Hearts In Atlantis


Decca Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I am not the world's biggest Stephen King fan. Nothing against the man, mind you. I've tried reading a few of his books - I read The Stand after finding out the song "Among The Living" by Anthrax was partially based on it - and just couldn't get into his work. I saw Maximum Overdrive (mainly because AC/DC did the soundtrack), and couldn't believe how terrible it was. (In all fairness, though, I absolutely love The Shawshank Redemption - one of the best films I have ever seen.)

All of this said, you might understand why I have not seen the movie Hearts In Atlantis, the latest film based on one of King's stories. However, I absolutely love the music - a combination of early rock music and neo-classical pieces by Mychael Danna. It's sentimental at the right moments, and a beautiful kind of creepy at others. If King himself wrote music, I'll bet he'd have created a mixture like this. (Let's just hope he wouldn't have hired the Rock Bottom Remainders to perform the songs.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Let's first focus on the original pieces. There are only four such selections, wisely interspersed among the more familiar material, but they convey a sense of simpler times many years ago - a time when you could leave the doors to your house unlocked without fear.Yet at times, especially in pieces like "Summer Vacation" and "The Hill," there are moments when the music turns ominous - from my reading of reviews of the film, most likely these come at appropriate moments in the plot. But Danna never keeps things dragging, thus allowing the music to evolve at its own pace while keeping the listener's interest.

I have but one complaint regarding Danna's work: why not emphasize the work of the glass harmonica? I tried to pay attention to hear when it kicked in, and I think I pegged it at certain times, but it's such a hauntingly beautiful instrument that I'd have been just as happy to have heard more of it in the mix.

The more familiar material from Hearts In Atlantis comes from the early days of rock music, when it was still evolving from doo-wop. Chubby Checker ("The Twist") and Chuck Berry ("Carol" - surprisingly, a song I wasn't familiar with) are here, as are three selections from The Platters - a group whose significance has sadly faded as time has passed. Listen to songs like "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and "Only You (And You Alone)" and discover just how important this group was to the development of popular music. (Plus, any chance I get to listen to Santo And Johnny's "Sleepwalk" is time well-spent.)

John Bissell's production of this album helps to bring everything together; the weaving of time-honored classics with Danna's original score is a very nice touch which keeps the listener interested. (As good as Danna's work is, had these selections been kept to themselves on the disc, I honestly think they wouldn't have had as much power.)

Hearts In Atlantis is the ideal kind of soundtrack, not only because you don't have to have seen the movie to appreciate the score, but also because it's the kind of disc you can put on the stereo at any time to just relax to. At a shade under 38 minutes, it's a relatively quick listen, but you'll find not a second is wasted.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Decca Records, and is used for informational purposes only.