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Soundtrack review: Dexter – season 8 (Daniel Licht, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Dexter – season 8 (Daniel Licht, 2014)

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Yesterday I reviewed the evolution of the “Blood theme” throughout the 8 seasons of Dexter. Today I will talk about the farewell to the series, the music of the very last season. From a TV point of view, the final season was among the series’ low points. But I can’t deny the emotional peaks it sometimes reached, and Daniel Licht captured each of them brilliantly with his music.
In my personal rankings, the soundtrack for season 8 finished second, just behind the amazing music of the first season. Then the order was seasons 7, 2&3, 4, and, for me, 5 and 6 had a drop in quality compared to the rest of them. In season 8 Daniel Licht brought his A-game in order to give a strong, meaningful and heartfelt goodbye to the series and characters he spent eight years composing themes for.
The first two cues to really get my attention where the two love cues dedicated to the two women in Dexter’s life: “I love Hannah” and “I love you Deb”. The first one is a cue of acceptance, of fate, of something you can’t fight, while the second one is more atmospheric, pure, and has tender choral inserts that make the cue sound like the innocence of a first love. Dexter and Deb have always loved each other, and this cue is a culmination of their relationship. I love it and I have to admit I am very happy when I hear this cue..
The mood changes with “Deb’s risk”, an ominous piano and flute track that gives a nod to a couple of very recognizable Dexter themes. The cue is pure Dexter, as is “Dexter grabs Saxon”, which starts with a rework of the “Blood theme” and continues very creepy. It’s my favorite cue probably from this score.
The true ending starts from “Boat at the hospital”. This is one of the most emotional tracks from the score. I admit I can’t separate it from the scene it was written for, and it’s hard to listen to. It’s a cue of loneliness and despair. The mood of the score continues to spiral into darkness with “The crash”, “Something’s wrong” and “Daniel”. It all culminates with the “Ending suite; at a run time of 3:26 it’s one of the longest cues from all the Dexter scores, and the fact that I only notice this fact at the end of 8 albums shows me that Daniel Licht’s themes from this TV series are amongst the richest and most intense I’ve heard, because I am rarely satisfied with a cue under 5 minutes long; I like my themes to have time to develop, live, get an identity if their own. Licht managed to do all this usually in under 2 minutes.
The album ends with a bonus, three tracks in live versions. It’s a very welcomed addition because I rarely get a chance to hear my favorite themes performed live, freely, out of context.
I will miss Dexter, and I will miss the music just as much; the sound, mood, and the feelings they gave me place the Dexter themes among my favorites ever. I will definitely keep listening to them in the future…Cue the “Blood theme”, and farewell, Dark Passenger…
My ratings:
Cue score: 72 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 49
Album excellence: 60%
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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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