What You Will Hear: Randy Newman’s big Americana orchestra with some gentle acoustic guitar.
Standout Tracks: Every track is enjoyable. Welcome Cars 3 to the HoF!
Will You Be Humming Along? The familiar themes and motifs are back. Multiple characters/locations offer up a handful of melodies, as well.
The album this makes me want to dust off: Seabiscuit – Randy Newman
Will I come back to it? Absolutely. This is the follow-up I've lamented since Cars 2 was released. And now it is here! Randy Newman brings his signature sound and Cars melodies back in full force. The overall tone (especially the opening tracks) is much darker than the first movie, but the playful adventure returns in the middle of the album. One new theme (see above) helps to keep things light and proud while another (probably for Mater?) keeps things fun with the tuba part.
My only complaint is that I wish Newman would have altered or given us variations of the returning themes. The final tracks really are mostly a rehash of the first movie, but when the material is this good, I’m just happy to have more to enjoy. The “stand up and cheer” moments are back.
I’ve read a lot of reviews complaining about the constant presence of Mater. I find Newman’s take on him legitimizes the character. The music takes him from a slack-jawed American to slack-jawed Americana. His moments in the score are tongue in cheek – not a slap to the face.
Cars 3 has everything. The Newman soundscape is as pure as ever, the action is spirited, the humor is never annoying, and the heartfelt family moments are lovely.