Tim Burton's Corpse Bride was the second film Tim Burton directed (was also co-directed by MIke Johnson) in 2005. It was often compared to TNB4C. Which I think isn't fair. Both are two different movies, universes, and stories. I thought the movie was good. Eventhough I heven't seen the movie since '06' but I remember enjoying it. I find it to be quite underrated and forgotten. Eventhough it was nominated for Best Animated Movie in '06'. I don't hear much talk about it. The animation is of course stunning. The cast are all great. With a tragic and touching story with a lot of heart, imo.
Anyways Elfman's score to TBCB also gets compared to his own TNB4C score. Once again they're two different scores. TNB4C is more of a musical. It has 10 songs with themes based on them used throughout the score. While TBCB has 4 songs and with none of the themes based on them throughout the score. Except Elfman's unreleased song "Erased" which finally got released on the Elfman/Burton Box earlier this year. I'll get more into that ("Erased" song I mean) later. His TBCB score is a lot more tragic, touching, and dramatic than his "Nightmare" score. It's also jazzy and very Victorian-esque. The score goes through many different moods and emotions.
There are 4 songs on the album but, I'll talk about two of them. "Remains of the Day" easily the best song on the album. As well as the best scene in the movie, imho. The reason why b/c Danny Elfman himself sung it and wrote it. (Some of the lyrics were co-written by the writer John August). Elfman also voices the cool character (Bonejangles), who performs the song in the film, throughtout the film. Bonejangles is also (of cousre) just made of bones like Jack Skellington. Bonejangles was also my favorite character in the movie. And I wouldn't mind seeing a spinoff movie with just him and his band playing songs in the afterlife. It was amazing hearing Elfman perform this song on the big screen. A real treat. It was also amazing to hear it on the album. I still love it. The song is very jazzy and fun. And tells the Corpse Bride's origins. I can tell Elfman had a lot of fun on this song. Eventhough it kind of messed with his throat b/c of his tone of voice for the character (according to him on an interview on the dvd). I rank this song right up there with his best "Nightmare" songs. It should've been nominated for an oscar for best original song. It would've been awesome (and mindblowing, imo) to see Elfman performed it on stage at the Oscars. I'm posting two videos of this song. One with the actual scene and one with just the song. It's really that good.
"The Wedding Song" is a very celebratory song. B/c Victor decides to marry Emily (Corpse Bride) and bringing pretty much everybody from the afterlife to the real world to have their wedding. It's Elfman's wedding version of "Making Christmas" (from his TNB4C score). I love the "Huzzah!" bit in ghis track. I get chills everytime. Elfman also did his own thing with the "Here Comes The Bride" bit. A very fun, pleasant and happy song. Im posting two different videos for the same reasons as before.
The other two songs are great as well and work in their particular scenes. But I want to get to the score. "Main Titles" which plays the main theme is very touching, sad, and kind of magical at the same time. It's not as dark, quirky, or wacky as Elfman's other main titles for Burton. It even tugs the heartstrings a little.
"Victor's Piano Solo" is a piano version of the main theme. It really captures what Victor's feeling as he's playing the piano. I've heard some say he might've of been influenced by Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" at the beginning of the cue. I'm not familiar with that piece. But I've heard that both pieces start off kind of similar. A homage? But "Victor's Piano Solo" is a very nice piece. It starts off tragic then becomes powerful and triumphant before it's abrupt ending. It felt like it was building up to something before it got cut off. Still a wonderful piece of music.
"Into the Forest" starts off sad and lonely. The music captures Victor's frustrations with being a groom. It also captures the atmosphere of the forest to after in which Victor failed to recite his wedding vows correctly and causing a ruckus at the wedding rehearsal. So he wanders off into the woods and begins reciting his vows and perfoming his groom duties correctly. The main theme becomes victorious as this happens. Then the music becomes haunting and intense after Victor puts the ring on what looked like a branch but turns out to be the Corpse Bride's/Emily's hand. As Victor runs away from Emily as she stalks him the music gets scary and more threatening. Really capturing Victor's fear of this ghost/zombie and waht she might do to him. When really she just wants to be aquainted with her groom (which is in this case Victor) and not harm him. The cue has a range of emotions.
