Score of the Week: Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers is a masterpiece. If you don’t agree with that statement in even the slightest, I’m sorry but we can no longer be friends. But, please, keep on reading. For in this week’s score, I’ll be talking about the incredible talents of Cliff Martinez (who will definitely be making another appearance in this segment) and the majesty of Spring Breakers.

spring-breakers-film-still

Cliff Martinez is a master of electronic soundscapes that convey the most human of emotions. His synthesized sounds are not the stereotypical dehumanized wails of the future (although they can be, when appropriate), but rather, they are the ambient noise of everyday life. Whether that be an expression of fear (Contagion), relentless progress (The Knick), or, as in Spring Breakers, the effervescence of youth as it transitions into the darkness of adulthood.

Spring Breakers is a film that asks a lot of its composer. For one, it asks that they produce a score that sits comfortably alongside the picturesque visuals of a radiant, springtime Florida, and the pounding trap music of its central characters. This dichotomy perfectly captures the film’s themes of emerging womanhood, for these girls are taking control of their lives and doing so through the strength of their own agency. This is why, like in Django Unchained, it is so necessary for the “mentor” character (in this case, James Franco’s Alien) to die pitifully. The strength of the film is how it depicts this transition as dark but never as wrong. These girls have been subject to the base desires and whims of men for far too long. In fact, it is the arrested development of Selena Gomez’ character which the film most criticizes, as it contrasts her seeming willingness to party drunkenly among a plethora of white strangers, yet when she enters a small group of predominantly black men, she breaks down into tears and asks to go home.

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