What You Will Hear: A continuation of the first two films with further variation of existing material and a few new additions to the soundscape.
Standout Tracks: All are worth your time. Welcome to the HoF! (Our Favorites:) Logo And Prosper, Thank Your Lucky Star Date, Night On The Yorktown, Hitting The Saucer A Little Hard, Jaylah Damage, Franklin My Dear, A Lesson in Vulcan Mineralogy, Motorcycles of Relief, Crash Decisions, Par-Tay For The Course, Star Trek Main Theme
Will You Be Humming Along? There are multiple new themes; the best of which I believe belongs to the Yorkown.
The album this makes me want to dust off: Star Trek Into Darkness – Michael Giacchino
Will I come back to it? Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek series has become one of the greatest film score franchises of the past two decades. Star Trek Beyond is a fantastic entry that already has me looking forward to more of the same in the future. The main theme and secondary cells are all used abundantly, and new compositional techniques used to alter what we already know make them all that more interesting (See: Motorcycles of Relief). The previously little used b-section of the main theme gets some good time with the orchestra, as well (See: Thank Your Lucky Star Date). Credit goes to @krokkarol for catching that! Unfortunately, Spock’s own motif seems to have taken a back seat this time around, and when it is used, there is no erhu to be heard. It is really missed.
But, the loss of Spock’s music is filled with new entries for (again… I think) the Yorktown, Jaylah, and Krall. The Yorktown segment of the score is fantastically joyful, reminiscent of Giacchino’s work on Tomorrowland. Some fun tribal percussion accompanies Jaylah’s entrance, and her theme is adventurous and heroic with just a shadow of mystery to it (See: Jaylah Damage and Crash Decisions). Krall’s theme is a departure from the past two movies. While Nero’s theme was constantly driving forward, and Khan’s was a slow build, Krall’s is completely understated on the piano (See: Krall-y Krall-y Oxen Free). We can assume it matches the villain well, and the fact that it offered a new direction for the accompanying composition is greatly appreciated.
The signature Giacchino-Trek instrumentation and writing are both alive and well. Overall, the score is simultaneously more introspective and celebratory. The quiet moments are subdued but also more carefree than in the past. Expect much more piano and happy family moments (See: Thank Your Lucky Star Date or Franklin My Dear).
The action sequences are as interesting as anything Giacchino has ever written (See: Hitting The Saucer A Little Hard, Motorcycles Of Relief, or Crash Decisions). As stated earlier, his use of existing motifs in new variations really helps to hold it all together. The final moments of the Enterprise are appropriately grandiose. As Kirk (I assume) watches the saucer section go down, the full choir and orchestra are let loose for a big moment, and then that wonderful horn solo follows like a sad echo.
It is hard to top the original rebooted film’s music, but (like Into Darkness) Star Trek Beyond is an exciting ride that comes very close. I look forward to putting all three films on a shuffled playlist and enjoying the cohesive universe that the composer has created. If you’re a fan of Giacchino-Trek up to this point, Star Trek Beyond will absolutely not let you down.