Defiance Original Television Soundtrack

Music By: Bear McCreary

Distributed by: Sparks and Shadows

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Defiance is just one of those multimedia releases that is off the charts.  It all started with the release of the new television show in April, coinciding with a MMO video game based on the show.  A short time later, I received the Defiance Video Game Soundtrack, composed by Bear McCreary, and was quite pleased.  On June 17, 2013, Sparks & Shadows released the Defiance Original Television Soundtrack by Bear McCreary.  As a fan of both the show and McCreary's work, I couldn't wait to take a listen.

Defiance takes place on Earth in the year 2046.  Thirty year ago, a  multi-species and cultured group of aliens known as the Votan invaded.  Earth as we know it was gone, terraformed by the new invaders.  Former soldier Jed Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his adopted daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonides) are attacked while hunting Votan wreckage for items they can sell.  They are rescued and find themselves in a town called Defiance. 

Once known as St. Louis, Defiance is a unique location, where all species, Votan and human, live together in what passes as piece and harmony.  But as we watch the series, we discover that are all sorts of underlying tensions in this town and some members are less than happy to be considered equals with the variety of races here.  Thanks to an uprising that almost destroys the town, Nolan and Irisa become peacekeepers, working with the town mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz), from allowing the town to be destroyed by its detractors both within and without.

The music of Defiance was created by American composer Bear McCreary.  Best known for his work on the musical score of the Battlestar Galactica series and all of its spinoffs and movies, McCreary has also worked on a number of films, television series and video game scores, including The Cape, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Walking Dead, Wrong Turn, Chillerama, SOCOM 4 and Dark Void.

Music is very important to this series, used as an aide in expressing the inner feelings of the members of the town.  In fact, Defiance even has its own DJ, working from the top of the arch to add some musical color to the town's everyday life.  McCreary was charged not only with creating a musical score for a dramatic science fiction series, but with creating songs for that series, both human and alien.  But no composer was more up to the task than Bear McCreary.  According to McCreary, "Scoring a project like Defiance is a rare situation for a composer.  I was asked to help bring the alien cultures to life by developing a distinct musical heritage for each. I fashioned Votan instrumentation and lyrics into a variety of popular songs and ceremonial pieces. I wrote pieces for street musicians that float through open-air marketplaces. I produced alien classical music, jingles, jazz, rock-anthems and torch songs."

Of course, he would need someone to perform these songs and for that, he turned to old acquaintances.  Raya Yarbrough, Brendan McCreary and Brendan's band Young Beautiful and in a Hurry are no strangers to Battlestar Galactica fans, having performed songs on a number of episodes.  Bear would approach them again to perform the songs for Defiance.

I have to say that I was happily surprised to discover that the Defiance Original Television Soundtrack would contain both regular score, human songs and alien songs.  I even found myself grinning while listening to the various alien tracks.  I don't know why I should be surprised - I've heard these tracks performed during episodes of the show, but somehow I never expected them to appear on a soundtrack.  Kudos for making these songs seem to have incredible meaning, despite the fact that the listener will have no idea what is being said in songs like Besash, the Castithan Wedding Song and Terraform My Heart.

Most of the songs on this album have a rock and roll feel to them, but there are a few ballads that some of us remember from our youth.  I've always loved the songs Ooh Child and Time After Time .  For this album, the songs were slowed down a bit to allow the singer to express more feeling while performing the lyrics.  It works for Ooh Child very well.  However, Raya Yarbrough's rendition of Time After Time leaves something to be desired.  I've heard this song performed at a slower, more ballad-like pace by Cyndi Lauper with much greater success.

And of course, how can I review this album properly without talking about the amazing score Bear McCreary created for it.  The musical score is a mixture of regular orchestral sound mixed with an electronic undercurrent, used to express the alien side of things.  The Defiance Main Title serves as a theme that weaves its way throughout the soundtrack and I have noticed a sad sort of string theme that seems to follow Irisa everywhere...sort of a nod to her feelings about being different and her upbringing among other issues.

I absolutely loved listening to the music and songs composed by Bear McCreary while watching the show and I love the Defiance Original Television Soundtrack even more.  I can sit there and close my eyes and listen to the music while I picture the scenes the music appeared during.  Fans of the show will definitely want to get their hands on this soundtrack.  Fans of Bear McCreary's work will not want to miss out taking a listen to the alien songs the master composer has created for Defiance.  This is a soundtrack well worth the money.


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