Sound — 10
Suspense and intrigue are doled out in large quantities throughout Leonardo di Caprio's new movie Inception and the same can be said for the movie's soundtrack. Produced by Hans Zimmer in collaboration with Lorne Balfe, Christopher Nolan, and Alex Gibson, and featuring guitarist Johnny Marr of Modest Mouse, The The, and The Smiths fame on eight of the twelve tracks. The music has all of the traits inherent in suspense thrillers like foreboding strings, creepy sound effects, dark Gothic impressions, voluminous vibrating flurries from the horn section, steep punctuations in the drum clefts, and intensely brooding spins coming from the guitar riffs. Zimmer has an instinct for inducing natural changes along the melodic progressions and metamorphosising a calm current into an avalanche of torrents that resonate like a raging typhoon in your ears. The music is gripping and sonically enlarged showing a similar vibe to the music of Liam Neeson's film Taken and Ewan MacGregor's Deception. The soundtrack literally documents the movie starting with the roiling projectiles and eerie Gothic arches of Half Remembered Dream to the dark, emulsifying tones of Time. The soundtrack goes through a gauntlet of scenes intensifying the emotions of the actors and drawing the listener deeper into the action. The intense crescendos and receding tides of Radical Notion are intricately structured, and the willowy strings and gentleness of horns along Old Souls project a pensive brooding. The towering climax in 528491 erupts into pixilated splinters that scatter like crushed crystals, and the heavy mood of Dream Within A Dream is accentuated by soaring strings and entwining guitar strands. Zimmer stays true to the dream theme of the movie, only these dreams are more like nightmares and not of the vampire variety but ones that feed people's fears and their deadliest thoughts.
Lyrics — 8
The tracks are mainly instrumentals with the exception of Waiting For A Train which has a woman singing in the background in French. Zimmer lets the music tell the tale putting subliminal messages into the listener's mind and creating a maudlin mood. For purposes of UG's rating system, I have a rated the lyrics based on how well the music can be deciphered into words.
Overall Impression — 10
The tracks are a personal preference. Some fans may like the funeral calmness of Paradox and others may prefer the rapid ticking and techno-embossed whipping of Mombasa. The important factor is that the soundtrack matches the movie's storyboard, so when you listen to it, you can recount the scenes and picture the action. It seemed vital to Zimmer that he makes listeners feel like they are in the middle of the action, and he does this very successfully.