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Star Trek Beyond - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] CD, Soundtrack, Import
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One of the most beloved film franchises returns! Following the tremendous success of his work on last year's Jurassic Park reboot, composer Michael Giacchino returns to complete the latest installment of Star Trek. Giacchino also helmed the music duties for 2013's 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and 2009's 'Star Trek' soundtracks, both international best sellers.
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The two dominant themes you'll find in Star Trek Beyond is Giacchino's Star Trek theme and the one for the space station Yorktown. The Yorktown theme is introduced within "Thank your Lucky Star Date" (track 2) about halfway through the cue in a very "classical" kind of way. The first part of the cue contains a variation of the main theme performed by a piano "tapping" out the tune in the higher keys giving it a very spacey feel to it. The Yorktown theme hits it's stride within "Night on the Yorktown" (track 3). It's a very glorious and heavenly theme indeed and on the first listen, it reminded me of the triumphant ending music you find in a Disney movie. Magical, sweeping, and supported by a host of angels...it's a pretty grandiose theme for sure. I haven't seen the film yet (not looking forward to seeing the Enterprise blow up...again), but I had to go online to see what this space station looked like. It is indeed an impressive piece of celestial manufacturing by the Federation for sure and Giacchino's music eloquently demonstrates this.
The antagonist within the story seem to be represented rhythmically through percussion and at times, via a "swarming" flurry within the strings. The score balances out from the more hectic tension of the action sequences with pieces like "Jaylah Damage" (track 7) and "In Artifacts as in Life" (track 8) but these cues outside of the accompaniment of the film's story don't really offer anything memorable. "Franklin, My Dear" (track 9) is a little more interesting and appears to be a more uplifting musical moment as it slowly builds towards the end. "A Lesson in Vulcan Mineralogy" (track 10) has some nice cello work playing with the theme but ultimately becomes a class you'll find yourself snoring through. The last few seconds of the cue grows substantially however as if some discovery or plan has been developed. The score begins to pick up pace again within the next three tracks entitled "MotorCycles of Relief" (11), "Mocking Jaylah" (12), and "Crash Decisions" (13). These are some of the best action cues in my opinion as they are more musical varied and the composer finds big moments to blast out the main theme in tracks 11 and 13. "Mocking Jaylah" (12) offers some really cool percussion and choral work. The score begins to wind down with "Par-tay for the Course" (track 17) that revisits the Yorktown and main Star Trek theme. The cue builds to a grand heroic climax and the last cue "Star Trek Main Theme" (18) bookends the soundtrack with Giacchino's theme and a few notes of the original television theme.
There is always a real highlight piece in Giacchino's Star Trek scores. "Labor of Love" from 2009 and "Subprime Directive" 2013 are my favorites from the first two films in this series. While it doesn't have to impact of the previously mentioned cues, "Night on Yorktown" is growing on me from this particular film. All three scores are representative of the changing pace of these films however. Very fast and big action throughout. I must admit that I miss the more eloquent scores and ship to ship battles reminiscent of submarines. Times have changed however and Giacchino is certainly the right composer for the job. It's also good to see him return which provides consistency throughout the series. The original TV series variation is not on this particular score but that doesn't hurt me personally so much as it was already included in the 2009 release. Still, it is something to consider if you are looking for that particular piece.
The CD version of the score is released through Varese Sarabande Records. There are 18 tracks with a running time of 1 hour and 2 minutes. There is a 12 page insert containing photos from the film, production credits, track listing, and orchestra/choir member credits.
I also like the exotic sort of jungle music that plays for Jaylah. It suits her character, and it's very different from the rest of the score. Another favorite part is Giacchino's main Star Trek theme played on a delicate piano instead of by an orchestra. You hear it near the beginning, when Kirk is reading his captain's log, and it also plays during the end credits.
Speaking of which: Yes, I too was disappointed that we did not get Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" and Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" (even though I knew we wouldn't, because of copyright issues). I also knew that the original Star Trek theme would be omitted, because it wasn't on the "into Darkness" soundtrack, either. (If you really want to hear it, get the Star Trek 2009 soundtrack. You need to own all three of these albums, anyway!) However, there were some elements of the closing credits, like the aforementioned piano melody, that I did wish they had included.
Another deficit with this album – not with the music, just the packaging – was that the CD booklet just has a lot of photos and musician credits. No commentary from the director, producer or composer. That was kind of a bummer.
Overall, though, I am pleased with this recording. I've listened to it at least 20 or 30 times so far (and been to the actual movie three times!), and each time I listen, I discover new elements to the music that I did not notice before. This is definitely one of those albums that has to grow on you -- and then you can't get it out of your brain. (The same thing happened to me with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." When I first heard it, I thought, "John Williams is really slipping. This is definitely not his best work." But soon I was captivated by "Rey's Theme" and "March of the Resistance," and I played that album nonstop for two months.)
I suspect I'll have a similar experience with the "Star Trek Beyond". It's another shimmering gift to us from Michael Giacchino, and I'm sure my affection for this music will "live long and prosper."