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Bolt Soundtrack 2008 
Artists: John Powell keyboard, Miley Cyrus, John Travolta and Jenny Lewis vocals
Composer: John Powell
Walt Disney Records 50087-13044
19 tracks
Running Length: 40 minutes
 
Soundtracks for animated films can be as  bouncy and repetitive as some of the stunts on the screen. This is not the case with Walt Disney’s Bolt, the animated story of a television series dog who thinks he really is a superhero. It is when the real world comes crashing around Bolt (voice of John Travolta), that he realizes who he is, and then it is thank goodness for friends. In his case, friends are Mittens the cat and Rhino, a hamster who lives in a plastic bubble. Bolt’s television friend is Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus) who needs to be rescued every week on the television series.
 
John Powell’s soundtrack has a different melody and approach to the various situations Bolt finds himself in. From songs for Bolt and Penny, to the third track which is the theme of Bolt’s television show, music from across the country as Bolt travels to find Penny, and the theme of yet another television show. Vocal compositions are “I Thought I Lost You” (sung by Cyrus and Travolta and co-written by Cyrus) and their voices do blend well. Jenny Lewis wrote and sings “Barking at the Moon” (she really doesn’t) as the second vocal. The songs are on tracks one and two, plus reprised at the end, track nineteen.
 
Track three is the theme of Bolt’s television show. It is stalking, energetic and Powell uses bells, strings and solo piano to achieve the effect. This continues through tracks four and five, as Bolt continues his television adventures in a chase scene. In music, there are percussion instruments, guitar, and a 1970’s synthesizer sound. Reminiscent of the “I Spy,” “Avengers” and “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” themes.
 
Bolt then lands in New York and from then until the end of the CD, music is used to show his locale from a RV park to riding a train, Las Vegas and on to California and rescuing Penny again (track sixteen.) The pieces are complete, and even with a few minutes of melody, you can get the idea of traveling west, though track fourteen in Las Vegas is rather mournful. When Bolt gets close to Penny who needs help, Powell turns the heat on and we get the ambience of “Backdraft” and a sense of urgency and drama.
 
I was pleasantly surprised by the soundtrack for Bolt, and can easily see this music pulled together as an orchestral suite. No small achievement. Powell's keyboard work is precise and thoughtful.
 
Copyright 2008 Marie Asner

 
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