Cold CaseMany fans of the hit television series “Cold Case”, a drama about a female detective in Philadelphia who gets assigned to solve crimes that have never been solved (aka “cold cases”), have been waiting for several years to get their hands on some of Michael Levine’s score work (work that has won him the ASCAP Film and TV Music Award for five years in a row) from the show. Those fans, some of whom even helped select tracks for the album on the online Look Again COLD CASE Form, will be elated that Lakeshore Records has put out this new album that features an hour-long collection (24 tracks) of Levine’s “Cold Case” work.

In the liner notes for the album, Creator and Executive Producer Meredith Stiehm confesses that she has a problem with Michael Levine’s music: “I can’t let it go.” She goes on to clarify, “When we first started working together I’d constantly frustrate him at the final sound mixes by wanting to replace his new beautiful music with his old beautiful music.” Any listener of this album will have to agree with Stiehm on the fact that Levine’s music is indeed beautiful, and this collection of tracks showcases his award-winning work impressively.

The majority of the music that has been provided here is either haunting or meditative. Except for the few brief explosions of action (in “Forever Blue” and “Freely’s Flashback”, for example – the latter of which almost sounds like techno-club music mixed with Blue Man Group stylings), Levine gives the show a steady, dramatic backdrop, allowing the action to unfold on screen while the majority of the score work remains cool and collected. This soundtrack comes the closest to being a meditative yoga disc of any soundtrack album I’ve heard. And although there is a solid motif of relaxing melancholy throughout the album, the hour of music still manages to surprise occasionally. The track “300 Flowers” features a soulful Robbyn Kirmsse breathily singing through lyrics that sound like a romantic Natalie Cole ditty. The early track “Detective’s Reprise” contains some electronic mixes and a bit of haunting background vocals as well. Carmen Twillie’s vocals on the track “Sadie’s Blues” are a little rough around the edges, but provide a nice juxtaposition to the polished backup vocals that show up throughout the rest of the track (Twillie shows up for some similar work on “8:03 AM”).

Overall, Levine makes good use of background vocals and light piano to provide a hauntingly dramatic and often relaxing collection of music that fans of the show will love and even those who have never heard Levine’s music are sure to appreciate. This is one television soundtrack that you can actually listen to straight through without it feeling repetitive.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Well, obviously, fans of the show’s music that have been waiting since 2003 for this album
Stay Away if: Your soundtrack collection is centered around movies, so that you feel you have a solid beginning, middle, and end
If you only buy one track, make it this one: “A Good Death” – it’s perfect for a relaxing meditative track

To purchase the soundtrack for “Cold Case”, visit Amazon

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