Composer Danny Elfman's score for director Tim Burton's black-and-white stop-motion tale of a boy and his newly reanimated dog is steeped in the kind of rich, choir-driven, harmlessly macabre innocence that supplied 1990's Edward Scissorhands with the heart it needed to break free of its overly quirky trappings. With nods to the frantic, pinball-like precision of Pee Wee's Big Adventure ("Electricity") and the good-natured malevolence of The Nightmare Before Christmas ("Invisible Fish/Search for Sparky"), Frankenweenie is fun, breathlessly atmospheric, and surprisingly affecting. Employing an effortless mix of menace, heartache, and joy, Elfman has crafted his most sentimental and nuanced score since 2003's Big Fish, and while it may borrow liberally from some of his previous works, it's still a joy to listen to from start to finish.
The soundtrack to Maleficent, a reimagining of Disney's Sleeping Beauty from the villain's perspective, puts the focus on James Newton Howard's foreboding yet witty score. Stormy brass and percussion duke it out with sparkling strings and woodwinds on pieces that range from the tumultuous ("Maleficent Suite," "Battle of the Moors," "Path of Destruction") to the light-hearted ("Welcome to the Moors," "Aurora and the Fawn"). Lana Del Rey rounds out the album with an equally eerie and alluring version of "Once Upon a Dream," which serves as a reminder as to why she's become one of the most in-demand soundtrack contributors of the 2010s.