Film scores

Soundtrack review: The 100 (season 3) (Tree Adams – 2016)

The-100-Grounder-Anthem-mp3-image

“The 100” (pronounced The Hundred) is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series that premiered on The CW during the 2013–14 American television season, on March 19, 2014. The series, developed by Jason Rothenberg, is loosely based on a book of the same name, the first in a trilogy by Kass Morgan.The series follows a group of teens: Clarke (Eliza Taylor), Bellamy (Bob Morley), Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), Jasper (Devon Bostick), Monty (Christopher Larkin), Raven (Lindsey Morgan), Finn (Thomas McDonell), and Wells (Eli Goree) as they become the first humans to return to Earth after a devastating nuclear apocalypse; the series also focuses on Clarke’s mother, Abby (Paige Turco), Marcus (Henry Ian Cusick), a council member on “The Ark”, and Wells’ father, Thelonious (Isaiah Washington), the Chancellor. I am catching up with the music for the third season, written by Tree Adams.

The album is a massive 90 minutes and I like that for a TV score; it gives me time to get into the atmosphere of the series even if I haven’t watched the show yet. Tree Adams wastes no time and throws me right in the middle of the action with the quite spectacular opening “The riot’s a distraction”. “Inception” style percussion and “braaaam”, an insane pace and an epic conclusion make sure I’m sitting firmly in my seat with full attention to this one. I love the RCP sound and this opening track gave me my fix.

I like my ambient moments in a Sci-fi story and Tree Adams knows how to write those. A cue like “Bellarke theme” is something I will always return to with pleasure. The dreamy background, the soulful strings, the whispering piano and, the cherry on top, the ghostly vocalizations make me mark this one as the other, equally rewarding end of the musical spectrum of “The 100”. I want to listen to this one over and over again with my eyes closed and see what images it brings.

In between these two moods the music is varied and exciting. The action parts have almost trailer music like intensity in the powerful RCP vein. If you enjoy cracking scores like Transformers or action compositions by Trevor Morris or Lorne Balfe you will have a great time with this one just like I had.  The quieter pieces have that dreamy atmospheric quality I always enjoy. Hidden inside the score are some fascinating cues: “Murphy and Emory Grifter love theme” which is constructed as if it was a cracked mirror in which the two lovers look; every now and then there’s a sudden break in the emotional flow of the theme; “Ontari” which is a tormented industrial rock nightmare cue of many twists and turns.

The base that holds the entire score together for me is the suspense. Besides the tense cues themselves, suspense is present in the action parts and also touches the emotional moments. Everything about this score spells suspense and this makes me think that the TV show has a lot of it as well. The musical atmosphere of “The 100” is very well constructed and somehow restricted with clear boundaries which give it a clear identity. I loved the journey of listening to it.

“The 100” by Tree Adams was a very enjoyable and satisfying listen. I got epic instances of spectacular action and sweeping emotional pieces hung on piercing strings of cellos. I got subtle choral moments sprinkled throughout the score and tension to keep me on the edge of my seat. Give this one a listen because I’m sure you’ll find something to relate to inside. Fans of the show will love it even more.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 40 / 87

Album excellence: 46%

Highlights:

The Riot’s a Distraction

Bellarke Theme

Perverse Instantiation

Satellite Migration Complete

Polis

Take a Life with Me (Grounder Anthem)

Murphy and Emori Grifter Love Theme

I Will Always Be with You

A Hero’s Funeral

Luna’s Sorrow

Jasper’s Dilemma

The Program That Ended the World

Ontari

The Awakening

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).

2 Comments

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  • I’ve had this score on repeat for days now. Several of these tracks are stuck in my head and I need to listen to them over and over again. One piece that wasn’t mentioned in the review but that I really love and I think deserves a shout out is “ALIE and the City of Light”.