BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 3
Music composed by Bear McCreary
Label: La-La Land Records
Catalog: LLLCD 1059

Year: 2007
Tracks:

1. A Distant Sadness - From "Occupation"

2. Precipice - From "Precipice"

3. Admiral and Commander - From "Exodus, Parts I and II"

4. Storming New Caprica - From "Exodus, Part II"

5. Refugees Return - From "Exodus, Part II"

6. Wayward Soldier - From "Hero"

7. Violence and Variations - From "Unfinished Business"

8. The Dance - From "Unfinished Business"

9. Adama Falls - From "Unfinished Business"

10. Under the Wing - From "Maelstrom"

11. Battlestar Sonatica - From "Torn"

12. Fight Night - From "Unfinished Business"

13. Kat's Sacrifice - From "The Passage"

14. Someone to Trust - From "Taking a Break From All Your Worries"

15. The Temple of Five - From "The Eye of Jupiter"

16. Dirty Hands - From "Dirty Hands"

17. Gentle Execution - From "Exodus, Part II"

18. Mandala in the Clouds - From "Maelstrom"

19. Deathbed and Maelstrom - From "Maelstrom"

20. Heeding the Call - From "Crossroads, Part II"

21. All Along the Watchtower - From "Crossroads, Part II"

Total Time: 79:12
Rating:


Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

 

About the Soundtrack: The music from Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 is brought to us by the young composer of the series, Bear McCreary.  The selections of music on the disc offer highlights from the 3rd season, which were handpicked by the composer for the best possible representation of material from the show's third tour of duty.  Needless to say, selecting the tracks that made it onto the album was a challenging exercise since there was so much material to choose from.  Eventually, after careful thought, the album started to round into shape and all the important and significant sources of music made it onto the album, including a very cool rendition of a Bob Dylan classic that concludes the album.  In all, this score release serves the series well with its selections and offers a generous running time that listeners can engage in.

 

Things You Need to Know: I've had mixed emotions about the new Battlestar Galactica series.  While I will concede that it is a vast improvement over the original in the areas of dramatic effect and pacing, I feel as though its missing a bit of the adventurous spirit that the predecessor was known for.  I also feel the use of the handheld camera effect is annoying and that the word 'frack' is used way too often during the show.  As far as the music, that too is updated and is totally different from the original, as perhaps it should be for a 're-imagined' product.  The good news is that McCreary's music seems to be coming into its own as the series progresses and a good indicator of that is his work on Season 3.

 

The first thing that jumped out at me about the score from Season 3 is the fantastic and crisp sound quality of the music.  I think that this is the best mixed soundtrack of the year.  However, a good mix is only effective if the score itself is of a high quality, which thankfully, it is. McCreary's score is truly a diverse offering that provides a great representation of the human race in the show.  The score offers melodies of Asian, Middle Eastern and Irish origins, to name a few.  These cultural influences are a home run in the sense that "Battlestar Galactica" is the last haven for all of mankind, thus it makes sense to have a varied representation of music.

 

The score also provides many dramatic cues that play beyond the scope of the small screen.  These serious and effective excerpts of music gives you an idea of how gritty the television series is and doesn't make you think that this is a space opera; it's a war story.  Additionally, a good segment of the score is propelled by McCreary's impressive use of percussions, which are especially effective during the action sequences.  If there was an identifier of music from the series, I would have to say the use of percussions is it, since there really isn't a notable main theme present.

 

And about the main theme itself, or lack thereof -- this isn't the composer's fault.  The decision not to use the original Galactica theme was made by the producers of the series during the infancy stages of the project.  Beyond that, the production team was at a loss for the style of music that they were actually looking for.  The only certainty was that the classic main theme should not be employed and that a traditional orchestral approach should not be taken.  Thus, Bear McCreary came along and delivered what was needed and the rest is history.  While I think Bear's style is creative and works well in the scope of the series, I do think an identifying main theme would have served the series well.  I guess the production team was worried that the show might take on the generic music of the most recent Star Trek series had they not opted for a different angle.

Final Grade: Ultimately, by the third year, Bear McCreary's music has been given a chance to flourish and we're all the beneficiaries of that. This is a terrific score and it doesn't play like a typical television soundtrack; it's much better.  The diversity that's offered is an asset and makes for an enjoyable and varied listening experience.  I must also note that the sound of Bear's music is quite mature and well written, so I look forward to hearing more of his work in a different arena, most notably with The Sarah Connor Chronicles." In the end, Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 is a solid recommendation and bodes well for the music we'll be hearing in Season 4.

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