"I must say, I was waiting for the score to be released ever since the day I set my eyes upon the movie. I would say, I was delighted when the score was finally released. Unfortunately, in my country where pop and rock are considered gods, there ain't much of choices when it comes to scores. Soundtracks flooded the market here but few choice scores only made it across the Pacific. Now, this score has its magical moments especially the opening track. Sad but not sorrowful, happy but not joyful. There is a sense of yearning. Personally speaking, I wouldn't have thought of a better tune to kick-start a fairytale than this tune. You can almost hear the music narrating the tale, "Once upon a time there was a princess....". The second track depicts the scene whereby the villagers hunted for ogres in the movie and Shrek sneaked up behind them. Cleverly written, with cues to highlight the action, this track hits it climax when a dramatic tune approaches and you can almost hear the seven dwarves being herded away. :)The third track has two catchy tunes, one being the cue where Donkey was chased and a quieter and jocular tune when Donkey was trying his best to make a nuisance of himself and convincing Shrek to let him stay. An unexpected ending but interesting twist.The fourth track(Eating Alone) renders a lonesome tune with cello strings and guitar droning at the background while the fifth track(Uninvited Guests) really hits the magical genius button. Clever use of woodwind instruments and the whistle to depict the comical effect of Shrek's home being overran by fairy tale creatures. The climax with a full orchestra shows the bustling activities of the recently immigrated fairy tale creatures.The sixth(March of Farquuad) and seventh track(The Perfect King) has the sinister tune which associates the personality of this character. A triumphant march-like tune is carried throughout the eight track(Tournament Speech) but once again, JP and HGW managed to tickle the ribs by ending this tune in a surprising manner.From here onwards, the tune is recycled to suit the different cues and scenes. Notable tracks to be mentioned are "Dragon!/Fiona Awakens" which carries a frantic and bombastic pace and a great tune to boot,"Escape from the Dragon" is a cult favourite by many reviewers as well. Great techno track. "Helmet Hair" shows the serenity that follows after escaping from the dragon and the disappointment when the Princess found out that Shrek wasn't the knight that she was hoping for. "Singing Princess" was featured in the movie and believe it or not, you can hear the explosion as well :) Great for laughs. "Ride the Dragon" and "Transformation" was heard in partialty in the soundtrack release track "Love's first kiss".If you want my opinion, I would say, great and superb music. Different from the usual Disney fare of percussions galore. The tracks was well-orchestrated and you can very well say that this score is the icing on the cake for this movie. I would be interested to wait for the next JP and HGW collaboration. Just wondering though, how would they have fared if they were to compose for Lord of the Rings instead of Howard Shore?"
Five Star Music; Subpar Album!
Zachary S. Houp | Fleetwood, PA USA | 12/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By far the most consistently pleasing composers in the film industry have to be the twofold powerhouse of Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell. Every collaboration, every film, every score, every track is an absolute treasure, so diverse, so thematic, so perfectly composed and integrated into the film. Obviously, since there efforts have thus far culminated in only animated films, there is a wacky and lighthearted style that the more somber listener might not find appealing, but with even the slightest ambition towards music that is intentionally this fun and silly, Shrek will appeal with unlimited satisfaction. In fact, the only downside to this CD that so abundantly encompasses all of the major, minor, and splendid passages from the film--including the hilarious songs--is that the style of the film, intentionally melding the crude parody of medieval fantasy and pop culture, focuses to a far greater extent on the soundtrack as opposed to the far superior work exemplified in the score. Williams and Powell are THE best scorers for animated films in all of Hollywood, so it is somewhat disappointing that they were not utilized to their fullest capacity. And so the detriment that this introduces to the album is that most tracks are under a minute; none are longer than three.Regardless, however, of the unfortunate but unavoidable state of the CD, every track is diverse, introducing new music, themes, styles, sounds that are all splendid listens in their own right, and yet still work to form a seamless whole. Starting simply and beautifully with the Princess/Love theme, transitioning to Farquaad's brash brass march, and concluding with Shrek's techno/heroic masterpiece, this CD never fails to impress. It addresses every possible style and sound, creating new ones, and works to provide such a well-rounded whole that it effects equally as heavily divided