Tag Archives: Bear McCreary

Soundtrack Review: The Walking Dead (2010-present)

TheWalkingDeadPoster

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.”

“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. 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.

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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Bear McCreary talks Constantine (2014)

It’s no secret that I have a small obsession with the short-lived Constantine series that aired on NBC. (I’ve already lamented the fact that it was cancelled way too soon thanks to those morons at NBC, but I digress…) One factor that I loved was the music, something that I’ve rediscovered in the past few days. After having the main theme of the show caught in my head for 48 straight hours, I decided it was time to write about it. And that’s when I discovered something interesting. The music for Constantine was written by composer Bear McCreary who is responsible for some of the best television music written in recent years.

He is responsible for, among other things: Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009), Black Sails (2014-present), Constantine (2014-2015), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Forest (2016), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), Agents of SHIELD (2013-present) and, oh yes, a little series called The Walking Dead (2010-present).

Bear McCreary talks Constantine

During the short time that Constantine was on the air, McCreary posted a video talking about how he came to compose the music for the series, what sounds he mixed together, and how he determined what the world of John Constantine sounded like. The result is a fascinating blend of the orchestral and the synthetic. There’s a harpsichord (playing the opening motif) and enough heavy beats to satisfy any fan of 80’s hard rock. As the composer puts it, this mix shouldn’t exist, but then again, Constantine is the type of man who shouldn’t exist in our world either.

Constantine- Main Theme

I love this music so much, it’s a crazy blend of traditional and rock and it totally works for this series. Hope you enjoy it! -Becky

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