Pacific Rim Uprising – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Lorne Balfe (soundtrack review).

‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ is the sequel to the 2013 Science Fiction monster film called, yes, you’ve guessed it, ‘Pacific Rim’. While they might have retained three of the original actors, they changed the director and the soundtracks composer for the sequel. Lorne Balfe takes up the reigns and has certainly delivered. The CD contains 25 tracks that provides 76 minutes of listening pleasure.

Lorne Balfe isn’t a composer I had come across before or at least I thought I hadn’t. A quick look on the Internet reveals he’s been involved in rather a lot of soundtracks either as a composer or producer. He has also created scores for all different types of visual media including films, video games, commercials and TV programs.

While I’m listening to the soundtrack, it’s worth remembering that on screen giant robots and sea monsters are knocking seven bells out of each other. It’s something to bear in mind during the quite tracks. Speaking of which, there are too many tracks for me to comment on individually so I’m just going to pick out the ones the piqued my interest.

While Lorne Balfe is listed as writing the music for ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’, four of the tracks were written and performed by other artists. These are:

  1. Go Big or Go Extinct – Patrick Stump
  2. Daddy Yo – Wizkid
  3. Nobody Speak – DJ Shadow (featuring Run the Jewels)
  4. Come Down – Anderson .Paak

Before anyone writes in wanting a correction it really is ‘.Paak’ with the full stop before name. It appears like this three times in the sleeve notes on the CD so it must be right.

Now we have got the preamble out of the way, what’s the soundtrack like? Well, the first and title track gets things off to a high tempo start. The orchestra starts quietly giving it a foreboding feel, but the pace of the drum beat never lets up. By mid-way through the orchestra’s caught up ready for a rousing finish.

Track 4, ‘Go Big Or Go Extinct’ performed by Patrick Stump seamlessly fits in with what’s gone before. There’s less reliance on the orchestra which is the only noticeable difference. That can’t be said for Track 5, ‘Daddy Yo’ performed by Wizkid. This has actual singing in a sort of reggae style. It does tend to stand out and I can’t tie it to a particular bit of the film as I haven’t seen it yet.

Balfe brings us back to more usual fare with Track 6. ‘Shatterdome Arrival’, before hitting us with base and drum in ‘Sneaking In’. Again, this is quite high tempo stuff which to me implies a lot of running around rather than sneaking about. Perhaps it’s the security guards running about. Where I do think Balfe gets it spot on is Track 7, ‘Shao Industries’. It just conjures up in my mind the inside of a modern factory. There’s a fair bit of repetition as you would expect in an automated factory and in common with the other tracks so far, its high tempo.

Track 11, ‘Nobody Speak’ performed by DJ Shadow and featuring Run the Jewels is a rap number with shall we say, colourful language? While rap isn’t my thing, I thought this track was rather good. The guitar, bass and brass bits were very well done while the odd sound effect every now and then made sure it fitted in with the theme of a futuristic film. It also blends nicely into Track 11, ‘Kaiju Brain’.

Oddly enough, one of the only tracks not to feature a high tempo drum beat is number 13 which is titled ‘Combat’. It still manages to be loud but in a more measured, classical orchestral pace without the drumbeat. The high tempo stuff soon returns though as Track 13 is only 02:19 minutes long.

Things take a different tack with Track 16, ‘Come Down’ performed by Anderson .Paak. It’s another vocal track and I’m at a loss to describe the style. Imagine a rapper who can actually sing. It’s like that. If I’m hearing it correctly, he’s singing about drugs usage so it might not be suitable for a younger audience.

Normal service is returned with the following track titled ‘Shatterdome Attacked’, which at 07:18 minutes is easily the longest track on the album. This is another one of Balfe’s tracks that hits the nail on the head. It certainly made me think of rather large creatures stomping about and hitting anything and everything. It’s followed up by ‘Amara’ which is fitting track for that post battle feeling.

I’m not sure this is a soundtrack you would put on to relax. Nearly all of the tracks are high tempo leaving me feeling slightly exhausted at the end of it. Tracks 11 and 16 aren’t suitable for younger audiences or those of a sensitive disposition. The CD cover should really have an ‘[Explicit]’ warning on it.

To be honest, I think if you were to make a playlist of all the tracks but omitted tracks 5, 11 and 16 you would have a rather pleasurable but exhausting experience. Lorne Balfe is very good at what he does, and the vocal tracks are a distraction from this. Of course, I haven’t seen the film, so I may not have any emotional attachment to scenes covered by the vocal tracks. Even if I did, I still think the listening experience would be better without them.

Pacific Rim Uprising – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Lorne Balfe
1. Pacific Rim Uprising 04:47

  1. Born Into War 04:12
  2. Rise of the Jaegers 01:38
  3. Go Big Or Go Extinct (Patrick Stump Remix) 02:10
  4. Daddy Yo 02:40
  5. Shatterdome Arrival 02:04
  6. Sneaking In 03:08
  7. Shao Industries 04:35
  8. Scrapper Chase 03:57
  9. Flashback 02:17
  10. Nobody Speak (featuring Run the Jewels) 03:15
  11. Kaiju Brain 02:11
  12. Combat 02:19
  13. Obsidian Fury 03:32
  14. Get It Done 03:24
  15. Come Down 03:00
  16. Shatterdome Attacked 07:18
  17. Amara 02:36
  18. Coming Together 03:14
  19. On The Move 02:22
  20. Mega Kaiju 02:29
  21. Battle Speech 02:40
  22. End Game 02:01
  23. Victory 02:18
  24. The Revenge 01:53

Andy Whitaker

March 2018

(pub: Milan Music. 1 CD 76 minutes 25 tracks. Price; £12.99 (UK). ASIN: B079JCJSQC)

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I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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