TV

Soundtrack review: Chuck (Tim Jones – 2015)

Chuck

“Chuck” is one of the guilty pleasures TV shows I haven’t watched yet. It’s on the back burner somewhere and I will get to it when I need something light and fun. The show was about a computer geek who inadvertently downloads a database of government information and deadly fighting skills into his head. This was he becomes one of the most vital secret agent of the CIA. From what I’ve heard the show is quite exciting and a nice way to pass the time. This is the first time the score has been made available. It is written by Tim Jones, a composer I wasn’t familiar with. I wonder what surprises this score could hold in store. I have my own ideas about how a super spy story should sound like…

First thing I notice is there are a lot of long (8-9 minutes) cues on this one. They are probably suites made of the themes created for the various situations Chuck finds himself in. It’s a good choice to be opening with what I suppose is the love theme. “Chuck and Sarah – The beginning” is a charming journey which makes me think of a fun and innocent relationship between the two characters. The first two minutes are quite romantic before the cue goes “American beauty” quirky and ironic in sound. It has time to also get heroic and echo some choirs before it’s over. The score is still fresh enough for me to really enjoy this theme. I am sure that if it had appeared midway through the album I wouldn’t have liked it as much.

The “Action theme” is geeky and crazy just like I was expecting it to be. There are some random screams and tribal vocal inserts which make absolutely no sense but neither does the show itself so the theme fits. I imagine kids will be very fond of it. “Charlie Foxtrot Shaw” is appropriate for undercover work in a vacation resort. I’m sure our agent has a lot of gadgets with him. “A question and a spy” comes next and goes quietly romantic again. I am enjoying the variation in this score, there’s no time to get bored. Be sure that even if a cue doesn’t hit the spot the next one might be completely different. This is how after that island vibe you can get a sweet and simple piano theme.

A show like “Chuck” is all about imagination and crazy ideas and this gives the composer a lot of room to improvise and just go with it. Tim Jones’ composition is not your regular score; it doesn’t rely on one theme or a general atmosphere. It’s all over the place but quite fun. The 9 minute suites “It’s not all work” and “Mission time” mirror the score perfectly: they have fun moments, strange moments and geeky moments. None of them work from beginning to end but it’s ok. Fans of the show know what they are in for while others, like me, can get a good idea about the mood and spirit of “Chuck” by listening to the music.

“Chuck original score” will please the ones who enjoy light comedic scores. The accent is more on the comedy than on the action but, once again, this is also the message of the show. I was pleasantly surprised to have such an easy time sitting through almost 80 minutes of score (not counting the few cues performed by the fake cover band created in the show).

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 13 / 78

Album excellence: 17%

Highlights:

Chuck And Sarah The Beginning

End Titles + Surprise

Chuck vs. Rafe

 

 

 

 

 

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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