Score composer Timothy Wynn and sound music supervisor Charlie
Peacock both agree that a soundtrack is an essential part of any film
and specifically the new movie To Save A Life. As a Christian music
veteran, Peacock made it his goal to compile the soundtrack that best
matched the visuals of the movie. A fine ambition to be sure, but it
seems as though a rather strange line of thinking entered somewhere between the
original objective and the final product.
The irregularities are significant and reoccurring which pop-up even
before the film or soundtrack begins. It would seem that The Fray's
"How To Save A Life" would be a perfect fit for a movie called To Save A Life,
but that song doesn't show up. And neither does Switchfoot's rock
song "Mess Of Me" which played in the movie's trailer and features a
correlating theme with the film.
However, Switchfoot's classic, "Dare You To Move," does make it to the
big screen in a prominent, but seemingly out-of-place moment in To Save A Life.
But, both that song, and Needtobreathe's awkwardly positioned "Shine
On" didn't make it onto the eleven-song release.
The most noticeable songs that made it on the soundtrack are J-Rus's
"Bounce" and The Daylights' remix of "Outsider" (which is superior to
the original); both relatively unknown artists. The former track fits
well into the movie thanks to solid rap which sets the mood, while
the latter doesn't sport a dominant rock sound strong enough to
effectively impact its respective scene (though the lyrics are a
solid fit). In any event, both songs are pleasant additions to the project.
From there, the soundtrack loses much of its ties to songs which
had lyrical themes directly connected to the movie. Da Enforcerz's
rap tune, "Boom," is uneventful, but, lyrically, Flynn Adam offers a
strong message about the failing value of money on "500,000 Boomin'
Watts" ("there's just too much focus on the dollar bill").
Unfortunately, the lyrics are somewhat unintelligible thanks to all
the synth layered on Adam's vocals. Both Joy Williams and Kendall
Payne present hope on respective pop tracks "The Golden Thread" and
Although under-the-radar pop artist Jillian Edwards and her song "Go
Together" didn't make the movie, the ballad is still solid. "Fall
Back" didn't make To Save A Life either, but since Bobby Taylor's song is
practically the storyline of the film simplified into a great rap track,
one would think that "Fall Back" would have been the best song to end
the film. As it is, the most predominant artist to make the
soundtrack is Superchic[k] who ends the movie with their ever-popular
remix of "Hero."
As an aside, it was strange to see the final minutes of To Save A Life unfold on screen.
After the bridge and final chorus of "Shine On" ended the performance
portion of the film, "Hero" then followed with its third verse
snipped (the last verse didn't have much to do with teen suicide).
However, with 30 seconds of the song missing, the tune itself couldn't
outlast the credits which then caused the uneventful score to fill in
(as represented in "Future Plans"). It would have been better to
leave the entire Superchic[k] song intact and let the fading guitar
riffs end the movie.
Christian film makers often drop the ball when it comes to deciding
what songs go in a movie and where. From Hangman's Curse to
Fireproof, it's hard to find a movie where the right artists and the
songs are chosen to make a movie better. To Save A Life is no
different, but its fatal flaw is that there was seemingly no guide
for picking what music was put into the movie. The artist line-up was
stacked with regular contributors to CCM and musicians who are fringe
artists as well as new and older songs. With a seemingly limitless
pool of music to choose from, it's sad that the compilers of the To
Save A Life Soundtrack couldn't have been more imaginative.
- Review date: 2/18/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com