Music Corner

For many, the 2023 Oscars were a success. Several films, both new and original, were rewarded and it was a great night to celebrate the best that 2022 cinema had to offer. Unfortunately, not everything got its due praise. One of the biggest snubs of the evening was in the Best Original Score category. Despite being the favorite to win, Justin Hurwitz’s score for “Babylon” lost to the loud brass of “All Quiet on the Western Front.” It was a travesty.

“Babylon” has a score for the ages. Taking a jazz approach, it fills its orchestra with a diverse arrangement of different brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. “Manny and Nellie’s Theme” is the main track featured throughout the movie and functions as the anthem for the two main characters. It happens to be a slower, piano version of a wilder song earlier in the movie, aptly titled “Coke Room,” which was one of my personal favorites.

The songs greatly fit each scene, going from the whimsical titular song, “Babylon,” where a magical moment is created thanks to the filming of a sunset, to “Toad,” the throaty, bubbling track featured when the main character begins to travel deeper into a cesspool of sin. The instruments featured in the film’s orchestra constantly change to feel fully immersed into the sometimes whimsical, often terrifying world of “Babylon.”

Even if you haven’t seen the film, I’d recommend at least checking out the original soundtrack for a great jazz album, if for nothing else.