NOPE.

From filmmaker Jordan Peele comes Nope, which has been met with so many varying reviews which sad to say have been mostly negative. Which is a great pity because I have to say I loved Get out and was ok with Us. I think that with both these movies I was more in love with the music than the movies, and it looks as if Nope is going to fall into the same category for me at least. Composer Michael Abels is in my humble opinion one of the most talented and innovative composers working in Hollywood today, he wowed many with his atmospheric score for Get Out and further cemented his place in film music fans minds with an even more affecting score for Us.

So Nope I was hoping would be a fusion of both and more, well it is indeed.  The composer has I think created some of the most memorable musical moments in films in recent years, take a listen to Nightbook’s for example, and his inventive soundtrack for Allen vs Farrow, (one of my own personal favourites) as well as the soundtrack for Bad Education, and these all-display moments of musical genius and include ample amounts of both undeniable talent and boundless versatility. The composer seems to have a knack of creating music that works so well for each project but also has to it a sound and a style that makes it just as functional as just stand-alone music.

The score for Nope is no exception to this rule, and I have to say that Abels music outstrips the actual movie for which it is written in both quality and entertainment values. I always remember watching Us and, in a sequence, thinking this music is great, so at the time I was more entertained by the drama and inventiveness of the music than the action on screen. Which is no way a criticism of the composer, on the contrary it is a plus for his prowess and artistry in scoring the picture. Nope has had a similar effect upon me I prefer to just listen rather than watch if you know what I mean, the film for me was a little lack lustre, with Peele I think suffering from the Shyamalan effect as in his first movie being awesome and all subsequent projects leaving audiences wanting and flummoxed.  The score however, never let me down and all my expectations of another great soundtrack from Abels were met and more.  

The work is a nail-biting collection of action themes the music filled with apprehension and having to it a visceral, malevolent, uneasy atmosphere, but saying that there are a few interludes that pop up here and there when the listener will probably think “where did this come from”?  Like, the cue Jupiter’s Claim for example, which could easily be from a western with a score by Steiner, Newman or even Broughton (think Silverado/How the West Was Won).

The composer at times combines a more conventional or Americana sound with action led music resulting in the magnificent cue entitled The Run, which is straight out of the Elmer Bernstein handbook “How to Score movies.” It is these little passages, and outbursts that keep the listener interested.

This is another interesting score penned by Abels, which is interspersed by various songs from the likes of Dionne Warwick, Cory Hart, and Jodie Foster. This is a score that I recommend without reservation, every cue is a triumph, every track wow’s and each piece delights.  So I suppose I am saying Yep to the music. And thanks to the composer for a Morricone tribute on the final track, brilliant.