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  • Shaun Barrowes

Music for Mental Health - 1917 by Thomas Newman

This whole score is incredible. I remember watching the film for the first time in theaters and feeling such an incredible high in the final, climactic scene of the film. The juxtaposition with the drums, the intensity of the main character's run as all the soldiers burst from the trenches and storm the field. It's a scene I'll never forget. When a film can produce an unforgettable scene, you know they managed to align the stars, even if for only the briefest of moments. Most creators never attain that level of success.

Thomas Newman is a master of his craft--one of my favorite film composers of all time. He knows how to capture the mood with his somber strings, dissonant guitars, and dark pianos. Out of all his fantaseismic scores (using a term from my book, The Paradise Planets), 1917 might just be his best, and that's saying something. American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo, Shawshank Redemption--he clearly holds some indisputable masterpieces in his arsenal. But 1917 captures a rawness and honest depth that still surpasses his other works.

For this entry into my Music for Mental Health playlist, I would add the entire score for this film, not just a solitary track. The build throughout the score is what truly provides a cathartic release. When the score reaches that pinnacle, there's truly something special that happens. When I face my most difficult challenges and my deepest moments of despair, I need something stronger to pull me out. It matches the visual perfectly. If that soldier can run in a full sprint across an active battlefield to save the lives of his comrades, I can muscle my way out of this hole and back into the light.

I highly recommend a lot of Thomas Newman's scores, but if you're going to start with one, start with 1917!

Link to Playlist

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