Avatar: The Way of Water (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack album to the 2022 epic science fiction film Avatar: The Way of Water, directed and co-produced by James Cameron, a sequel to Avatar (2009). The album featured an original score composed by Simon Franglen and original music by Canadian singer–songwriter the Weeknd. Franglen, a friend of composer James Horner who previously composed the score for Avatar, had worked as a record producer and arranger for that film and afterwards, took on scoring duties for The Way of Water and the forthcoming sequels in Avatar franchise, following Horner's death in a plane crash in June 2015.

The album, which accompanies Franglen's original score, featured two original songs—"Song Chord" performed by Franglen and Zoe Saldaña, and "Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" performed by The Weeknd. The latter was released as a single from the album on December 15, 2022,[1][2] and the following day, on December 16, the full soundtrack was released by Hollywood Records alongside the film. A score album titled Avatar: The Way of Water (Original Score), featuring additional tracks from Franglen's score was released on December 20.[3]

Development

Avatar composer James Horner intended to be part of the sequel as well as the forthcoming films in the franchise,[4][5] before his death in a plane crash on June 22, 2015.[6][7] Simon Franglen who associated with Horner as a record producer and arranger in of his films, reported to score for the film in December 2019.[8] His involvement was officially confirmed by Landau in August 2021, where he would compose for all of the forthcoming films.[9][10] Franglen had notably completed the score for The Magnificent Seven (2016), post-Horner's death.[11] He also composed the original score for Pandora – The World of Avatar, the theme park attraction based on the film, and also arranged Horner's theme from the film, as Franglen wanted to "keep the core of the film's music together".[12] Hence, by 2017, he was ready to score for the film when Cameron asked him to read the scripts for the sequels.

Franglen wanted to honor the legacy of Horner, by bringing new themes into the score, adding that "The vast majority of it is fresh and new because it’s a new film, and there are new characters in those new places. But there are moments when it’s important to have the original themes there. I hope that the fans of the original will like and recognize that we’ve tried to keep that because also there’s a flow for a series of films. Avatar isn’t a standalone film. It’s part of a whole canon of movies, we hope. Therefore, bringing some of the score from A1 into A2 I thought was appropriate and a good thing to do."[13]

Franglen added that he was able to design unique Pandoran musical instruments for the film, which was one of the "unexpected delights". which has been three dimensionally printed by the art department and the props team.[14] He was tasked on bringing new textures, voices and elements the score, adding "The sea is integral to many of the themes and motifs in my score; the scintillation of light, the ebb and flow of waves, and the connection of the Na’vi [characters in the movie] with the water were all inspirations".[12]

Recording for the film's score began on July 29, 2022, at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Studios in Los Angeles,[15] with a 100-piece orchestra recording the score. Franglen said that he was able to "feature a great diversity of singers and featured musicians from across the world, all bringing their unique textures to the score", such as bringing the Tenebrae choir ensemble from London and Pacific islands choral music.[12] The scale of the music mixing exceeded up to 1,000 tracks.[16]

Original songs

The Way of Water featured two original songs, co-written and produced by Franglen. "The Songcord" performed by Zoe Saldaña, was announced at the nominations for 13th Hollywood Music in Media Awards in the Best Original Song in a Feature Film in November 2022.[17] Cameron described the song on the first page of the script, where it refers to "telling the story of the Na’vi family or clan ancestry through song, accompanied by a device with beads strung together on twine or thread". He further suggested Franglen that the song needed an "ancient haunting quality with the warmth of a mother's love". Hence, he wrote the lyrics of the song in Na’vi and performed live on the stage with Saldaña in front of 100 crew members.[16]

"Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" is the end credits song for the film,[18] which Cameron wanted it to be "hopeful and about fighting for the survival of family". Franglen roped Canadian singer the Weeknd to perform the track and sent him thematic and lyrical concepts, where he wanted to bridge the world of Pandora with the musician.[19][20] Additionally, the Swedish supergroup Swedish House Mafia helped Franglen in producing the song, so as to blend their distinctive pop sensibility, with the Na’vi voices, tribal drums, and the orchestra, that covered the musical world. Weeknd recorded the final vocals for the song in Los Angeles, while the orchestral portions were recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage, during the final scoring sessions in November 2022.[16]

