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Soundtrack review: Star Trek: Discovery (season 1, chapter 2) (Jeff Russo – 2017)


Soundtrack review: Star Trek: Discovery (season 1, chapter 2) (Jeff Russo – 2017)



“STAR TREK: DISCOVERY” follows the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new life forms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. The series features a new ship and new characters, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers. The cast includes Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Isaacs, Anthony Rapp, Michelle Yeoh, Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Mary Chieffo, James Frain and more. This is a second volume of music from Jeff Russo, just as it happened with his “Legion” score.

I enjoyed the first volume of this score but even if I hadn’t I encourage labels to release as much TV music as possible. The atmosphere of the show is dark and often violent and the music is in tone mostly with the dark, quiet part in this volume. There is a woodwind motif that appears clearly in “Tell me the truth” that links the music to Star Trek for me; it’s a clever hook placed in the ST musical lore and it works well with the other musings that Jeff Russo explores in this score. He gets the exploration part right and the occasional loud bursts are there to remind the listener of the violent parts of the show.

Sometimes the music gets frustrating for me because it lurks too much in the shadows, in that dark thriller musical zone that has no beginning and no ending; it’s obvious that the collection of cues on this volume of the score is taken from the action moments and it’s also clear that this album will please much more fans of the show who share an emotional connection with it and can recognise specific cues from scenes they loved than casual listeners. The second volume of music from “Star Trek: Discovery” is not made to attract new fans or to introduce new themes but more to capitalise on the Star Trek name.

I think my biggest problem was the lack of an epic thread in this score; I didn’t find a story to follow, it was as if I was thrown in the middle of the story and I needed to revisit the first volume in order to connect the dots. Maybe this was the point after all. I found myself getting more excited when that generally closed mood livened up with action inspired moments like “212 days of torture”; the sound is mostly electronic but richer during these louder bursts. I find a favourite motif in the first half of “Come in, Discovery” and I wish it would have developed into a full theme.

I didn’t enjoy this second volume as much as the first one but maybe this is because I haven’t watched the entire show and the music felt a bit too generic for me since I couldn’t connect it to anything. Only pieces like “I’m no good” truly meant something musically I will come back to it once I’ve completed the first season of the show.

Cue rating: 72 / 100

I’m No Good
War is Over
I’ve Never Been to Vulcan

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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