Film music overload

Film music overload

Lately I’ve experienced something painful, something that was probably inevitable given my relentless listening habits. After months upon months of listening to nothing but film scores—one after the other, hour after hour—I’m suffering from acute (but reversible) film music overload.

It’s no shock that stuffing your ears with the same thing for a lengthy period of time will result in burnout. However, I have always taken pride in the fact that “film music” is such a broad umbrella, and that the moods, styles, and instrumentation that it encompasses are, in effect, limitless.

But clearly, there is a limit.

I feel bloated with dramatic, orchestral music. I’ve strangely felt the desire to revisit some pop music and bands I thought—as a grown man with refined taste—I had put behind me. Not that I’ve sworn never to listen to “popular” music again. I just didn’t think it was necessary. But my ears and my soul have been demanding a dramatic change of pace; my insatiable thirst for orchestral narrative has been interrupted with cravings for catchy bass lines and vocals.

I think the other factor contributing to this overload has been the continuous line of score after score producing a blurring of lines between scores. As stated earlier, there is indeed a great variety in this genre; no two scores are alike, nor two composers. But there is a zone wherein these many different circles overlap, a common style and sound that I gravitate towards. When all I’ve been listening to is film music, it has become difficult appreciating the unique nuances of different scores and composers.

Watching an excellently scored film yesterday, I was keenly aware of this overload when the music was clearly having less of its potential impact on my senses, simply because of my all-you-can-eat diet of similar music.

I think I’ve been stuffing myself so full of good film music that it all starts to taste the same. It’s like Dave Ramsey says: if all you eat is lobster, it starts to taste like chicken (or something like that). Film music is fine dining to my palette: escargot and cabernet. And any wise food enthusiast will acknowledge that the exquisite meals have to be balanced with simpler, more “home-style” fare to be fully appreciated.

Basically, my musical taste buds have been desperately craving a little variety. So I’ve given it to them, and have been enjoying some wonderfully-written David Bowie songs and old pop standbys like Michael Jackson. Still challenging and layered, but infectiously and wholly different than film music.

This is far from an out-and-out film score fast, though. I’m not sure I could do that. I’m just breaking up the courses with a little sorbet.