Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Composed by: Bear McCreary
Music By: Various Artists
Distributed by: La-La Land Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Fans of this site and friends of mine know that I am a huge fan of the Terminator storyline. I’ve watched the movies, read the books, read the comic books, listened to the soundtracks and have fallen in love with the television series. When I was presented with an opportunity to review the soundtrack of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I jumped at the chance. Once I received the soundtrack, I was delighted to learn that it was composed by Bear McCreary, whose musical composition I had enjoyed previously on Battlestar Galactica soundtracks. To me, this was a win-win situation. Not only did I get to review a soundtrack for a television show that I loved, but I was going to listen to more music by a composer whose works I had already grown respect for.
It all begins with a cool rock and roll rendition of an old folk song named Samson and Delilah, performed by Shirley Manson (lead vocalist of the band Garbage and actress portraying Catherine Weaver in the series) and arranged by Bear McCreary. This song was originally written by Reverend Gary Davis and tells the biblical story of Samson, the ups and downs of his life. The song is played during a pivotal episode in the series and one line in particular seems to define all of the climactic events that take place: “If I had my way / I’d burn this whole building down.” This is followed by the 43 second opening title of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a mix of new composition with traces of the Terminator theme from past movies.
The following tracks are mostly from episodes that take place in Season One of the series. Sarah Connor’s Theme begins with soft music offering a hint of despair Sarah must be feeling as a woman in her position. This soft sound is mixed in with some of the original Terminator theme consisting of percussion and strings and finishes off with a snippet of the music from Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese’s love scene from the original movie. This portion of Sarah’s theme reveals how much Kyle Reese has touched her life and how she will never be able to forget what he meant to her.
Throughout the soundtrack, Bear McCreary continues to mix in some of the original themes of the Terminator films with new composition of his own. McCreary has a deep tie to the Terminator movies as witnessed by the statement in the liner notes: “Terminator 2 changed my life.” In speaking about the music itself, he states, “The most important element was percussion.” This explains all of the percussion found on this soundtrack, most of which is used to give the listener an idea of the action taking place…the ominous metallic percussion associated with the Terminator machines, percussion mirroring the adrenaline pumping through the hearts of the characters as they are put through their paces trying to change the future to save mankind, percussion associated with the resounding will of our characters and their determination to survive despite the odds stacked against them.
Emotional scenes are highlighted by woodwinds and strings while action scenes feature intense percussion and electronic sound. Electric guitars bring a rocking sound to some of the action scenes and a techno mix with slamming percussions (ala the Battlestar Galactica Soundtracks), electronic sounds and feedback are used to emphasize dramatic action sequences that have a huge impact on the lives of the series’ characters.
Favorite tracks featured some of the older themes mixed in with new composition. I have always been a fan of the Sarah Connor/Kyle Reese love scene theme, finding it to be full of emotion and intensity. Happily, Bear McCreary must have felt the same way about this particular piece as he uses it in Sarah’s theme which can be found in numerous tracks, including one of my favorites, Perfect Creatures.
I tend to agree with the comments made by actor Thomas Decker (John Connor) in the liner notes when he says “The score for The Sarah Connor Chronicles IS The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Even more importantly it is Terminator.” By mixing elements of soundtracks from the original movies with new composition, Bear McCreary has given the series a Terminator feel with a sense of uniqueness. The music is not an exact replica of the movie soundtrack – it’s a new and exciting take on it, perfectly expressing the theme of the show itself.
Bear McCreary has done it again! Watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I have often commented on the intensity of the music and how it adds to the intensity of various scenes. Now, that I know who is behind the soundtrack, I can’t help but think that I should not have been surprised. Bear McCreary’s love for the Terminator movies resonates through each composition found on this soundtrack. Whether you are a fan of the television series, the franchise in general or just of Bear McCreary’s music, you will not want to miss out on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Soundtrack!