“This may be a weird statement to make about one of North America's most popular rock bands, but the Black Keys are survivors. The majority of the duo's colleagues from the early 2000s have since called it quits, but the workmanlike Akron boys Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney kept their heads down, dutifully churning out gutshot blues-pop mimicry that carried just enough of a punch to establish them as, at the least, a reliable stadium-act opening band.” more
Emmy Rossum has successfully embodied the antiquated spirit of many American classics, ranging from the ’20s to the ’60s in her cover album “Sentimental Journey.” Rossum adds a modernized vocal clarity to several wholesome ballads and jazz tracks that were childhood staples in her household.
Each track is intended to correlate with one specific month, and “Sentimental Journey” represents January as the launch of another year. Rossum was smart in meticulously choosing songs of the past to emotionally encompass her musical calendar. This deliberate arrangement of songs could classify “Sentimental Journey” as a concept album.
One of the most traditional soundtracks for a Wes Anderson film, Grand Budapest Hotel's music sidesteps pop songs in favor of pieces that highlight the story's setting. Befitting a caper set at a Central European hotel in the '30s, Alexandre Desplat's score and performances by ensembles including the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra create a lavish, Old World feel. Budapest's orchestral pieces, which include “Concerto for Lute and Plucked Strings I. Moderato” and “The Linden Tree” are particularly charming, setting a genteel mood echoed by the traditional arrangement of “Moonshine.” Meanwhile,Desplat's score feels akin to his twinkly, mischievous music for Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was a caper of another sort. Indeed, this might be one of the twinkliest scores to an Anderson film, which is saying something. However, Desplat gives these sparkles nuance and depth, creating an entire vocabulary from them that spans the dreamy “Mr. Moustafa,” “Night Train to Nebelsbad”'s jazzy insistence, the lively wit of “The Society of the Crossed Keys,” and the oddly comforting “The War (Zero's Theme).” Most excitingly, the high-stakes nature of a heist film like this one allows Desplat to inject more drama and suspense into Anderson's ultra-stylish world, and at times his pieces echo iconic scores such as Dr. Zhivago and The Third Man. The winding melody that is one of the score's major motifs takes on a sinister cast on “The Family Desgoffe und Taxis” and “J.G. Jopling, Private Inquiry Agent,” while “The Lutz Police Militia” and “Last Will and Testament” add some menace – however stylized – to the proceedings. As always, the collaboration between Anderson, Desplat, and music supervisor Randall Poster sets the mood perfectly, whether that mood is innocence, mischief, mystery, or beauty.
Review by Heather Phares ALLMUSIC GUIDE