Battlestar Galactica Season 2 Original Soundtrack
Being a fan of the show I had no reservations about purchasing this soundtrack the moment I could. I am so pleased I have it today. My review below contains connections to episodes, but hopefully no serious spoilers. I will say nothing about the Season Finale cliff-hanger. (Except that it was absolutely perfect for the show) Track 1, "Colonial Anthem", as arranged by Bear McCreary is powerful and holds true to the stylings of Stu Phillips but in a modern Galactica setting.
Track 4, "A Promise to Return", is an emotional piece with the violin being played exceptionally by Ludvig Girdland. Girdland was hit by a drunk driver shortly after this piece was recorded, and is still in a coma. "Allegro" is best described as "Passacaglia" from season 1 with a more serious and desperate tone than its predecessor. It is a wonderfully orchestrated piece that can calm any ones nerves and brings emotional music to a new level.
One of my personal favorites is the short track "Martial Law". Watching the episode "Fragged" and hearing this brought goose bumps to my skin. It fits so perfectly within the episode, and the story arch presented at the beginning of the second season that I wish Mr. McCreary had expanded it from the 1:51 that it is into something about 4 minutes long. "Pegasus" and "Lords of Kobol" are the opening songs for Season Two's mid-season cliffhanger. Both make you feel as happy and elated as the characters feel when they are happened upon by a strong allied ship. "Pegasus" has a whimsical feel to it, giving the listener the dream like state that is referred to within the episode. `It's like a dream.' "Lords of Kobol" features vocals by Raya Yarbrough and could easily be turned into a dance track at a night club. The work here is again, exceptional.
"Something Dark is Coming" is probably the most powerful track on the disc. (I actually cannot decide for sure between several of these.) It is, without doubt, extremely powerful and emotional. It brings in a sense of desperation, tension, and hope during the season's finale. The piece involves the guitar but in a much more dark and tragic fashion. The synthesizers used also create a nearly whimsical state bring images from "Pegasus" to mind. Throw in the Middle Eastern woodwinds, and drums, and McCreary creates a powerful masterpiece that is entirely new to the series, but wholly Galactica in every note. Add in a subtle snare drum and the military comes into the scene, perfectly. The violins add a sense urgency and tension to the election process. The song is never rushed, and plays perfectly to the situation and characters on the screen. As I said before, an exceptional work. Absolutely beautiful.
"Scar" is the short battle track of the CD. It features the traditional drums of a Battlestar Galactica fight season mixed with the Middle Eastern woodwinds representing the Cylons. Then, a fourth of the way through the song, we have the memory of Kara's love, a man named Andrews. This also reminds Kara that she has a reason to live, and a promise to fulfill. Swinging back to the action, the song brings in a strong feeling of deliberate strategy on Kara's part as she fights for her life. "Epiphanies" is a soft piece. The emotions here are sad, and painful. The use of the strings here make sure that those emotions are exactly what you feel here, as President Roslin lays, dying of her cancer. "Roslin and Adama" is a moving piece bringing the emotion of deep love into the mix. It begins with slow strings and a piano. And gradually builds to a powerful orchestra piece, including the military snare drum cues, and a happier violin that brings the audience hope in the future. "Gina Escapes" was the first time during the season that we heard the guitar used on Galactica. (At least in a lead) And at that, is a grungy, Sci-Fi sound that brings us the Cylon theme, and as usual, goes right with the definition of Galactica. "Dark Unions" is another powerful piece, complimenting "Something Dark is Coming". The same theme is heard here, but even darker, and scarier. Add in drums and we go right back to a sense of urgency that McCreary has a masterful power over. "The Cylon Prisoner" brings us a southern twang that will, for many people, bring to mind the old prison chain gangs of the south. This defiantly creates a bond to our Cylon Prisoner aboard the Battlestar Pegasus. It features vocals by Bt4.
My favorite track, along with "Something Dark is Coming" is "Prelude to War". This 8 minute 22 second piece is filled with action and emotion from the mid-season cliffhanger and its two-part conclusion. The final song from the episode "Pegasus" is what starts off this song. Its whirlwind violins and military snare bring us to know that things are spiraling out of control as Adama and Cain square off over the lives of two of Galactica's crew members. After the whirlwind stops we have those wonderful base drums reminding us that two Battlestar's going toe to toe will be a serious fight. Fortunately, there is no cliff-hanger with the song as it goes right into the Viper "fight" from part one of "Resurrection Ship" including Kara's recon mission. The violins give us another serious reminder that this a dark time. From there we move to the fight between the Battlestars and the Basestars. We even hear a small part of Lee's theme as he floats through space after ejecting from the Blackbird which leads to the final moments of the battle and of course, Kara's mission to the Resurrection Ship. The piece ends on those drums again, just like they left us at the cliff-hanger. An absolutely perfect piece.
"Reuniting the Fleet" starts with a ghostly cello and light snare. Adama's theme is dominant throughout this song and ends on a "back into action" note as Adama begins the quest to find Roslin, and bring the fleet back together again. The Celtic pipes are brought in for this one, and remind us of Season One's piece, "Wander my Friends". A short piece at 2:45, it turns despair into hope, and seriousness into relief. "Roslin Confesses" starts at the end of "Reuniting the Fleet" and brings back the dark tone from "Dark Unions" and "Something Dark is Coming". In it we find the Roslin and Adama theme, and I personally, find this piece to be that made for a tragedy.
This leads us to "One Year Later". This song features the piano and was written under a pressing deadline. Which you can hear within the song as the piano almost reminds us of a ticking clock, as if time is running out. And, for our fleet, time has run out. The final song of Season Two, "Worthy of Survival", features the violin theme we heard while Apollo was on his unscheduled EVA. It is darker though (remember, time is up) and our colonist look up to the sky on Judgment Day. This cliff-hanger is exceptionally dark for our characters, and this song follows that perfectly. The gravity of the final situation of the season is reflected with a soft, depressed whirlwind of violins, and the constant drum beat as the end approaches. Towards the later half of the song that high pitched screech of a violin that reminds us what horror is all about can just barely be heard. The violins fade out, the music stops, and we wait until October for Season Three.
There are several other tracks on the CD that I have not reviewed. Do not by any means let that stop you from enjoying them. "Black Market" is quite powerful and features Steve Bartek on guitar.
All in all, I love this CD. All of McCreary's pieces are exceptionally powerful and fit the story on the screen perfectly. Never in TV soundtracks has anyone managed to get a song or a sound to work as perfectly as Bear McCreary. Every emotion can be heard from despair to hope, and every song leaves you wanting more from this talented composer. Season Three will be upon us and so will McCreary's styling's again. I for one cannot wait. As they say, "So Say We All".