Soundtrack Information

The Straight Story

The Straight Story

Windam Hill Records (01934-11513-2)

Release Date: 1999

Conducted by Angelo Badalamenti

Format: CD

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Track Listing

1. Laurens, Iowa 2:45
2. Rose's Theme 2:55
3. Laurens Walking 4:1
4. Sprinkler 2:56
5. Alvin's Theme 4:25
6. Final Miles 4:06
7. Country Waltz 2:46
8. Rose's Theme (Variation) 3:07
9. Country Theme 3:38
10. Crystal 4:07
11. Nostalgia 6:51
12. Farmland Tour 3:09
13. Montage 7:24
  Total Album Time: 48:09

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Review: Straight Story, The

by Dan Goldwasser June 23, 2001
4 / 5 Stars

Angelo Badalamenti, best known for his work collaborating with director David Lynch, has reteamed with the famed director for a very different type of film than the usual David Lynch fare. The Straight Story is about an elderly farmer (Richard Farnsworth) who takes a trip to visit his ailing brother - but travels on his lawnmower. David Lynch's quote on the back of the album to The Straight Story sums it all up: "Tenderness can be just as abstract as insanity." The music, however, is anything but abstract or insane. Rather, Badalamenti gives us a very tender heartwarming mid-western score.

The opening track brings us right into the main theme from the film, a very nice thematic piano piece with (unfortunately rather obvious) synthesized strings. It's hard for me not to make the comparisons to my favorite Badalamenti score, "Twin Peaks" - both scores have an underlying 1950's chord sequencing to them. In fact, on "Lauren's Walking", I realized that it had the exact same chord sequence as the hit song, "Dream Lover". This merely added to my enjoyment of that cue, which has a great rhythm established with guitars and bass, and lead fiddles providing the tune. "Rose's Theme" is very Ennio Morricone-esque, with the main instrument being a plucked guitar, with more guitars and strings as backing.

One thing that stands out about this score, as with so many other European composers' works, is that there is actually very little (if any) underscore. Rather, the approach to scoring the film is to use a series of themes, and play them differently - the acting and the on-screen images should guide your emotions, the music just helps it out. This worked incredibly well for many of Badalamenti's scores, and it works just as well here. An interesting track is "Nostalgia", which has been processed to sound like a very old recording - but with all synth instruments.

This soundtrack was released through Windham Hill Records, which should give you an idea right off the bat as to the type of audience they are pitching this score to. But don't be fooled by that ploy - this album is for all soundtrack lovers. If you enjoy a calm score with some really memorable themes but without any action cues, then The Straight Story is definitely for you.

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