The Music of “La La Land” Deserves Oscar Recognition


The movie’s soundtrack is both contemporary and timeless

By Kara Conley, Current Staff

Winning seven Golden Globes is a miraculous feat in the film industry, but the success of “La La Land” doesn’t stop there.

Damien Chazelle’s modern-day musical continues to captivate audiences, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took notice of its beauty, nominating “La La Land” for 12 Academy Awards. One of the awards “La La Land” is in contention for this weekend is Best Original Music Score. The film’s composer, Justin Hurwitz, has created musical mastery with a nostalgic sound that is refreshing to ears engulfed in a contemporary cacophony.

The “La La Land” soundtrack is filled with timeless melodies, and listening to it makes one feel like the very first song, “Another Day of Sun.” The song’s upbeat notes, matched with a chorus of perfectly cast voices, make the optimistic tone easy to enjoy. The theme of the film is also explicitly expressed in the lyrics as people sing about how their desire for success is incomparable to any other notion in life.

“La La Land” is not a usual musical soundtrack filled with show tunes, but rather one that is as ambitious as its characters in the film. It places the music at the forefront with its ethereal and whimsical instrumental pieces.

la-la-landHurwitz’s artistic embrace of authentic jazz rhythms and careful piano playing produces a charismatic, original accent that garners acclaim from anyone who takes the time to listen to it.

The music in the film seizes real emotions through its subtle lyrics and charming melodies. The feeling of love is captured in the meticulously placed sounds that make “Planetarium” feel like one is floating on air. The hesitation one often feels when falling for someone is depicted in the award-winning number “City of Stars.”

“City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” are each nominated for Best Original Song. The lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Ryan Gosling’s voice is not one that many would describe as the typical voice of a Broadway star, but the softness of his tone throughout his pieces add to the appeal of the film’s sound. His co-star, Emma Stone, shines in her solos with a delicate voice that harmonizes seamlessly with Gosling’s voice, like in their duet “A Lovely Night.”

The music of “La La Land” is an admirable symphony that embodies the magic that is created through thoughtful works of art. It’s music made for every ear.

It will be hard for other soundtracks to measure up to this one as the music of “La La Land” has left a major impact on the film industry.

The Oscars will be presented Sunday on ABC at 6:30 p.m.

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