House of Cards: Season 2

Composed By: Jeff Beal

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                House of Cards is a Netflix original dramatic series starring Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood.  As House Majority Whip, Democrat Frank Underwood seeks more power in the form of Secretary of State.  But when he is passed over for the job by the President, Frank to use Congress, the media and corporate boosters to get him what he now wants more than anything - revenge. 

                Now in its third season, House of Cards was an instant success and has received a number of nominations and awards.  The musical score of House of Cards was created by American composer Jeff Beal.  Becoming an accomplished trumpet player and a jazz performer, Beal first received notice for his scoring with his composition of the Pollock film score.  Since then, he has created scores for a number of films, including Appaloosa, Door to Door, Monk, Ugly Betty and more. 

                The House of Cards: Season 2 Soundtrack features two discs filled with almost two hours of music.  The score is mainly orchestral, featuring piano, guitar and trumpet solos.  The piano and trumpet solos are often performed by Beal himself who lends his jazz flavor to the score.  The trumpets give the score a noir sort of feel.  Lightly struck cymbals hint to something sneaky going on, while the rest of the score offers up a feeling of mysterious and sneaky underhanded doings afoot.  Snare drum rolls hint at incidents of Presidential proportions.  Operatic vocals give us an idea of big things happening and Frank's view of himself as an incredibly important person shuffling his pawns around with a look toward vengeance. 

                Darker as television scores go, the House of Cards: Season 2 Soundtrack never loses its dramatic flavor.  There are no comedic interludes; no lighter moments throughout the album.  Even the Pretty Polly song performed by Spacey on the first CD begins with a light tone, but ends with an ominous orchestral note.  Jeff Beal has definitely set out to do what he wanted with this television series' score: "The direction I was inspired to follow from watching the show, was to approach the project cinematically as opposed to traditional serialized television."  In treating House of Cards as if it were a thirteen hour movie, Beal has created an incredibly dramatic score that compliments the going on in the series perfectly.


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