By Charlie Brigden
The draft. As an Englishman who used to watch American Football about twenty years ago, I have no real knowledge of this event. Apparently it’s where the teams are lined up, in the order of how badly they did in the previous football season, and are given the chance to pick the best players coming up from the college teams. I think. In any case, they’ve made a film of it starring Kevin Costner and it’s called Draft Day. It sounds as exciting as a movie about sudoku.
The music is by John Debney, who composes good if not spectacular music, but rarely seems to catch a break (maybe if they listened to his music for the video game Lair). The album begins with muisc that sounds like it should come from a sports channel. Cool, strong, patriotic. It also sounds like his music for Iron Man 2. Draft Day sounds very modern, which maybe is a bit less complimentary than I mean it to be. It’s almost like a sense of contemporary Americana, with optimistic strings overlayed with synth.
But while this is what it feels like initially, it starts to pick up pretty quickly into full-on sports drama mode. There are bits that make it feel like a 21st century version of Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic Rudy, and it really rides on that concept of inspirational music, with a fair amount of credit going to Debney that it doesn’t always sound like it’s by the numbers. But it doesn’t always sound original, and even when it does, it gets pretty boring after a while. There are passages that look at the romantic life of the characters, with Costner juggling quarterbacks, agents, managers, and a pregnant girlfriend, but they don’t have much impact. And while the album is fifty minutes long, it feels a lot longer than that.
I’m sure Draft Day works in the film. It has that kind of generic but workable feel that causes people to clench fists when it ramps up into “stirring mode”, but as an isolated listen at not far off an hour, it just doesn’t have much of an impact or presence.
Draft Day is out now from Lakeshore Records