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Soundtrack review: Jessica Jones (season 2) (Sean Callery – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: Jessica Jones (season 2) (Sean Callery – 2018)

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones, or simply Jessica Jones, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones, a former superhero who opens her own detective agency. The second season follows Jones as she takes on a new case after the events surrounding her encounter with Kilgrave. Sean Callery wrote the score.

I’ve always loved the smooth, jazzy main title of Jessica Jones; coupled with the watercolor opening credits it made me ignore the “skip intro” button for one of the very few times as I was watching the show. The “double shot” version of the theme that opens the second season score is even better and makes the whole jazz club feeling even more poignant; there’s improvisation, there’s a furious rock motif in the middle and it all mixes in a very enjoyable musical cocktail. It’s still one of my favorite TV themes right now.

This mellow and almost suave atmosphere continues throughout the score; there’s something about slow, moody jazz that always gets to me, it’s one of the textures I am most drawn to in film music. It’s these quieter, transitory moments that work best for me in this score; when the composer turns the sound more towards electronic thriller in the action moments I feel as if the mood was broken. I know the show is violent at times and it’s not all quiet stalking and photographing in the night so Sean Callery has to address those moments as well. Luckily for me he has cues like “The bear on the wall” where he just improvises with the jazz and mystery until it builds up into a suffocating tense piece and once again I wonder why hasn’t anybody released his “Homeland” scores yet because they are full of this sound.

There’s a new character in this season, Alisa, and she gets a puzzle like theme where sounds of different instruments come over each other and combine with one another without necessarily having the same pace and this wonderful indecision reminds me of the “Homeland” main titles. Her theme blends well with the rest of the score which continues to flow oblivious of the rush of the outside world. The slow pace that critics say plagues this season of the show itself works for the score because it makes even the standalone listening experience very enjoyable. I like this reflective texture, the sudden bursts, the dipping piano and the sneaky strings.

If only for Sean Callery’s music I would like this show to continue. JJ has a special sound in this Marvel TV universe and if you are into smooth, quiet jazz you will love this score just like I did.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 28 / 54

Album excellence: 52%

Highlights:
Jessica Jones Main Title (Double Shot Version)
Malcolm Suits Up
The Bear on the Wall
Alisa’s Theme
Hogarth’s Unexpected News
Malcolm and Trish
Rooftop Movie Night
The Abandoned Lab
Escaping the Fire
Starting at the Beginning

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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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