"Moon Dance" is nothing but beautiful. It really captures Emily's beauty and emotions. As well as her freedom from the afterlife. She's enjoying her new life and second chance at marriage with someone (Victor) she thinks loves her but actually doesn't. Although short cue it's another highlight on the album.
'Victoria's Escape" is another dark cue. That plays with the theme used from "Into the Forest" which is probably the corpse bride theme. It follows Victoria (who Victor is supposed to marry but was then taken back to the afterlife when Emily found out he was trying to reunite with Victoria to escape from her) sneaking out of her home after being held captive by her very demanding and strict parents. It also takes place after she saw Victor get taken back to the afterlife. So she then escapes and goes to the church to tell the Father (who happens to be the priest who marries her and Victor) about this ghost that took Victor. But the Father thinks she's full of it and sends her back to her parents. Funny scene. The music really builds up into something as she gets closer and closer to the church. I just love the use of that haunting theme.
"The Piano Duet" is another beautiful piece done on piano as Victor tries to reaquaint with Emily after breaking her heart. He then starts to become attracted to Emily after this duet. I really like the use of the "Tears To Shed" ( 1 of the 4 songs on the album which this one deals with Emily's heartbreak after Victor deceived her) theme and the main theme in this piece as both themes begin to bond as the two begin to themselves.
"New Arrival" is just a short, fun, and jazzy piece that's got a lot of swing to it. It plays as a new arrival comes to the afterlife. I posted this track b/c you don't get to hear Elfman write this type of music often. It's a real treat.
"The Party Arrives" is another dark and fun track. That's goes with a similar approach to "Into The Forest" as the dead come to the real world to have Victor ansd Emily's wedding. As the dead arrive the humans run for their lives thinking they're in danger. Soon they realise they're only their loved ones who have long passed. The living and the dead then get reaquainted.It's a fun and spooky (as the humans run away from the dead) track that gets touching and peaceful ( as the dead reunite with their living loved ones) and concludes kind of woeful as the wedding begins.
"Victor's Wedding" is a very heartbreaking track. B/c Emily's been waiting for this moment (to get married) all of her life and even died b/c of it. This is a happy moment for both her and Victor as he exchanges vows. She sees Victoria outside the window heartbroken. Instead of being selfish and stealing someone elses groom just b/c she wants to get married so badly. She calls off the wedding. So Victor and Victoria can be together instead. Elfman really captures all the things I've just described with his music in this scene. It's really sweet and a very touching track, imo. That plays the main theme very sorrowful.
"The Finale", "End Credits Part 1 and 2", and the 4 bonus tracks of source music performed by Bonejangles and his bone boys (which are a lot of fun) are all great. But I'll wrap it up.
I do like to mention one more track. I mentioned it before a couple posts back. This track was never released. Until it finally was on the Elfman/Burton Box. It's called "Erased". It has lyrics to the main theme. And was never used in the film, Elfman's demo of the song was posted on YT. It's really touching and really captures Victors feelings and isolation from the real world.And him accepting his place in the afterlife. I assume this took place when he was trapped in the afterlife. nd found out from the new arrival that Victoria married someone else b/c of her strict parents. It's performed well by Elfman. I think the song is also worthy of an oscar nomnation for best original song. The funny thing is Depp would've perfomed it b/c Victor's the one singing it. But it got cut at the last minute. They never were able to record it with Depp. Bummer. It would've been interesting to hear pre-Sweeney Depp perform this. This definitely would make a great addition to the score. It also shows why Victor wanted to marry Emily. So it adds more to the story. TPTB should've kept it in. I believe "Erased" goes right up their with "Sally's Song" (from TNB4C), imo. It's really that good.
But I think Elfman's TBCB score is great. Very well written. It doesn't feel like a rehash of his "Nightmare" score. In fact, it's kind of underrated b/c people tend to bash the songs b/c they thinks it's not as good as his "Nightmare" songs. I disagree. I think the songs and score is right up there with "Nightmare's". I also think the score was robbed of an Oscar nomination for best original score. But I think it's another underappreciated score from Elfman in the last decade. That deserves more appreciation.