Soundtrack review: Unforgotten (series 2) (Michael Price – 2016)
“Unforgotten” is a British television crime drama, first broadcast on ITV on 8 October 2015. The series was created and written by Chris Lang, and follows two London detectives, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), as they work together to solve cold cases involving historic disappearances and murders. The first series focuses on the murder of Jimmy Sullivan, a student who disappeared in 1974 whose remains are discovered during the demolition of a house in North London. Filming for the first series began in March 2015 and lasted for twelve weeks. Filming took place in locations including the London suburbs, the Essex coast, Westminster and the Fens. The second series focuses on the murder of David Walker, a Conservative Party consultant who disappeared in 1990, whose remains are found in a suitcase buried in the River LeaI. I like the premise and I trust police British TV shows. The score was written by Michael Price.
A strange thing happened as I received this score; I checked to see about the first season and discovered that I had listened to it and reviewed it when it came out but I couldn’t remember a thing. Sort of fits the premise of the show… This second volume invites me in with a dark and misty violin driver opening cue “The suitcase” which shows the discovery of the murder. I like it that the composer introduces me to this world without anything heavy or exaggeratedly dramatic; he sort of eases the listener into this before getting full dark in the beginning of “Cause of death”. The constant piano and violin duet in the score gives “Unforgotten” a specific sound right from the start; the sadness is there but not hopeless, there’s always a ray of light in the music.
I like the intimate feel of the score; there are not a lot of instruments and both the piano and violin sounds are fully explored and exposed as the music rolls into my ears. These short and meaningful pieces of music (rarely a cue is 2 minutes long) set a certain mood and make me feel invested in the story. Usually when composers write music for investigative stories they settle for a tense dark thriller mode that’s not always very rewarding outside the context of the movie or TV show. It’s different with Michael Price’s music though; here every motif is carefully placed as if it was a piece of evidence in a crime that will fit into the bigger picture at some point.
I just love a cue like “Clients”; I thinks it’s representative for this score. The soft piano undertone and the louder violin mix sadness with hope and don’t let me fall into despair. There’s always a crack that lets the light get in, there’s a thread that as long as I pull on I’ll be fine when it’s all over. The music is careful and respectful and honest and as it foes on I enjoy it more and more.
Michael Price wrote a score that’s all about the atmosphere and the soundscape works very well outside the context of the TV show; This is the perfect score for a rainy afternoon, for that sensation of enjoying the persistent rain with the melancholy it brings while also cherishing the thought that the rain will be over and the sun will come out again. I can imagine days when I will return to this beautiful and elegant score and take shelter in its comfortable reflective ambient padded with the sounds of a piano and a violin. If there is a season 3 I will surely remember how much I enjoyed “Unforgotten series 2”.
Cue rating: 92 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 59
Album excellence: 59%
I Feel Cheated
No Need for Thanks
Just Walk Away
Very Good at Beer
Time to Think
Just Like You
Shrugged It Off
It Didn’t Rain
I Was Special
Need to Be Punished