Tag Archives: Bear McCreary

Soundtrack Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

The official soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now available. The music for the third installment in the Monsterverse (following Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017)) was composed by Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead). This film sees the world under assault from a series of titans, including Rodan, and the seemingly almighty King Ghidorah. It will ultimately be up to Godzilla to prove himself the alpha monster and take his place as King of the Monsters.

Regarding the score, Bear McCreary had this to say:

“For Godzilla, I chose to incorporate and adapt the legendary Akira Ifukube’s iconic theme, and for Mothra, Yuji Koseki’s immortal ‘Mothra’s Song,’ both being classic themes from the franchise’s origins,” McCreary explained. “I hoped to form a connection between Ifukube’s uniquely brilliant style and the aesthetics of modern blockbusters.”

Additionally, “director Michael Dougherty used the term “Monster Opera” when describing the magnitude and importance of the score to the storytelling.”

I definitely get the sense of “Monster Opera” when listening to McCreary’s score for this film. The music overall creates an epic sense of scope that matches what I’ve seen of the monsters in the previews thus far. The music proclaims what we’ve long known: Godzilla: King of the Monsters is going to be an epic clash on every level.

McCreary does a masterful job incorporating Ifukube’s iconic theme for Godzilla into the score. It’s played relatively straight in the main title, but then McCreary…heightens it, if that makes sense, by incorporating a variety of instruments, remixing the theme to help it reach even greater levels of grandeur. The original theme reappears throughout the score, and I love that McCreary took the time to musically tie this Godzilla film back to the original, as if to say “this is a true successor to the original Godzilla, the music say so.”

Aside from the tracks that include McCreary’s take on the original theme, “Rodan” is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks in the score. I’m not sure if this is Rodan’s theme or simply music associated with his appearance in a scene (there IS a difference), but I love this music anyway. I think this track exemplifies just how dangerous Rodan and the other titans are. McCreary incorporates loud trumpet blasts that I suspect might be mimicking the sounds that Rodan makes (that is a complete guess on my part, I haven’t seen any of the original kaiju films that have Rodan in them so I’m not sure what he sounds like). And if nothing else, these trumpet blasts symbolize the danger that Rodan represents. This music is loud, it’s blaring, it practically screams “Oh my god, RUN!”

And then there’s the music associated with Ghidorah, the monster I’m most looking forward to seeing apart from Godzilla himself. I can’t name these particular tracks because it might lead to some spoilers, but the music that makes up Ghidorah’s theme and is otherwise associated with him left me completely enraptured. I swear McCreary has incorporated into the music a sense of motion that mimics Ghidorah’s three heads moving and twisting about. I am very excited to hear this music in context once the film comes out.

Overall, this is a fantastic film score. For the sake of avoiding potential spoilers I’m not covering the entire soundtrack but believe me when I say this soundtrack latches onto you and doesn’t let you go until the end. Some tracks are fraught with tension, and in others you can almost feel the monsters stomping about as the music plays. Even though the film doesn’t come out until next week, I’m convinced that McCreary has created a score that will seamlessly intertwine with the action to create a spellbinding story. You should definitely listen to this soundtrack when you get the chance, it is one of the best I’ve heard so far this year.

Once you listen to the score (and see the film), let me know what you think about the soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: The Walking Dead (2010-present)

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Unbelievably, in over seven years, there has never been a soundtrack release from The Walking Dead…until now. Composer Bear McCreary chose his personal favorites from the innumerable themes he has written for the series, along with tracks the fans begged to have included. Selections from the soundtrack include:

  • The Walking Dead “Main Theme”
  • “Sophia”
  • “Carl”
  • “Farm Invasion”
  • “Welcome to the Tombs”
  • “Negan”

This is just a sampling of what’s available, as there are 23 tracks in total. The “Main Theme” is probably one of the most iconic pieces from the series. The quickly moving strings that turn dark as the credits show how civilization has completely broken down (time winding to a stop, buildings decomposing, etc.), it just sucks you in to this (thankfully) fictional world where the dead walk and life as we know it will never be “normal” again (I haven’t watched in years but I AM curious as to what the endgame of this series will be, because nothing lasts forever).

And then there’s “Sophia.” Oh Sophia Sophia…the fate of that little girl came in one of the last episodes I remember watching and this theme fits her so perfectly. This young girl who had to live through the worst kind of apocalypse and (spoiler alert) ultimately didn’t make it deserves a theme that highlights her nature and this theme delivers. It is unexpectedly rich, warm at times, but there is always a hint of sadness, almost like McCreary was foreshadowing her fate (and he likely was). The detail I like the best is, in the middle of the theme, there is a hint of what sounds like a music box, something that is often associated with young girls. I liked that little touch to “Sophia.”

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“Carl” is very different from some of the others because, until the last 30 seconds, it is entirely piano. It reminds me very much of this scene where Carl “rescues” a can of chocolate pudding from a ruined house and eats it while sitting on the roof contemplating his surroundings. Now in the last 30 seconds some relatively ominous strings come in, but the piano simply repeats its theme. It’s simple, but beautiful in its simplicity.

“Farm Invasion” actually reminded me very strongly of his theme for Constantine (the short-lived TV show) and that’s because it’s a perfect blend of classical and rock elements. There are strings, yes, but there is also drums, modern percussion, I do believe there is an electric guitar mixed in as well. The snapped strings (a technique where you hold up the violin/viola/cello/bass string and let it snap back against the fingerboard) create the effect of gunshots and given the title of the theme, that seems very appropriate.

 

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You can almost follow the action that this scene accompanied: any time the group directly confronts walkers, the music is in your face, up-tempo, heavy string snaps. When they’re running or there’s some emotional drama, it pulls back a bit (but not by much). There’s an awesome guitar moment around 4:28 as well. What makes McCreary’s music so good is that it pulls you in by constantly keeping the pace moving, there’s no way to lose interest. I also hear fragments of the main theme mixed in, or at least something reminiscent of it. But when I say fragments I mean that literally; it sounds “broken”, like he took the theme and smashed it apart. This is a much longer track (almost 9 full minutes) but it is definitely worth listening to.

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The last track I will highlight is “Negan” and boy oh boy, based on everything I’ve heard, this theme describes him perfectly. The opening note is this long synthetic “whine” that immediately puts you on edge. And what’s interesting is, you’re not confronted with the “idea” of Negan right away in the music. It’s not until the electric guitar comes in that you realize HERE is the essence of Negan, and it’s nothing good. It’s dark, ominous and I’m kind of glad I left the series before he was introduced because some of the things he’s done would’ve completely broken me.

And that’s my look into the soundtrack of The Walking Dead. I highly recommend this soundtrack, not just for fans of the show, but also if you’re a fan of really good television music. Bear McCreary is one of the best in the business and it definitely shows here. Enjoy!

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