The Crew Original Game Soundtrack
The Crew Original Game Soundtrack
November 11, 2014
Download at iTunes
A lot of people might not have heard of the composer Joseph Trapanese, but you can be guaranteed you’ve heard his works. He has worked as a co-composer and orchestrator for a number of major productions, most notably creating the vivid fusions of Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy and Oblivion scores. With such works behind him, he is now working increasingly as a solo composer on everything from the animated series Tron: Evolution, to the acclaimed movie franchise The Raid, and now, in his video game debut, The Crew. How did he approach The Crew?
Right off the bat, I have to say that this might just be my favorite electronic soundtrack of this year. Every track, and yes I do mean every single one, is sheer excitement translated into an audio form. Unfortunately, unlike my other reviews, I can’t speak of what I thought about its implementation in game as it hasn’t released yet. However, be sure to come by when it does as I will be happily posting an article with my impressions. On a stand-alone basis, however, this soundtrack is jam-packed with highlights. This soundtrack has a generous number of tracks at 28 with each track running for an average of two minutes, but most easily pass the three minute mark.
There are two major types of tracks here: the cinematic ones that you will hear during the game’s cutscenes and the gameplay ones are used during your playthrough. The cinematic tracks are much slower than the gameplay counterparts and serve the purpose of accompanying cutscenes. Not only that but they are also very good rest points for the soundtracks, and provide breaks from the score’s more hectic tracks. In general, they tend to use more organic instruments, for example “Alita”, and create rawer emotions, as evidenced by “Roxanne”. Not all cinematic tracks are slow, however, as “Game Over” proves anything other than a generic closer with its mixture of both hectic and subtle sounds.
In”Heavy As A Feather”, the hectic string melody acts as the game’s main melody and has something of a hip-hop vibe. Mixed with cinematic percussion and cutting-edge samples, it creates a very exciting dynamic that pulls your attention. The melody returns here and there in various tracks from the score, like in “Leadfoot” where it is mixed a bit differently. Boasting more novel string melodies, “Fenderbender” seems to have the secondary theme for the game, as it uses the same samples to begin the track but changes pace after a while. One of my other favorite string melodies has to be in “Downshift”, an overall exciting track which is mixed with an even more exciting drum line to really pump your adrenaline. In-game, it’s almost certain to keep me on the edge of my seat!
The soundtrack’s percussion work is absolutely breathtaking, but more impressively it is varied. Joseph has stayed away from creating monotonous sounding rhythms that are present for the sake of making a track sound bombastic. He knows when to give the percussion the driver’s wheel, and when to put them in the back seat. Furthermore, by constantly switching the pace and integrating different filters on them he keeps the listening experience fresh and varied. I particularly like the percussion work in “NYC”, where a lot of clap samples are used, making it sound delightful.
That does not mean that this soundtrack doesn’t have bombastic tracks, as they definitely are present in the form of the three tracks that play during the game’s heist events and chase sequences. These tracks incorporate some heavy brass work, which elevate the tension during those sections of gameplay. “Heist 2” stands out to me due to its heroic sounding mixture of fast strings and bright uplifting brass work, while “Heist 1” relies more on fast strings and slow build up rather than heavy brass to capture the high-octane speeds and “Heist 3” builds up intensity from start to finish. Likely used during the game’s police sequences, “Five Ten” captures the tone of a chase with its alarming introduction and full-blown percussion work. While these tracks tend to rely on standard approaches, their catchy features, robust orchestrations, and excellent mixing make them delightful on a stand-alone basis.
Speaking of uplifting, you’ll definitely notice that most tracks sound very upbeat. A refreshing change to the dark, humorless approaches most might expect from racing franchises like Fast and Furious, Need For Speed, and Forza. Without having to refer to dire melodies or loud brass work, Kosinski has still managed to give you the same excitement and edge of your seat listening experience. “Brutality” is very good in that regard, with catchy acoustic sections sprucing things up. “Free Riding” also has acoustic melodies, but what stands out in that track is how Joseph has manipulated and distorted some melodies, making them sound very unusually memorable. “LA Inked” is another stand out track that uses spicy melodies to give an overall cheerful but adrenaline pumping listen.
This is probably the biggest surprise for me this year in terms of video game soundtracks. Even though I had heard interesting melodies that piqued my interest during the game’s beta, I really didn’t expect the soundtrack to be this exciting. Boasting exciting percussion work, cutting-edge samples, and really memorable string work, this soundtrack is worth every penny. There is not a single track that I wanted to skip, because I found them all interesting in some way. Something tells me Joseph Trapanese has had fun crafting this, just as much as I had listening. I thoroughly recommend this score to everyone, whether they be dedicated or casual listeners as the production level samples and exciting rhythms will appeal to everyone. Still, at $10.99 this soundtrack provides more bang than bucks.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on November 15, 2014 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on November 16, 2014.