Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
Steven Spielberg and John Williams.
These collaborations have netted creations that have become part of America's collective entertainment consciousness. Tim Burton also has a partner who makes his work even better: composer Danny Elfman.
Burton films are so stylized that it's easy to tell it's the director's work long before the credits roll: Alice in Wonderland; Corpse Bride; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Big Fish; Sleepy Hollow; Ed Wood; Batman; Edward Scissorhands; Beetlejuice—of course the inclusion of Johnny Depp and/or Helena Bonham Carter is often a dead giveaway as well.
But another element of Burton films that makes them so Burtonesque is the music. That madman's crazy carnival calliope sound is as inherent to a Burton film as a weird red-carpet dress is to Bonham Carter. Elfman—known to '80s pop music fans as the frontman for Oingo Boingo (Weird Science)—has scored numerous Burton films and his eerie builds and frenetic riffs that sound like nursery songs gone bad have been an (ahem) instrumental part of Burton's long reign as the king of kook. And on May 24, Warner Bros. released a limited-edition CD box set to celebrate the duo's 25th anniversary of working together.
The set includes 16 CDs of expanded versions of the 13 scores that Elfman did for Burton's films. Each CD is packaged with artwork by Burton, and the set includes a bonus DVD of Burton and Elfman chatting, as well as unreleased music.
For more information or to purchase the set, visit burtonelfman.com.