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Soundtrack review: Wayward Pines (Charlie Clouser – 2015)

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Soundtrack review: Wayward Pines (Charlie Clouser – 2015)


Like his former Nine Inch Nails band members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Charlie Clouser decided to take his craft over to the film music world. While Reznor is the most successful of the three, Charlie Clouser has the largest output and has been around films longer. His scores for the Saw franchise are still part of my playlists today and every time his name comes up I get really excited. I haven’t encountered a less than exciting score from him. His aggressive atmospheric sound which has no limits appeals to me. And when the TV show he scores is, from what I read, a cross between Twin Peaks and The X-Files, produced by M. Night Syamalan, the level of excitement grows tenfold. I know I couldn’t wait each week for a new episode of “Wayward Pines” so I will binge watch it once the first season is over.

First thing I notice about this score is the brilliant way in which the cues are grouped. There are separate suites for each episode, the main titles and a farewell. A lot of times I’m having difficulties when reviewing a TV score because there’s almost no reference to the episode the cue comes from. They are usually collection of themes which I have to connect with situations. It’s not the case here.

For me hearting the sound of “Wayward Pines” is like visiting one of my favorite places in the world. Contrary to the mood it wants to set it’s a place where I feel safe and which has a lot of good memories stored. The cues that make up this score are ghosts whispering and moving around me but I welcome them and try to figure out what they are telling me. I’ve grown familiar with them and instead of fearing that thick darkness they weave I cover myself with it and explore the feelings it arises inside me. This is the music I like to reflect and remember on. This deep and ambient sound takes me over and almost hypnotizes me.

It is hard for me to have an objective view on Charlie Clouser’s music, because I love it so much and because I’ve been so intimate with this sound for years. Could you speak objectively about the friend that knows you best and that you feel the most comfortable with? If someone didn’t know what Charlie Clouser was about in this score I would tell him / her to expect a lot of electronic tension and ominous ambient music… Expect having the feeling of something chasing you, something that won’t stop until it gets you. Expect to hear the echoes of strings made to sound as if they were constantly cutting away at something; expect echoes of female voices and clocks ticking telling you that what’s inevitable is closing it. Expect confusion and fear, expect questions and doubts. Expect a composition that’s modular and alive. It doesn’t matter where you interrupt it or if you only listen to one cue or a part of a cue; the sensation will be the same. The music will grow back and take you over. This score is like a liquid dark metal that takes whatever shape it wants as if it was T-1000.

Expect all that and you might still be surprised. Me, I could listen to this music forever.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 64 / 64

Album excellence: 100%


Wayward Pines Theme

Episode One Suite

Leave Hospital, Steal Car

Kill Beverly

Episode Three Suite

Please Stay

Episode Four Suite

Episode Five Suite

Episode Six Suite

Episode Seven Suite

Episodes Eight And Nine Suite

Episode Ten Suite



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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