I remember how pumped I was when I heard that Daft Punk would be doing the entire Tron: Legacy soundtrack for the highly-anticipated sequel of 1982′s Tron, and even more so when the trailer gave me a sneak peak with the soundtrack’s booming first piece “The Game Has Changed.” Well, here it is, and I would be just as happy if it were renamed “A Dark, Futuristic Soundtrack Released by Disney” (excluding a few tracks). Hey, it could probably even work in any of Scorsese’s latest films.
The soundtrack has been the French electronic duo’s first release in five years, but it really shouldn’t be looked at as a Daft Punk album. The majority of the 22 tracks end before a Daft Punk song would just be getting started, and good amount of them are nothing memorable. After all, you can’t exactly have “Harder Better Faster Stronger” playing as the undertone of a tragic scene or serious conversation in a movie.
That being said, I listened to Tron: Legacy before I saw the actual movie, and boy did that clear things up. A lot of disappointment was salvaged when tracks that didn’t make sense beforehand were visually paired with fitting scenes, emotions, and images.
Tron: Legacy takes place in a digital world where the sun literally doesn’t shine, and has a pretty dark plot – all of which Daft Punk beautifully embodies in the gloomy soundtrack which fuses orchestral and electronic sounds.
Yes, it is a movie score released by Walt Disney Records, and I had to keep reminding myself that it’s all Daft Punk. “Flynn Lives,” “Father and Son,” and a handful of other similar tracks could very well be thrown onto any other movie soundtrack, and I would be fine with them not being there, but I’m not the director am I? The more intense and Daft Punk-y tracks like “Derezzed,” which has already gotten a lot of attention for its video, “End of Line,” and “TRON Legacy (End Titles)” are ones that I can actually listen to out of context.
Remember the intense Hans Zimmer score from Shutter Island when the boat slowly approaches the island? I listened to the song itself the other day – strange and not the same. It’s hard to criticize an album that’s not meant to be listened to as one, and certainly hard to justify a soundtrack without the movie. For the most part, film scores are beautiful music – beautiful music that desperately begs to be listened to along with the movie to make complete sense, and this one is no exception.