Musical Score By: Blake Neely

Distributed by: Cow On the Wall Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Serena is an EPIX documentary that provides an insight into the life of Serena Williams, the dynamic tennis star who has used that stardom to become a successful businesswoman.  A top-ranked player, Serena is also a designer and a businesswoman and this documentary shows the on and off-court pressures involved in becoming a sports legend and successful entrepreneur.

                The musical score of Serena was created by award-winning American composer Blake Neely.  Best known for his television scoring, Neely has created music for such popular television series as Eli Stone, Everwood, Resurrection, The Mentalist, Brothers and Sisters, Pan Am, Legends of Tomorrow, The Pacific, Arrow, Blindspot, Supergirl and more.  Film credits include Life as We Know It, The Wedding Date and Space Shuttle Columbia Mission of Hope.

                In creating the music for Serena, Blake Neely didnít stay with the norm.  Sure, there are some similarities in the scoring of this documentary to some of his television works, but they are small.  In fact, this is a very different soundtrack from any Neely work I have encountered before.  The Serena Main Theme features a piano solo followed by intense violin strokes.  This represents the woman Serena is in everyday life combined with the intense athlete she has to be on the court.  Strings are often used to represent Serena Williamsí time on the court and the intensity with which she plays.  These fast, intense violin strokes can be found in tracks like Williams vs Safarova, Playing Venus, US Open and more. 

I loved that the first two Opens featured on this documentary contain quite a distinctive sound.  In both Australian Open and French Open, the intense, fast paced violin strokes are accompanied by percussion that sounds very distinctly like a ball hitting a tennis racquet.  Love that!  Playing to Exhaustion is also a favorite track of mine as it starts off with bass accompanied by bongos and moves into a rather intense piano and string piece. 

                The Serena Soundtrack features a score that shows the dichotomy of the documentaryís subject.  Serena is a strong woman faced with sometimes insurmountable obstacles on her path to success both on and off the court.  Her intensity is perfectly expressed through string instruments, while her softer and more playful side is expressed through pianos and guitars.  I really enjoyed listening to the Serena Soundtrack and applaud Blake Neely on a score that surpasses anything Iíve heard from him recently.  It definitely should be added to your Must Listen list.


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