TV

Soundtrack review: Chicago fire Season 2 (Atli Orvarsson – 2015)

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The score for the first season of „Chicago fire” was a very nice surprise for me. Atli Orvarsson wrote a reflective and ambient score that was right up my alley. The first score established a sound I hoped would become the identity of this show. With this in mind I listened to the score for the second season which got released (strangely enough) a couple of weeks before the first one.

Usually when it comes to franchises the first part always sets the tone and is remembered the most fondly but it’s the next parts that develop the themes and show evolution. I am expecting evolution from the music of season 2 and from the way it starts it seems I’m getting it. “Heather in prison” and “Benny’s baggage” bring back the sweet sound of season 1 but make it richer and deeper. This time the reflective mood isn’t just passive; it brings an element of revolt and decision. I love it. The world of “Chicago fire” sounds richer now and the loneliness of the first season is only a shadow.

“No regrets” with its minimalistic inserts and beautiful echoes makes me think it’s my favorite theme so far from both scores. It adds something to the ambient, something personal that I am glad the composer shared with us. It’s as if a secret window opened inside this score towards a life where everything went differently and happiness was all that mattered. This cue is a smile and a nod and it’s the place I want to be in when I listen to “Chicago fire season 2”.

The heroism in this score is not exaggerated and overly dramatic. I like that. This way everything is diluted and can last longer. If we had gotten a couple of grand scale epic themes everything else would have paled in comparison and firefighting is about the team spirit, not individual acts of heroism. The composer spoke to firefighters before writing this score and I can tell. His music makes me know them better and realize that there probably isn’t a lot of flashiness in this business.

“A dark day” is as epic and heavy as this score gets. It’s the anthem of this score. It gives me the feeling of people coming together and rising up for something. I feel like I’d like to join them because how honest this cue sounds. I think it’s the piano moments that seal the deal for me. The piano is the heart and soul of this score and I love getting to know it.

When this score is good it is great. The highs of “Chicago Fire season 2” are better than those of season 1 but the overall mood of the first score is still closer to my heart. I enjoy the extra layers yet I find myself missing the loneliness of the first season. It all depends on the mood I’m in, but the duality of the compositions is brilliant and I love the freedom of choice the music gets me. A TV show is all about different emotions and stories and Atli Orvarsson took his time to carefully tell us about all of them. After listening to this score I imagine the cues as if they were different episodes of the show and I get to pick my favorites.

“Chicago fire” is already in its third season and I can’t wait to hear the music for that one as well.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 26 / 54

Album excellence: 48%

Highlights:

Heather in Prison

Benny’s Baggage

No Regrets

Heather is Leaving

Casey and the Darden Boys

A Dark Day

Family Pile Up

Boden Proposes

Saving Nathan

About the author

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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