything else.
It’s sad really, as I read somewhere that War represented the first time Tyler got to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra.
The most recent Brian Tyler soundtrack I’ve heard, was his work on The Expendables.
As one would expect, being as both films involve a collaboration with Sylvester Stallone; Tyler’s music for The Expendables shares it’s tone and instrumentation with Rambo.
The only difference being that Rambo was a varied and passionate score with some killer action cues, while The Expendables is a fairly generic, almost made for TV quality score comprised largely of mediocre action cues.
Don’t get me wrong, Brian Tyler’s a damn good composer, and as such his work on The Expendables is better than a lot of Hollywood action movies these days, however personally, I expected more.
I expected the bombast and energy level to match or exceed Rambo, and instead we ended up getting the equivalent of a “meow” in comparison to the former’s roar.
Despite this, Royal Rumble is a track that found a home on my Ipod:
As it stands, Brian Tyler is poised to take the reigns as composer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Given his current “sound” that he seems to be stuck fast to, I would think he’d be a good fit for the series.
If he can access his inner Rambo, and once again marry thematic and dramatic elements to his action cues, I think he’ll do just fine.
Here’s hoping Mr. Tyler hangs around to give us great music for years to come.
Oh yeah, and it’d be nice if he tried mixing up his style too.
Jus’ sayin’ is all…