Best Albums of 2011: #17

Jonny Greenwood - Norwegian Wood OST
Admittedly, I haven't watched as many films this year as I wish I could have, which of course, also means I haven't heard as many great soundtracks either. However, Radiohead guitarist and composer extraordinaire Jonny Greenwood has written possibly one of his best works yet in his scoring of the Japanese film, Norwegian Wood. Greenwood has this tragic underpinning behind his work that so effectively puts the audience inside the minds and hearts of the characters on screen.

The album opens with "Mou sukoshi jibun no koto, kichinto shitai no", which introduces the twisting theme of the score -- here it unfolds in a series of canons and loops just before unraveling into nothing as if it were never there to begin with. The plot follows the love triangle of three young Japanese college students and the deals with themes of identity, sexuality, and loss in their lives. In tracks like "Quarter Tone Broom", Greenwood shows off his beautiful language of dissonance that brilliantly describes the unwinding mental state of Norwegian Wood's characters. But what really made this soundtrack even more special for me was Greenwood's inclusion of two haunting acoustic guitar tracks that has me convinced that Greenwood is one of the most talented and unique composers working in the film industry right now.

Best tracks: "Mou sukoshi jibun no koto, kichinto shitai no", "Toki no senrei o ukete inai mono o yomuna"

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