Release and promotion

The soundtrack to Avatar: The Way of Water was released alongside the film on December 16, 2022, by Hollywood Records,[21][22] with "Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" serving as the lead single from the album released on December 15.[23][24][25] The album featured 20 tracks from Franglen's original score, with 10 additional tracks released in a separate score album on December 20.[26][27]

Reception

The film's soundtrack received largely positive reviews from critics. In a review from New York Post, Johnny Oleksinski wrote "Pandora also continues to be brought to life through music that, while composed this time by Simon Franglen, still bows to the wondrous work of the late James Horner".[28] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said that the film "misses the heart-pounding suspense and tribal themes of James Horner’s score for the 2009 film, but composer Simon Franglen capably maintains the tension where it counts".[29]

Track listing

Avatar: The Way of Water (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)"The Weeknd4:28
2."Into the Water" 3:40
3."Happiness Is Simple" 2:22
4."A New Star" 2:57
5."Converging Paths" 1:45
6."Rescue and Loss" 6:40
7."Family Is Our Fortress" 3:07
8."Hometree" 3:28
9."The Way of Water" 2:30
10."Payakan" 3:30
11."Mighty Eywa" 4:13
12."Friends" 1:47
13."Cove of the Ancestors" 2:46
14."The Tulkun Return" 2:51
15."The Hunt" 5:48
16."Na'vi Attack" 4:44
17."Eclipse" 3:13
18."Bad Parents" 3:23
19."Knife Fight" 2:48
20."From Darkness to Light" 4:14
21."The Spirit Tree" 2:58
22."The Songcord"Zoe Saldaña3:20
Total length:76:00
Avatar: The Way of Water (Original Score)
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Leaving Home" 3:28
2."Songcord Opening" 1:58
3."Happiness Is Simple" 2:22
4."A New Star" 2:57
5."Train Attack" 3:03
6."Masks Off" 3:22
7."Converging Paths" 1:45
8."Rescue and Loss" 6:40
9."Family Is Our Fortress" 3:07
10."Sanctuary" 2:55
11."Into the Water" 3:40
12."Training Montage" 2:15
13."The Way of Water" 2:30
14."Where the Men Hunt" 1:45
15."Payakan" 3:30
16."Mighty Eywa" 4:13
17."Friends" 1:47
18."Cove of the Ancestors" 2:46
19."The Tulkun Return" 2:51
20."The Hunt" 5:48
21."Kids in Peril" 3:36
22."Na'vi Attack" 4:44
23."A Farewell to Arm" 2:26
24."Eclipse" 3:13
25."Bad Parents" 3:23
26."Knife Fight" 2:48
27."World Upside Down" 2:03
28."From Darkness to Light" 4:14
29."Family" 3:14
30."Songcord Chapter" 2:10
31."The Spirit Tree" 2:58
32."The Songcord"Zoe Saldaña3:20
Total length:100:40

Charts

Chart performance for Avatar: The Way of Water (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Chart (2022–2023)Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[30]156
French Albums (SNEP)[31]137

Accolades

AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef.
Hollywood Music in Media AwardsNovember 16, 2022Best Original Score in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy FilmSimon FranglenWon[32]
Best Original Song in a Feature FilmSimon Franglen and Zoe Saldana for "Song Chord"Nominated
Song/Score — TrailerSimon Franglen for "Trailer"Nominated

