How much is there to say about soundtracks? Well, as it turns out, a lot; otherwise we wouldn’t be here writing volume FIVE of Soundtracks are Underrated.
Today, we are going to be facing down Mother Nature’s immense power, with a soundtrack that could’ve been pulled straight out of an Attenborough documentary, for a movie that could’ve easily been produced by National Geographic. Behold, The Revenant.
There’s an eerie feeling to this soundtrack. Quite often, you are not quite sure of what instrument is being used to produce the sounds you hear. Is it the wind howling? Is it bones – animal, human? – rattling against other bones? Is it silence, deafening, elongated silence? Whatever it is, it feels guttural and kind of untouched. It’s almost as if you are listening to the Planet singing more than Spotify playing music in your headphones.
The Revenant is not for everyone. Heck, Ryuichi Sakamoto is not for everyone. But one thing I’ll tell you: when you are watching the actual movie, the soundtrack suits like a glove. For this column though, we are reviewing – and for the most part praising – a soundtrack for its merits when listened to on its own. So like I said… The Revenant is not for everyone.
This is a soundtrack that purposely repeats and re-purposes a small set of melodies. The songs dwell on certain tones, certain motifs, certain rhythms. It’s all (obviously) intentional though, as if the beauty of nature was here captured through the beating of drums and the dragging of strings. I think this way of composing songs really shined on the Main Theme. It speaks of sorrow, relentlessnesses and perseverance without saying a word.
I come back to The Revenant time and time again. I listen to it for a couple of hours and then I let it go for a few weeks. When I return, I find in it somewhat of a boost in momentum, like a reminder that no matter how defiant the odds might be, there’s always something out there that is worth living for; you just have to find the strength to carry on.