Soundtrack Album Review
Music By Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard
Also Featuring Songs by Le Castle Vania, M86 & Susie Q, KALEIDA,
Ciscandra Nostalghia and The Candy Shop Boys
Varese Sarabande/27 Tracks/Disc Time: 70:00 Grade: C–
“John Wick” made a sensational splash this past fall as one of best criticized action films to be released in a long long time. The action-thriller in a way was Keanu Reeves comeback film which very well has brought him back after the commendable effort in “47 Ronin” which suffered from severe studio interference. “John Wick” tells the story of a retired mob assassin (Reeves) who’s lost his wife to cancer and living a quiet exsistance with his dog in New Jersey. One day when a Russian mobsters son has eyes on Wick’s special sports car and proceeds to make a huge mistake when he beats him up, steals the car and kills his beloved pet that was his wife’s final gift to him. Wick comes out his retirement when he learns that it was the son of his former employer that has taken away everything and will stop at nothing to avenge himself. The film was a stylish and gritty thriller was well received and I sure to become a cult film in years to come especially when it’s released on Blu-Ray and DVD by Lionsgate early next year.
The music for the film is a very contemporary style that fits the film perfectly. The music was by Tyler Bates, who was coming off his greatest score for the blockbuster of the year “Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy” and guitarist Joel J. Richard. The score is mostly electronic driven with guitar solos by Richard and a small ensemble of musicians that got the films’ tone just right. Bates is no stranger to a film or score such as this bringing his own style to “Get Carter”, “Watchmen” and “Doomsday” that helped drives those films musically.
Bates and Richard begin the score with “John Mourns” which is one of the few tranquil and rather pensive moments in the score for electronics and solo guitar that gives some humanity to Reeves’ character and its’ also reflected in the tracks “Dear John”, and “Daisy”. “Story Of Wick” start off the fun of the score with it’s pulsing electronic rhythms and acoustic guitar solo that gives is a Western styled vibe which the film rightfully is pretty much. Then the score really starts to build up into a frenetic bit of scoring with lots of electronics, progressive rock guitar and percussion that pretty much unleashes Wick’s violent side. Highlighted by the best tracks the album offers in “Assassins”, “Lure The Wolf”, “On The Hunt”, “Chop Shop”, “Wherehouse Smackdown” and “Dock Shootout”, that are very ecclectic and do have alot of energy to them. “Be Seeing You” ends the score on a high note with theme featured in “Story Of Wick” reprising itself signaling a future return for the now unretired character of John Wick.
This is a very lengthy album featuring 50 minutes of Bates’ and Richard’s score and that is definitely more than enough for this album to go along with the vital contributions of the film by Le Castle Vania whose tracks “The Drowning”, “The Red Circle”, “Shots Fired” and “LED Spirals” match Bates’ and Richard’s compositions with a techno infused sound. While songs such as “Evil Man Blues” Performed by The Candy Shop Boys, “In My Mind” Performed by M86 & Susie Q, “Think” Performed by KALEIDA and “Who You Talkin’ To Man?” Performed by Ciscandra Nostalghia all add a David Lynch styled vocals that lend further support to the score.
My main issue with this score is pretty much that it sounds like most scores today despite some really positive and energetic moments. If this film was made in the 90’s, this score probably would’ve been revered for trying something unique and different. This isn’t a bad score, but if there weren’t so many scores like this, easily this would’ve been one to truly get excited about. As-is, it’s a fine release and a score that works on its own positive merits to propell the energetic storyline along. This album is definitely for die hard fans of the film for sure. Marginal thumbs down.