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 "Rollercoaster."
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
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