TV

Soundtrack review: Daredevil (John Paesano – 2015)

daredevil

Netflix’s “Daredevil” TV show is a game changer. I am a big fan of everything Marvel but this show really took it to the next step with its darkness and story deep rooted in reality. I couldn’t even tell we had a superhero for many moments. Everything from acting to the script and the grit made this show a fantastic watch. It’s one of the most gripping things I’ve seen and I can’t wait for the next season. The music was an integral part of the viewing experience and John Paesano (who already had a big year for me in 2014 with “When the game stands tall” and “The maze runner”) delivered a score equally thick and entertaining. I listened to the music of Daredevil very carefully in context and I already had a few favorite cues I couldn’t wait for: the one from the training montage, the main titles or the ending of the first season. Knowing Netflix and their score releasing habits when it comes to their big hits (see “House of cards”) I was a bit underwhelmed when John Paesano’s score showed up as a quiet, 45 minutes long release. I hope the network will have more faith in the composer next time and give him the proper 2CD release the score deserved.

But then again… all my favorite pieces are there, and if you watched the show I’m sure you will be happy with the selection. The first two cues are the “Main title” and “Fogwell’s Gym” which is the training montage from the first episode. John Paesano goes moody and minimalistic for the main titles and excitingly electronic for the training cue. I can feel the electricity and the drive in that piece and it makes me want to go out and train myself. The buildup is everything a good training session needs and the cue is pulsating harder and harder in tone with the beating of our hearts. The dark electric sound returns in the thrilling “Hallway fight” which incidentally is the best looking fight scene in the entire first season.

The terrific musical range of this composer is on display once again as “Battlin’ Jack Murdock”, the theme for Matt Murdock’s dad strikes the emotional chords inside me. Having watched the show I can take even more joy and appreciate even better the depth of this cue. “Union Allied” reminds me of Elliot Goldenthal’s masterful score for “Heat”. I recognize the same misty and appealing darkness.

I realize now why the score is so short. This presentation focused on the most important themes: the ones written for the main characters and a few cues from the most famous scenes. It’s a nice way to introduce the listeners to the music of “Daredevil” and to me this guarantees a more expanded release in the future. This is just the teaser. It’s hard for me to separate the listening experience from my love of the TV show but I am sure it sounds just as good out of context. John Paesano is one of the hottest composers right now and he gave the man in the mask the proper sound.

From the character themes I like the sensitivity of Ben Urich’s theme and the richness of the piece that characterizes Wilson Fisk, the complex villain of the story. You can taste his calm side and the explosions of evil temper. But maybe the most appropriate theme for a character is Stick which instantly makes me see the Daredevil’s wacky stick wielding trainer. I also get that heroic, inspirational final moment when Daredevil finally puts on his suit and jumps to aid the innocent. I can’t wait for season two and for more music from John Paesano.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 25 / 44

Album excellence: 58%

Highlights:

 

Main Title
Fogwell’s Gym
Battlin’ Jack Murdock
Hallway Fight
Union Allied

Ben Urich

Worthy Opponents

Man Of Ill Intent

Daredevil

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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