Re: The Danny Elfman Appreciation Thread
“Making Christmas” is a jolly and cheerful song from Halloween Town that explores their exhilaration of celebrating Christmas. The melody exploits the humor behind the Halloween Town’s deranged idea of what Christmas is to them. The use of the melody from “Jack’s Lament”, when Jack appears, as he observes everyone’s gifts is nicely used. The music during the inter cutting between both citizens of Halloween Town and Christmas Town preparing for Christmas does a nice job of differentiating the tone of both moments simultaneously. The music when Halloween Town’s prepping gifts is more hectic, murky, and over the top, while Christmas Town is a lot more euphoric and graceful. This song also gives the impression of anticipating Christmas day both from Santa & his elves, Jack & Halloween Town, and the children (of the real world) expecting their gifts. It succeeds with putting me in a Christmas spirit.
“Oogie Boogie’s Song” might be another song that might come off too vile and crude. Again it deals with threatening Santa Claus, but it‘s all in diabolical fun. The antagonist of the movie Oogie Boogie sings about what he plans to do with Santa in gruesome ways, while singing about how infamous and sordid he is. It’s a sinister, dark, and jazzy song, which is an homage to the old Cab Calloway and Max Fleischer cartoons. Ken Page brought the perfect amount of menace and oomph to the character. Can’t imagine anybody else playng Oogie but Page. With that deep larger than life voice of his.
The bittersweet, somber, and tender melody of “Sally’s Song” is basically Sally’s theme, but it also can be appointed as the love theme for Jack and Sally. Elfman really goes for the unrequited love approach between the two characters with both the lyrics and melody. The song deals with her passion and affections for Jack even though he’s unaware of her feelings for him. Catherine O’Hara beautifully performs this romantic song that let‘s the audience recognize that even a rag doll can fall in love as any normal person can.
The melody for “Poor Jack” is only heard in this song. I don’t recall hearing it anywhere else in the score or film. It’s a very remorseful song where Jack realizes that he might’ve ruined Christmas for everyone only to please his ego. So he takes a moment to self reflect on what went wrong. Begins realizing that taking over Christmas rejuvenated him as the Pumpkin King to prepare for next Halloween, but first he has to find Santa before Christmas is ruined. Elfman’s performance really digs deep into Jack’s grief for failing himself. I really empathize for Jack b/c his intentions though misinterpreted were noble, admirable, but executed erratically that didn’t appeal to those celebrating Christmas. It’s a poetic song that shows Jack taking responsibility for his mistake and trying to reconcile for ’em.
There’s two semi songs, for lack of a better word, in “Finale/Reprise”. “Finale” opens when Jack returns to Halloween Town after saving Sally and Santa from the Oogie Boogie’s clutches. Halloween Town begin singing and praising Jack’s return (after being presumed dead) as the melody for “Jack’s Lament” underscores this momentous and triumphant event. It suddenly switches into the “What’s This?” theme after Santa pays one last visit to cause snowing in Halloween Town for the first time. The bewildered townspeople begin singing “What This?”. Some of the citizens of HT become more or less enthused about Christmas after that experience. The “Sally’s Song” tune kicks in to carry the rest of the finale. As Sally and Jack perform a duet together and embrace one another. Giving this macabre and gloomy score/movie/story a romantic and satisfying ending.