Soundtrack Information

Big Fish

Big Fish

Sony Classical (SK 93094)

Release Date: 2003

Conducted by Nick Ingman

Format: CD

Music from this album has been used in 1 trailer(s). Click to view which ones!

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Average Rating: 5 stars (1 user)

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Best of the Year

Best of 2003: Best Soundtrack
Best of 2003: Best Song

Track Listing

1. "Man of the Hour" - Pearl Jam
2. "Dinah" - Bing Crosby
3. "Everyday" - Buddy Holly
4. "All Shook Up" - Elvis Presley
5. "Five O'Clock World" - The Vogues
6. "Ramblin' Man" - The Allman Brothers Band
7. "Let's Work Together" - Canned Heat
8. Pictures
9. Big Fish (Titles)
10. Shoe Stealing
11. Underwater
12. Sandra's Theme
13. The Growing Montage
14. Leaving Spectre
15. Return To Spectre
16. Rebuilding
17. The Journey Home
18. In The Tub
19. Sandra's Farewell
20. Finale
21. End Titles
22. Jenny's Theme
23. "Twice The Love (Siamese Twin's Song)" - Bobbi Page and Candice Rumph
Track lengths not available for this album. If you have track length/time information for this album, please e-mail it to us at and we will add it to the database.


by Andrew Granade
March 6, 2004
[3.5 / 5]

Danny Elfman's and Tim Burton's names have been linked for so long, and their collective output so distinctive and influential, that the adjectives "Elfmanesque" and "Burtonesque" have become quite common.† We often speak of a composer copying Elfman's gothic, quirky sensibilities or a director drenching their canvas with Burton's visual style.† In fact, in many ways it is impossible to think of one without the other.

Well, for all those who want to sample from the pair's artistic collaborations, consider their latest work, Big Fish, an open buffet.† Themes, visual motifs, and symbols from throughout Burtonís oeuvre appear in this story of a young man wrestling with his feelings for his father and the man's legacy through the myths and tall tales he told.† Likewise, Danny Elfman's score is a delightful smorgasbord of musical treats that perfectly suits the storyís outlandish elements as well as its heart.

Many of the score's cues sound as though they were lifted wholesale from earlier Elfman projects.† "Pictures" has the same ethereal, unresolved progression of his score for Good Will Hunting; "Shoe Stealing" contains the driving folk elements from Sommersby; the following cue, "Underwater" evokes Edward Scissorhands with its childrenís choir, tinkling bells, and lush strings.† The longest cue, "Finale," is a mishmash of these sounds and others; it even contains a rollicking hoedown and a ponderous waltz over a bed of Elfman's now-familiar electronics.† Weaving through all these cues are two strong solo instruments, the fiddle and the guitar.† Their prominence, and the use of fiddle-inspired dances, is probably because of the story's Southern setting.† All told, the score is a sensory assault akin to the visual one presented in the film.

How, then, do these disparate musical sounds coalesce?† If, as I have intimated, the music works with rather than against the story, what holds them together so beautifully?† The movie's tone and theme accomplish this small miracle.† Burton and Elfman have long been drawn to, as the composer wrote in his liner notes for Music for a Darkened Theatre Vol. II, the mix of "sentimental and peculiar."† The key word for Big Fish is innocence, the trusting innocence of a small child who hears tall tales as truth and shapes his or her world around them.† Yet a child's† innocence holds room for the grotesque, a trait that children and the great literature written for them shares with many Southern authors.† Think of the frightening aspects of Grimm's Fairy Tales that children accept along with the knowledge that the knight will always rescue his lady, or the characters that people Flannery O'Connor's novels looking for redemption.† The sentimental and the peculiar, the innocent and the grotesque, working in symbiosis to produce something magical.

Elfman's score for Big Fish works on these symbolic levels as well as a variety of musical ones.† Every time you listen to this work, there will be more little corners in which to stick your ears.† The second time you listen you might notice the way Elfman changed the main theme in "Leaving Spectre" into a minor-key piano setting and then layered it with pitch bends and prepared-piano sounds.† The third time you might hear in "Rebuildling" the pulse-shift from a strong duple into a triple, a shift so slight as to be unnoticeable, especially when you are already listening on the level of the second-fiddle counterpoint.† This is a score that rewards careful attention.

Also included with the score are eight songs.† Usually songs on an album are of the "songs inspired by" variety and add nothing to the movie, but in this case, each song was carefully chosen to evoke place and sentiment in the movie.† From Buddy Holly's "Everyday," to The Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man," they are a welcome addition to this release.† It even contains one original song by Elfman, "Twice the Love (Siamese Twin's Song)," which has shades from his work for last year's Chicago.

After a rather lackluster year in film scores it is nice the have a strong score with depth to its thought and composition to close out the year.† Do yourself a favor and sample its delights.†


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