Study Guide

Home Alone Music (Score)

Music (Score)

Heartfelt, Yet Intense

John Williams brings it. Every time.

The dude did the famous scores for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Superman, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, E.T., and the first Harry Potter movie… and, oh yeah, the score for Home Alone.

These are the movie soundtracks people hum all the time. Williams, one of the most honored and accomplished film composers, is the man who makes the world hum…and whistle. He brings tension, suspense, and feeling—by striking at the audience's core and matching his compositions cleverly to what's occurring on screen.

That Sentimental Feeling

Williams' "Main Title" to Home Alone is tantalizingly mysterious. It has a feeling of mischief, of Christmas elves sneaking around and messing with things at night. For instance, we hear it when the phone lines get severed at night, which later prevents the McCallisters from phoning Kevin. After about one and a half minutes of this part of the title track, the official recording switches to the other part of the theme song, separately entitled "Somewhere in My Memory." This track racked up an Oscar nomination at the 1991 Oscars. (Source)

"Somewhere in My Memory" is undoubtedly Home Alone's biggest musical hit—a sentimental tune evoking childhood Christmases of yore. It will make you feel "that gingerbread feeling"—which is, uh, apparently the feeling you have when you're smelling gingerbread, or eating it (or, perhaps, cooking it?). Here are the relevant lyrics:

Candles in the window / Shadows painting the ceiling / Gazing at the fire glow / Feeling that gingerbread feeling.

It further hits home with its "Love of Christmas" and "Holiday Nostalgia" themes:

Somewhere in my memory / Christmas joys all around me / Living in my memory / All of the music, all of the magic / All of the family, home here with me.

This is directly commenting on Kevin's own feelings—he wishes his family was there with him, and he remembers past Christmases, and wishes he could experience that family togetherness again.

Also, the movie features pop Christmas songs that weren't composed by John Williams. "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" by The Drifters is featured prominently, with Kevin lip syncing it before burning his cheeks with aftershave (again). He's getting into the Christmas spirit. Also, as the family races through Chicago's O'Hare airport to try to catch their flight to France, we hear Chuck Berry's rock n' roll Christmas song "Run, Run Rudolph" playing. This is appropriate because the McCallisters are—you know—running.

Finally, we'd be remiss if we forgot "Carol of the Bells," which plays as Kevin readies his booby traps. "Carol of the Bells," written by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych, is definitely the most intense of all Christmas songs…and also one of the most metal if you listen to the version by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

It's a Christmas song that sounds less like it's about Christmas and more about putting on battle paint and preparing a Viking invasion. After all, that's the same kind of thing Kevin is doing as he prepares his House of Pain for Marv and Harry.

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