TV

Soundtrack review: Texas Rising (John Debney and Bruce Boughton – 2015)

texas

It’s time for yet another 2015 score from chameleon composer John Debney. He’s been having a wonderful year and we’ve already heard from him a comedy, a drama and an animation score this year. Now we get “Texas Rising” which is a miniseries from the History Channel about the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the creation of the Texas Rangers. The score was written in collaboration with Bruce Boughton. It appears to be a common effort instead of each writing his separate cues.

The score opens with the “Texas rising suite” and this long cue serves as an abstract to what we will hear in the next hour. The suite is nothing epic, but mildly inspirational and enjoyable. We have the fanfare and marching motifs and a very nice melodic line. I don’t feel the rush to take up arms and join the cause, not yet. I can guess the tone of the miniseries is quite light when there’s no fighting going on. I hear subplots in the score, almost comedic in sound. We get playful cues like “Anderson wakes rangers” or “Truett & Yancey flirt with Sarah”. These tracks put me in a good mood and I am starting to recognize a common theme I identified in the suite.

I keep waiting for the moments that will give me chills and properly inspire me. This is a story about a nation rising, about a revolution and I’m not feeling it in the first half of the score. For now the music prefers to stay out of the way and just play in the background. I keep expecting it to rise but as the score progresses the music is starting to lose me. “Houston addresses the troops” could be the turning point but it’s still not telling me much. If this was the motivational speech I wouldn’t feel it.

What I do like are the moody guitar parts. Jose Feliciano is the soloist and a cue like “Santa Ana and Emily sex in the bath” (yes, this is the title of the cue) warms my heart and makes me long for something. The acoustic Latin sounds just speak volumes to me and I can’t get enough of them. This cue quiets down all my doubts and saves the score from oblivion. Or at least starts it on that path, because finally the two part “The battle of San Jacinto” delivers some exciting action.

My problem with “Texas Rising” is that it doesn’t grab me. The music is correct and enjoyable but it sounds to me as if it was written for a children’s adventure movie, not a serious story like this one. If I compare it to the similar story behind Lorne Balfe’s “Sons of libery” for example there is hardly anything to compare. It doesn’t seem like both of them were written for historical miniseries. I guess my listening experience was sort of ruined by my expectations. I went in ready for an epic, inspirational and memorable composition (“Field of lost shoes”, anyone?) and got a mild hour of music which fades among many similar ones…

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 2 / 54

Album excellence: 5%

Highlights:

Santa Ana And Emily Sex In The Bath

 

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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