Over Halloween weekend BBC aired the 2011 Oscar Award nominee “Drive,” completely re-scored by beloved Radio One DJ, Zane Lowe.
“Drive’s” original soundtrack was compiled by music supervisors Eric Craig and Brian McNelis, with executive music producer James Gibb. The film’s score was written by Cliff Martinez and included songs from Chromatics, Riziero Ortolani & Rina Ranieri, Desire and College featuring Electric Youth.
The film, being one of 2011’s darkest films, was excellent (but what film with Ryan Gosling isn’t?), and the original score was phenomenal and very well loved. The Independent even commented that it served as the film’s main character, which is why “Drive” fans were skeptical about news that Lowe planned to strip the movie of its addictive soundtrack and replace it with new pop tracks.
After the October 31st release, however, opinions were rather split; some said it was a good experience and others thought it was a complete car crash.
The only thing every review agreed on was the music created for the re-scoring was fantastic. Lowe’s line-up included songs from some of our favorite bands like Chvrches, BANKS, The 1975, The Neighbourhood, Foals and Bastille’s new 80s “Lost Boys” feeling song, “The Driver.”
However, great music does not a great score make, see our thoughts on “Divergent’s” soundtrack. Regardless of quality or listenability, the music needs to enhance or augment the visuals and narrative, especially when the existing score is so popular. This is where most reviewers felt Lowe lost it.
Some were gentle like The Telegraph's Kat Brown who commented that it was a great effort but still seemed like an unnecessary venture, “Lowe’s curation left no particular stamp on it beyond sounding quite similar.”
Other’s like NME's Eve Barlow were disappointed that such a great score fell flat and that it really “feels like a poor imitation of the original.” Barlow also noted that there was no edginess to the re-scored “Drive” compared to the dangerously balanced original score that tip-toed the line of cool and masculine without becoming cheesy.
Although there’s nothing like Twitter to reveal the world’s harshest critics. GigWise shared some tweets proving that on the night of the release, the site was a holy grail of disappointment and pessimism. Phrases like “cock foolery” and “an empty, horrible experiment” to thoughts of lighting oneself on fire littered the inter-webs in response.
However, through the cloud of negativity, a few beacons of light shined offering encouraging words to Lowe like complementing the “amazing job [he] did with curating the rescore of #Drive.”
In the end, we can conclude that although the venture may not have seemed completely necessary, it was an intriguing experiment of film music geekery. Whether or not the re-score held its own against the original or fell flat is completely dictated by taste and loyalty to the original.
We applaud Lowe’s effort and creativity in such an interesting experiment. A+ on curation, B- on everything else.