Battlestar Galactica: Season 3
Composed by: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: La-La Land Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When the folks at the SciFi Channel announced that they were going to bring back a cult favorite with a new twist, science fiction fans were somewhat skeptical. Battlestar Galactica, a short-lived television series about “a ragtag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest” to find a new home after their original one was destroyed by an evil robotic civilization, was fun and entertaining and somewhat campy. The new Battlestar Galactica was to be based upon a series of novels written by one of the original show’s cast, Richard Hatch (known as Apollo in the original series). Fans need not have worried, this new version of Battlestar Galactica has been considered one of the top ten shows on television by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and TV Guide. The show’s soundtrack has received rave reviews as well.
The third season of the new and improved Battlestar Galactica rejoins the characters one year after the events of the second season’s finale. This third season is one of surprising revelations and unforgettable twists of fate. This is a season of evolution and war and the third season’s soundtrack reflects ever nuance of the story. Composing the music for the Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 Soundtrack is Bear McCreary, who is no stranger to Battlestar Galactica having composed the soundtracks for both the first and second seasons.
As with the first two seasons, the soundtrack of Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 is not something one can readily pin down as any particular genre. One moment, you hear Scottish bagpipes, the next classical piano, followed by Japanese taiko, Chinese ehru and Celtic pipes. This definitely gives the music an exotic flair. The musical composition is big on percussion, the sound of which signifies the urgency and importance of events in the series. Percussion is used in such a way in the fourth track, Storming New Caprica, as to bring to mind old dance hall sessions. Celtic pipes used in the eighth track, The Dance, are reminiscent of the dance scene in the lower decks in the movie Titanic. Guitars in the sixteenth track, Dirty Hands, start off with a country sort of feel and turn into more of a stand-off mode as the rock and roll riffs take over.
As with the first two soundtracks, Bear McCreary mixes numerous styles and genres in an effort to tell the characters’ story. As he explains in the liner notes of the album, Starbuck’s destiny was characterized using Chinese ehru, Baltar’s walk down the hallways of a Cylon basestar featured a classical piano solo, Apollo and Adama’s relationship was symbolized using Celtic pipes. McCreary also used songs from previous seasons, giving them new twists and reshaping them for events in the third season.
Two of the songs contain very fitting lyrics for the third season of Battlestar Galactica. One song, in particular, should be easily recognizable to fans of classic rock – All Along the Watch Tower, a song written by Bob Dylan and made famous by Jimi Hendrix. The lyrics of this song – “There must be some kind of way out of here / Said the joker to the thief /There’s too much confusion / I cant get no relief…” – represented a perfect way upon which to end the season for the show’s creator. Thus, Bear McCreary sought out a way to adapt and arrange the music to work perfectly in the season’s finale, relying on the vocals of Bt4 and former Oingo Boingo musicians John Avila on bass and Steve Bartek on guitar. The other song featuring lyrics can be found in the very first episode of the season. The lyrics of A Distant Sadness are sung in Armenian, but the translation is very fitting for the series: “…Our family is strong, but scattered / Across the stars and fields / We will not abandon you / We will not forget you / We will return for you”
Fans of the Battlestar Galactica series will be delighted to own this 21-track soundtrack. However, Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 is perfect for fans of any music with its variety of sound and mix of genre. A fan of music, had they never watched the science fiction series, would find this album to be a perfect addition to their music library.