Soundtrack Review: Panic (2021)

Milan Records has released Panic (Music From the Amazon Original Series) by composers Isabella Summers and Brian H. Kim.  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by the duo for the latest Amazon Original series based on the best-selling young adult novel by Lauren Olivier.  

Best known as “the Machine” of Florence and the Machine and an Emmy®-nominated composer in her own right, Isabella Summers brings her extensive writing, producing and recording experience to the project, joining forces with classical pianist turned composer Brian H. Kim to create the show’s soundscape.  The resulting 15-track collection is an intensely visceral and emotionally evocative soundtrack that encapsulates the show’s narrative of desperate teenagers competing for a chance to escape their small town roots.  Also included within the soundtrack is a new original song performed by breakout pop singer-songwriter Tate McRae entitled “Darkest Hour.” Panic premieres all 10 episodes exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, May 28 in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. 

Panic is a new Amazon Prime Video one-hour drama series, written and created by Lauren Oliver (based on her bestselling novel).  It takes place in a small Texas town, where every summer the graduating seniors compete in a series of challenges, winner takes all, which they believe is their one and only chance to escape their circumstances and make their lives better.  But this year, the rules have changed — the pot of money is larger than ever and the game has become even more dangerous.  The players will come face to face with their deepest, darkest fears and be forced to decide how much they are willing to risk in order to win. 

Of the score for Panic, co-composers Isabella Summers and Brian H. Kim had the following to say:

“The score for Panic needed to be visceral and modern.  The story is told through the perspective of 21st century teenagers, but the stakes are life and death, with challenges that border on tribal.  We used aggressive synths — tons of Virus, distortion and effects — combined with huge war drums and attacking strings.  Many synth arpeggiations bordered on abstract, but everything was always grounded in the emotion of the characters.  We were able to branch those sounds into more subtle cues about family strife, tension between friends, and romance, as the show explored more personal themes.  We are thrilled with how the music turned out.  We think it is like nothing else out there.  It is a gut punch.”

Wow, the music for Panic is really good. I was already intrigued by the premise of the series: an almost dystopian setting where high school seniors compete in a twisted competition for enough money to go to college; but hearing the music raises my interest to another level. This is the kind of music I can sink my teeth into: it is indeed quite visceral (as the composers said) and almost manic in places due to the intense synths that can be found throughout the score.

Appropriately, those aggressive synths give Panic the feeling of a horror story in many places, which, given the premise of the series is more than appropriate. I mean the concept is somewhat horrific isn’t it? The idea that teenagers feel compelled to compete in a twisted competition just for the opportunity to go to college and leave town, like there’s no other options, if that isn’t a horror story I don’t know what is. And with these synths, you can almost feel the raw emotions that they represent. This isn’t a clean or pretty score like you might find in Game of Thrones, this is very rough around the edges and gritty and I love every single moment.

To repeat what I’ve said before, the soundtrack for Panic is really good, one of the best I’ve heard this year for a series. I highly recommend checking this soundtrack out if you get the opportunity to do so.

Track List

1. Headed to the Farm (0:57)
2. Don’t Know What to Believe (1:39)
3. Cortez Will Joust (3:33)
4. The Spurlock House (5:18)
5. Falling (1:59)
6. We’re Both Trash (1:25)
7. Darkest Hour – Tate McRae (2:41)
8. Invitation Was From Cortez (2:29)
9. Marquee Clue (0:37)
10. It’s Starting (1:13)
11. Graybill Legend Murders (2:14)
12. Joust, Part 1 (5:18)
13. Joust, Part 2 (3:33)
14. Tiger Lilly (3:10)
15. Heather Jumps (4:12)

Let me know what you think about Panic and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s