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3WA 2018 #21: Ramin Djawadi – Pacific Rim Soundtrack

Remember last year when one of the running themes was a giant-robot content warning? Ah, those were the days, weren’t they?

What is it?

The Pacific Rim Soundtrack is the 2013 release of Ramin Djawadi’s marvelous accompanying music for the delightful mechs-versus-monsters film we all know and love.

We do all know and love it, right? Right.

How does it sound?

Like music you’d cancel the apocalypse to:

Why this pick?

Soundtracks make up a small but significant percentage of my music library. I didn’t include a lot of them in this year’s writing project selections. Just a few.

Why this one, to start? I figured I’d go with something that people might actually have familiarity with, being a relatively recent film with high popularity among my fellow geeky people.

Which songs are the highlights?

Unlike a normal album where a vocal performance here or a particular riff there can make a song stand out, a soundtrack is all about bits of music that remind you of stuff you saw in the movie. It’s hard for me to separate the musical cues from the viewing experience and judge tunes on their detached merits. Naming names doesn’t help me tell you how best to listen to this sort of record.

With that said, the main theme is probably the best piece of music I know of to cue up when I need to get something done.

Which songs don’t work so well?

Some tracks one recognizes a few seconds of from the movie only to find that the rest of the track is either too repetitive or uninteresting. And, of course, you get to hear variations on the key motifs over and over again as you work your way through. That can get a bit tiring after a while.

I’m not going to name names here, either. There’s so much personal preference involved that there’s no point whatsoever in picking and choosing songs to avoid.

Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?

There are a few other soundtracks in the pipeline yet, but unless you know my library it won’t give anything away to say that I could have gone with the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Dune, or the first season of RWBY, or maybe one of the Cowboy Bebop albums. Who knows?

Had the game come out last year while I was still assembling the list I might have selected the soundtrack for the new Battletech game. It’s quite good, nearly up to the standard set by the Mechwarrior 2 game soundtrack.

Any final thoughts?

The Pacific Rim Uprising film score tries to reuse the main theme from this soundtrack while “punching it up” a bit, and it just didn’t quite work for me. I appreciated what they were aiming for, they just… missed, that’s all.

5 Comments

  1. The movie that knew what it wanted to be, and what it wanted to be was giant robots punching giant lizards in the face. Mission accomplished, and its the best damn movie about giant robots punching giant lizards in the face there’s ever been.

    Remember how I mentioned that I liked AudioSlave because it was Rage Against The Machine without Zach de la Rosa? Well, the guitar track for Pacific Rim’s main theme was played by… Tom Morello, of RATM and AudioSlave.

    It’s on my mp3 player. If I ever need a good hour of claims processing, I cue it up and crank the volume.

    I’m a little disappointed though… I was expecting something by Rob Zombie or White Zombie this week.

    • I don’t have any full albums by or named anything Zombie-ish, unfortunately. Sorry about that!

      I also wish Uprising had been anywhere near as good as its predecessor. It’s not bad, it’s just… not as clever and heartfelt (for lack of a better term) as the first one. Sigh.

  2. :::shudders at the mention of the movie Dune:::

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