Speed Racer The Video Game Original Soundtrack

Speed Racer The Video Game Original Soundtrack Album Title:
Speed Racer The Video Game Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Warner Bros.
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
May 6, 2008
Buy Used Copy


Speed Racer was positioned as one of the tentpole blockbusters of 2008, with merchandizing and tie-ins galore. Despite that, the film was a tremendous disappointment, and will probably go down as one of the most costly bombs in history. As with most major Hollywood releases, a video game was released alongside Speed Racer; for the score, producers turned to composer Winifred Phillips, who has gained notice with past efforts in the movie tie-in genre.


The game represents an interesting situation. Michael Giacchino, himself a video game composer, wrote the original score for Speed Racer, and many compared the garish film to a game itself. Phillips was thus confronted with the challenge of how to create an original score for a game based on a movie that plays like a game, and to follow a score written by a revered game composer.

She responded by writing a propulsive score with very little in common with Giacchino’s effort, drawing instead on electronica influences as diverse as Prodigy and the Propellerheads, and even Freddie Mercury of Queen. Phillips’ music is densely layered, with brass melodies mixed with backbeats, electronic effects, and sound samples. The music is extremely propulsive, as one would expect from a racing soundtrack, but nevertheless maintains a distinct identity which sets the effort apart from more vanilla efforts in the genre.

“Thunderhead,” the first track written for the project, is in many ways prototypical. It uses a sampled clapping sound and crowd shouts for percussion, mixing in tick layers of electronics, guitars, and brass. It actually integrates aspects of Michael Giacchino’s original Speed Racer theme, but the soundtrack is otherwise novel thematically.

Other tracks give a greater weight to various elements in the mix. “Aurora Cryopticon” has a prominent bass melody and guitar accompaniment, with swirling strings and electronics in a subdued, supporting role. Occasionally, Phillips will include some ethnic influences, notably in “Onuris” and “Fuji Helexicon.” The album is rounded out by two vocal tracks: the “End Credits,” which uses Queen-style lyrics to remix the original cartoon theme, and “Burn,” which features the composer herself singing a more sultry jazz tune.


In the end, Phillips is able to distinguish herself through her complex and interesting approach, mixing electronics, guitars, orchestral effects, and sound samples into a potent brew. While the music is not highly melodic, and the constant use of the words “Speed Racer” as a refrain hurts the music’s ability to stand apart from its source, it remains an enjoyable listen. Though the physical copy of this soundtrack was only available promotionally, 45 minutes of Phillips’ score is available from her website, and it’s recommended to anyone looking for something a little different in their racing soundscapes.

Speed Racer The Video Game Original Soundtrack Alex Watson

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Alex Watson. Last modified on August 1, 2012.

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