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Everything about this listening experience is surreal. I'm listening to an album written for a movie. A movie written by a band. Whose chief influence is movie soundtracks. The cover for Imaginaerum: The Score depicts what I'm guessing is Dobby from the Harry Potter series walking in the snow to a building. A building with no cars, yet one of the lights is lit. Despite the ground being covered with snow, the trees seem immune to snow buildup. The 'o' in 'Score' is a keyhole, why again? It doesn't look like an 'o'. And why is the movie labeled as being only by Nightwish? Did they do all the camerawork and filming themselves? Did the film crew join the band?
But the most important question here is this: If the movie's soundtrack was just going to be stripped-down orchestral versions of the songs from Imaginaerum, then WHY THE FUCK WOULDN'T YOU USE THE STRIPPED-DOWN ORCHESTRAL VERSIONS OF THE SONGS YOU GUYS ALREADY PUT ON THE SPECIAL EDITION OF THE ORIGINAL ALBUM?!
Is this real? Am I on "Punk'd" here? Is this just the result of a bad acid trip? If so, when the hell could I ever afford any acid on which to trip? Someone please help me! My blind affection for Nightwish is being tested by this obnoxiously pointless soundtrack!
Just to get it out of the way, here are the few good points The Score offers: "Wonderfields," "Deeper Down," and "From G to E Minor." "Wonderfields" (also known as "Rest Calm") is probably the best tune in the entire soundtrack, because not only does its arrangement differ from its original version on Imaginaerum, it manages to surpass the original when you remove the droning power chords and labored drumming. Go figure, one of the weakest tracks on Imaginaerum turns out to be the best in the movie soundtrack. "Deeper Down" is essentially "The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove" with some intense orchestral flourish at the end. I enjoyed it. "From G to E Minor" is the 2nd rehashing of the original album's "Taikatalvi" (the first being the mediocre "Find Your Story"), but it ends up being the superior version if only because it was given special attention, what with being the finale and all. These three songs are the best this soundtrack has to offer, and with the exception of "Wonderfields," they're not quite as good as their original Imaginaerum counterparts.
Well then, you know what that means: the other 10 tracks are mediocre or worse. Mostly, these tracks are just lazy "ambient" orchestral rehashes of songs from Imaginaerum, and while I was probably aware the film's soundtrack would rely on the preceding album for a good chunk of its melodic themes, I wasn't expecting blatant copy-and-paste tracks like "A Crackling Sphere" (a.k.a. "Arabesque") and "Sundown" (a.k.a. "Turn Loose the Mermaids"), or miserably dull pseudo-ambient tracks like "Spying in the Doorway" and "Hey Buddy," both of which are the bare minimum of orchestral music--extremely quiet sustained notes, a melodic line here and there, and no distinguishing features whatsoever. "Dare to Enter" does the whole ambient thing much better overall, but it, too, is just dull and forgettable.
Really, there's not a whole lot left I can say about The Score. It dutifully parrots its namesake album while offering very little for the devoted fan, such as myself. It's absolutely miserable to sit through, but the orchestra itself isn't to blame here--they do their jobs admirably well, even spectacularly at times. Rather, I place the blame both on Tuomas and myself. Firstly, I blame Tuomas for thinking this was worthy for retail release at a $10 price tag; sure, it's cheaper than your usual album, but it's still unforgivable.
As for me, I blame myself for being dumb enough to actually expect anything truly worthwhile from The Score and shell out $10 to listen to this mess. I consider myself a die-hard Nightwish fan, but The Score did absolutely nothing for me except incite rage and frustration. Avoid it at all costs, people.