It’s Bear McCreary again! As any television soundtrack reviewer (and really anyone who appreciates soundtrack music in general) knows, this is a name that tends to pop up with frequency – and mostly to high critical acclaim. This latest collection of McCreary’s music – two different versions of his score music for the first season of the new series Human Target – is no exception. In fact, it’s his first score to earn him an Emmy nomination (for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music). Not only is there a digital version of this music, released by WaterTower Music and featuring around 160 minutes  (43 tracks), La-La Land Records has released a limited edition (2000 units) 3 disc physical version (220 minutes/63 tracks). Luckily, this extended version is the one I’ll be reviewing.

First of all, this collection of music is quite different from his other work. Whereas his music for Eureka is glib with a sense of humor and his well-known Battlestar Galactica scores are dark, electronic, and driven, this score manages to mix aspects of many genres together to create a perfect sense of urgency, thrills, and lightness.  McCreary attributes this to “the remarkable creative freedom” he was given by creator/writer/producer Jon Steinberg. “We both agreed that Human Target could succeed only if the score could maintain a delicate balance between drama, comedy, suspense and action.” The epic 10-minute track “Flipping the Plane” is a clear testament to this “delicate balance” – dashing from pounding percussives overlaid with menacing strings to a frenetic climax or a gentle solo interlude, all with a constant winkingly dramatic theme running along behind it all. It’s the kind of music that Indiana Jones would have rescued a damsel in distress to. Lighter tracks like “Tango Flight” (a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tune that mixes tango music along with classic action sensibilities) and “Emma’s Bra” (a snappy brass piece that’s reminiscent of some of the Eureka music) remind us not to take things too seriously, even as darker tracks like “Scar Stories” and “The Katherine Walters Fire” give us an emotional core to hang on to.

Utilizing the largest orchestra ever assembled for a TV show, McCreary gets his point across loud and clear – listen to the track “The New Champion” for the sort of new school meets old school style that McCreary has adopted. Yes, he’s working with classically trained musicians, but he’s also establishing a sense of modern score techniques and keeping listeners interested. If you’ve ever been a McCreary fan, this is a set of music that you won’t want to miss. Battlestar Galactica and The Sarah Connor Chronicles were both musically impressive, Human Target is exhilarating.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Geeking out for hours to the music of Bear McCreary
Stay Away if: You’re expecting the sounds of BSG

To purchase the soundtrack for Human Target, visit Amazon

Read some of my other McCreary reviews:

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan/Razor
Battlestar Galactica: Season 3
Battlestar Galactica: Season 4
Caprica Pilot
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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