A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Great Job, Internet! Newswire
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Various Artists: Friday Night Lights: Friday Night Lights: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Album: Friday Night Lights: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Label: Hip-O

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade


Director Peter Berg earned well-deserved praise for (mostly) avoiding Hollywoodizing touches when adapting H.G. Bissinger's now-classic account of the 1988 season of a high-school football team situated in the heart of football-obsessed West Texas. Friday Night Lights' original music further helped subvert any hints of sports-movie cliché, creating a mood of grandeur as fragile as a three-point halftime lead. Most of it came courtesy of Explosions In The Sky, a Texas band previously known (if known at all) for a small string of moody, powerful, post-rock instrumental albums released on small labels.

Recruited by music supervisor Brian Reitzell—who previously paired Air with Sofia Coppola to inspired effect for The Virgin Suicides—Explosions In The Sky shoulders the challenge. Though Explosions loses some of the pulsating volume of its proper albums on the Friday Night Lights soundtrack, its command of atmosphere remains in place. Building slow dramas from guitars used as instruments of both jangle and drone, Explosions creates a sound as elemental as track titles like "The Sky Above, The Field Below" and "Our Last Days As Children" suggest.

Daniel Lanois and David Torn each contribute likeminded tracks, with only a Bad Company chestnut breaking the mood. Though non-traditional as score music, Friday Night Lights follows a tradition of films that use ringing guitars to evoke the expansiveness of the American West, from Ry Cooder's work for Paris, Texas to Neil Young's Dead Man score to J. Mascis' contributions to Gas Food Lodging. Sometimes, spare sounds stir emotions the way lush noise can't—other filmmakers could stand to take that lesson to heart. Maybe that band in the smoky club down the street can do the job better than Hans Zimmer.