symphony. This is definitely one of the few albums that can be listened to from beginning to end, without hesitation, redundancy, or boredom. Behind every second or moment is a major theme reimagined or redeveloped; or a completely new theme that comes out of nowhere, pleasing equally, and developed just as well. Likewise, this is one of the few CD's with NO superfluous noise that is intended to flesh out the length of the CD; everything is listenable, everything is beautiful, everything is creative, well scored, and perfectly tells the story in an audio poem.And so I cannot help but give the MUSIC a five, while the inevitable construction of the CD gets a three. This is a perfect listen alongside Williams' and Powell's other great scores for Antz and Chicken Run. In fact, it probably COULD have been the greatest of these scores, if not for the misguided devotion to a soundtrack throughout the film; but, alas, it is understandable since it was more an aspect of style than selling-out, which is too often the case. In short, what these two fabulous composers have written here is a truly superb jaunt into a fantasy world, complete with ogres, princesses, vertically challenged kings--and modern-day depravity to boot. In this film score, as well as their previous efforts, Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell have brought revitalized life back into the animated film score, changing from a once frivolous and unimportant entity, to an entirely pleasing and fun experience that models and greatly influences the film itself. Every work that they produce is a success, and the only criticism I can attribute to them is that they are not prolific enough in the genre; but when they are, you can be sure I'll be at the store waiting to pick it up!"
Good but did not live up to expectations
Keith Hahn | Warrensburg, NY United States | 12/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, after waiting for months, the Shrek score finally came out. While it's definitely a great listen, I was disappointed by the length of the cues. Most are less than two minutes and barely long enough to enjoy.
Nevertheless, I am thoroughly enjoying my continued listening of the cd. The best track is #14: "Escape From the Dragon." It's a kind of rock/techno track with the main theme worked in."
Keith Hahn | 12/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At last! Shrek's amazing score by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell is available on CD! The music lets you relive the magic of the movie, from the haunting beauty of "Fairytale" and "Singing Princess" to the lonely solitude in "Eating Alone." From the ominous "March Of Farquuad" and "Fairytale Deathcamp" to the heroic adventure of "Escape from the Dragon." Not to mention the humor with the songs "Welcome to Duloc" and "Merry Men." None of the songs are very long (the longest being just under three and a half minutes) with several songs under a minute, but every second of this CD takes you on a musical journey that I shall cherish happily ever after. Thank You DreamWorks!!!!"
Over all great score.
James Thomas Jeans | Glenwood Acres, TX USA | 10/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Harry Gregson-Williams for quite some time (and to a lesser extent, John Powell). Gregson-Williams is known for working with Hans Zimmer (they worked together on the soundtrack for The Rock) and he is also known in the video gaming community for his work on the Metal Gear Solid franchise (his take on the theme, not originally composed by him, is absolutely breathtaking in both the second and third games).
So it was no shock to me that I absolutely adore his work on the Shrek franchise. I can't say much here that hasn't been said by other reviewers, but I will say that the strongest work on the soundtrack involves the more serious, epic pieces (of which there are far too few).
Stand out tracks, for me, are "Fairytale", "Escape the Dragon", "Ride the Dragon", "I Object", and "Transformation/End".
The action theme of the film is used perfectly throughout the film, but it shows up far too rarely on the disc. I'm not sure if it's actually present less, or if it was a less-is-more kind of thing when it did play in the film. Regardless, it's a beautiful composition (though it does remind me of the "hero" theme from Deep Blue Sea).
You can feel Gregson-Williams' influence on "Escape the Dragon", as there are similar pulsing electric beats that are reminiscent, to me, of his arrangement of the Metal Gear Solid 2 main theme (which to this day remains one of my favorite pieces of soundtrack music ever - it's exciting, it's patriotic, it's epic. What more does one need?)
There's also some beautiful solo guitar work on this score that's a bit reminiscent of Trevor Rabin, but excellent regardless. My only gripe is that the disc feels a bit short in running length, but I think that's because a portion of the soundtrack was dedicated to pop and rock tracks, which show up on the second album.
If you're a fan of Gregson-Williams, Powell, or just film music in general, I strongly recommend picking this disc up. It'll make you sad and it'll get your blood racing."