References

  1. ^ "Stream The Weeknd's "Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" From 'Avatar 2' Soundtrack". Complex. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  2. ^ Zhan, Jennifer (December 15, 2022). "Avatar 2 Will Show Us the Way of the Weeknd". Vulture. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  3. ^ Villei, Matt (December 15, 2022). "'Avatar: The Way of Water' Soundtrack and Original Score Details Released". Collider. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Bishop, Bryan (April 29, 2015). "James Cameron may have accidentally written a fifth Avatar movie already". The Verge. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Matt (April 28, 2015). "Avatar 5 a Possibility; James Cameron Has 4 Sequel Scripts". Collider. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  6. ^ "James Horner was the heart of 'Titanic': James Cameron". The Indian Express. June 24, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  7. ^ Chestang, Raphael (June 24, 2015). "How James Horner Created the Unforgettable Titanic Theme Song, 'My Heart Will Go On'". Entertainment Tonight. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Simon Franglen to Compose Music for James Cameron's 'Avatar' Sequels". Filmmusicreporter.com. Film Music Reporter. December 17, 2019. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Libbey, Dirk (August 30, 2021). "Avatar 2 Announces A Big Change Behind The Scenes And It Sounds Exciting". CinemaBlend. Archived from the original on August 30, 2021. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  10. ^ Avatar [@officialavatar] (August 30, 2021). "We are excited to confirm @simonfranglen as the composer for the Avatar Sequels. Simon was a critical part of James Horner's team for the first Avatar movie and went on to compose the incredible music for Pandora —The World of Avatar @WaltDisneyWorld" (Tweet). Retrieved December 12, 2022 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (December 1, 2022). "Fantasy Music Composers Discuss Creating Music for Established Worlds, Catering to Dedicated Fans". Variety. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c Tangcay, Jazz (November 9, 2022). "How 'Avatar: The Way of Water' Score Pays Tribute to the Franchise's Late Composer James Horner". Variety. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  13. ^ "Composer Simon Franglen Honors James Horner, Evolves New Sonic Palette for 'Avatar: The Way of Water'". Awardsdaily. December 14, 2022. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  14. ^ Tanaka, Stefanie (December 13, 2022). "Simon Franglen Talks About Composing the Music For 'Avatar: The Way of Water'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  15. ^ McCall, Kevin (July 29, 2022). "'Avatar: The Way of Water' Producer Shares Behind the Scenes Image of Simon Franglen Composing the Score". Collider. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  16. ^ a b c Desowitz, Bill (December 14, 2022). "2023 Oscars: How 'Avatar: The Way of Water' Could Make a Big Splash in the Craft Races". IndieWire. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  17. ^ "'Avatar: The Way of Water' to Feature Original Song by Simon Franglen & Zoe Saldana". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  18. ^ Aswad, Jem (December 11, 2022). "The Weeknd to Release 'Nothing Is Lost,' Theme Song From 'Avatar: The Way of Water'". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  19. ^ Legaspi, Aletha. "The Weeknd Hints at New Music for 'Avatar' in Teaser Clip". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  20. ^ "The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia collaborate on Avatar: The Way Of Water soundtrack". DJMag.com. December 8, 2022. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  21. ^ Schube, Will (December 15, 2022). "'Avatar: The Way Of The Water' Soundtrack Is Out Now". uDiscover Music. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  22. ^ Starkey, Adam (December 16, 2022). "How to listen to the 'Avatar: The Way Of Water' soundtrack". NME. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  23. ^ Williams, Aaron (December 7, 2022). "The Weeknd's Upcoming Song 'Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)' Will Be On The 'Avatar 2' Soundtrack". Uproxx. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  24. ^ Zhan, Jennifer (December 7, 2022). "Avatar 2 Will Show Us the Way of the Weeknd". Vulture. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  25. ^ Jones, Damian (December 15, 2022). "The Weeknd shares new 'Avatar: The Way Of Water' song 'Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)'". NME. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  26. ^ "'Avatar: The Way of Water' (Expanded) Score Album Details". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  27. ^ "'Avatar: The Way Of Water' Original Score Soundtrack Set To Release December 20". Martin Cid Magazine. December 15, 2022. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  28. ^ Oleksinski, Johnny (December 13, 2022). "'Avatar: The Way of Water' is the sequel we've been waiting for". New York Post. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  29. ^ Rooney, David (December 13, 2022). "'Avatar: The Way of Water' Review: James Cameron's Mega-Sequel Delivers on Action, Emotion and Thrilling 3-D Visuals". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  30. ^ "Ultratop.be – Soundtrack – Avatar - The Way of Water" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  31. ^ "Lescharts.com – Soundtrack – Avatar - The Way of Water". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  32. ^ Anderson, Erik (November 17, 2022). "Rihanna, Billy Eichner, Elvis, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio top Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) winners". AwardsWatch. Archived from the original on November 18, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2022.