Instead of paying homage to John Williams' celebrated score for Richard Donner's 1978 Superman film, as composer John Ottman did with Bryan Singer's 2006 reboot Superman Returns, Hans Zimmer has crafted an entirely new set of themes for Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder's 2013 re-reboot of the franchise. Closer in tone to the composer's work on Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the 15-track Man of Steel is grittier and darker than any of its predecessors, due in large part to Zimmer's proclivity for non-stop, thunderous percussion, though it retains enough goose bump-inducing moments to be called a proper Superman score, especially on the elegiac "Look to the Stars" and its soaring counterpart (pun intended) "What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?," both of which dutifully reflect the iconic superhero's propensity for both goodness and might. A Limited-Edition Deluxe version added bonus tracks.
Director Sacha Gervasi's 2012 Alfred Hitchcock biopic was less of a proper biography and more of a breakdown of the events leading up to the release of 1959's Psycho. Composer Danny Elfman's elegant score reflects that sense of minutia, offering up a scant 38 minutes of material, much of which clocks in at under a minute. Elfman's signature blend of dread, whimsy, and mischief serves the tone of the story well, and while it may not be as stocked with memorable themes as some of his better-known works, it dutifully conveys the pathos, unpredictability, and humor of its source material.
Neko Case hasn't had much need to prove her credentials as a major artist since making her solo debut with 1997's The Virginian, but she's been refining her skills in the recording studio on each subsequent release, and with 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood she's fashioned an album that can cautiously be called a masterpiece. As always, Case's voice, an instrument of impressive strength, grace, and expressive power, is the star of this show, and she's never sounded better than she does here, but what sets this apart from her other fine work is her growth as a songwriter and producer. Case wrote or co-wrote all 12 tracks on Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and her tales of failed friendship, faith stretched to the breaking point, and love that causes as much ache as comfort are subtle and expressionistic but deeply evocative, conjuring images and feelings that linger long after the album has ended, especially the spectral "Star Witness," the moody yet romantic "That Teenage Feeling" and "Hold on, Hold On," and the darkly beautiful closer, "The Needle Has Landed".
Ultimate is a greatest hits compilation album by UK electronic music band Pet Shop Boys. It is their third greatest hits album, released on 1 November 2010 by their long-time label Parlophone. The album contains 18 previously-released singles, in chronological order, and one new song ("Together"). Ultimate was released to celebrate 25 years since the band's first single release "West End Girls" in standard single-CD and expanded CD/DVD configurations. It charted at #27 on the UK Albums Chart on 7 November 2010 and at #50 on the European Hot 100 Albums on 20 November 2010. In addition to the hits, the deluxe package also includes a DVD with previously unreleased performances from the BBC as well as their 2010 headlining performance at Glastonbury.
In some ways, Heather Nova is more talented than many of her female singer/songwriter contemporaries. She has an appealing voice, strong lyrics, and memorable melodies – that is, when she delivers. Unfortunately, many of her albums are uneven, with Nova delivering the goods as often as she misses the mark. The best moments on her second album, Oyster, rank among her very best work, demonstrating that she can pull off ballads, guitar pop, and hard rock with equal aplomb. The rest of the album isn't so much bad as it is bland, offering lesser versions of the good stuff. Certainly, Nova makes Oyster worth exploring – it's just a little frustrating that the entire album doesn't deliver on the promise of its best moments.
Boasting big, bold pop production that suggests the anthemic-but-personable sound of Natalie Imbruglia, Siren bursts out of the speakers with a giddy rush of emotion. But Heather Nova's not one to wail stridently like some Alanis-come-lately; instead she favors a breathy, delicate style that's nevertheless strong enough to ride comfortably atop the layers of acoustic and electric guitars. (In fact, it's Nova's own guitar that's at the heart of most of the arrangements here.) Throughout Siren, Nova utilizing an intriguing catch in her voice, and ultimately, it's Nova's unique vocal style and winning pop sensibilities that make Siren work as well as it does, doing double duty as substantive singer/songwriter statement and perfect pop-radio product.