Album Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Soundtrack
By Joe Hackman
Album: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The soundtrack for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a landmark in Star Wars history: It is the first soundtrack for the film series not composed by John Williams. Disney recruited composer Michael Giacchino, who has previously worked for them on “Incredibles,” “Up,” and “Inside Out”, to score this film. Despite going against tradition, the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story soundtrack proves itself worthy, earning its way into Star Wars greatness.
Spanning 70 minutes across 21 tracks, the album offers many memorable melodies and tunes. The song “He’s Here For Us” opens with a bang -- quite literally -- and lurches into ominous orchestrated overdrive. The tense atmosphere persists for the next few songs, but gives way to a soothing piano-centered piece titled “Star-Dust.” The next track, “Confrontation on Eadu” allows the excitement to reappear through its thrashing strings and horns and perpetually shifting dynamic. Increased intensity strikes again in “Rogue One”, but the kind of intensity associated with a dangerous mission and nervousness so eloquently conveyed by a plethora of strings. “Hope” has a full-circle feeling to it since it links highly to the original Star Wars soundtrack, one of many links that will make fans giggle gleefully.
Notable new motifs this album introduces to the Star Wars realm are the “Jyn Erso”, “Imperial”, and “Guardians of the Whills” themes. The “Jyn Erso” theme utilizes soaring string and triumphant horns. The “Imperial” theme portrays a sinister atmosphere fit for a villain. The “Guardians of the Whills” theme possesses a mystic and ethereal quality complete with a choir. Giacchino integrates these themes into the rest of the album with flourishes, instrumental bursts, and dynamic changes. In addition, the album includes pieces from the original Star Wars trilogy, found in “Krennic’s Aspirations”, “AT-ACT Assault”, and “Hope.” In doing this, Giacchino instills some familiarity in the music while retaining originality and reveals his inspiration (perhaps contributing to the Williams-esque quality of the music).
The Rogue One soundtrack bridges the gap between classic and freshly-composed music with ease. In the linear notes, Giacchino confesses his love for Star Wars music that he listened to “for countless hours” as a young boy (as stated in Rogue One Soundtrack linear notes). Perhaps this soundtrack marks the beginning of a new generation scoring Star Wars films. While the musical future of the series is not solidified, one thing is for sure: Fans can expect quality output and possibly more nods to classic Star Wars.
When I created this album review column, I did so with the intention of spreading quality music to readers. Now that I have a few reviews under my belt, I wish to start expanding. That’s where you, the reader, come in. I created a Google Form to collect suggestions for future reviews. I would like to hear what you hear, and continue spreading quality music with your suggestions.