Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Music By: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: Marvel Music
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Some time ago, I reviewed a new television series based on a Marvel comic book called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The review was not entirely enthusiastic and I stopped watching, but, as it seems, the show became an instant hit with Marvel fans and action fans alike. Now in its third season, the series chronicles an unusual group of agents who act as peacekeepers and spies in a world of superheroes and aliens.
The musical score of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was created by American composer and musician Bear McCreary. Receiving degrees in Composition and Recording Arts from the USC Thornton School of Music, McCreary is a composer who enjoys thinking out of the box, mixing genres and adding unusual instrumentation to create rather memorable musical scores. By the age of 24, McCreary began receiving accolades for his score for Battlestar Galactica. Since then, he has become one of the most sought after composers and has amassed quite a résumé, including the scores of such popular television series like The Walking Dead, Black Sails, Defiance and more.
With a television series based upon interaction with superheroes and spies, it is not surprising that there would be a superhero fanfare/action element with quieter, more stealthy moments add in. According to Bear McCreary, "I’ve always adored superheroes and their musical fanfares." The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Overture includes that superhero action fanfare theme that finds its way into most of the action sequences. Track 4, Rocket Launch, despite the title of the track, features a much softer sound with acoustic guitars and strings, almost sounding like the accompaniment of a love scene.
Known for his use of percussion and exotic sound, McCreary works both elements into the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Soundtrack. In discussing the episode '0-8-4,' McCreary states, "...this episode is almost entirely one giant action cue (or so it felt when I was writing it) so I relied on the heavy synths and pounding percussion to cut through the chaos during moments when the orchestra alone would be unable to compete with the sound design. The South American setting of '0-8-4' gave me an excuse to bring an ethnic component to the score." Electric guitars, a rock element that McCreary often uses in his soundtracks, make their way into this score, but in Track 6, Aftermath of the Uprising, their is a reflective quality to the electric guitar sound, followed by snare strikes offering up a possible moment of harsh determination reflected in a main character. Track 11, Alien DNA, features female vocals that are quite haunting, adding to the chilling moment of discovery in the episode. Dark horns and percussion describe a different enemy element - Hydra, a criminal organization dedicated to world-wide domination.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Soundtrack features a great action score that will definitely serve you well if you need some wake me up music to listen to on the way to work. Just make sure you aren't listening to it while driving - the need for speed will overwhelm you. Bear McCreary just can't stop churning out great musical scores and his compositions for this television series no doubt add to the action and suspense of the on screen visuals. Definitely a soundtrack worth taking a listen to.