Westworld: Season 2: music from the HBO series by Ramin Djawadi (CD review).


‘Westworld Season 2’ – the series soundtrack with the music by multi Grammy® and Emmy® award-nominated composer Ramin Djawadi. It’s a bit of a treat for the fans of the series as there are 29 tracks with a run time of 1 hour 39 minutes and 34 seconds. That’s quite a lot of soundtrack just waiting for you to press play. Actually, if you get this in CD you will have to press play twice as it’s on 2 CDs.

I would normally have said ‘enjoy’ but ‘Westworld’ is not a place were nice things happen and this is reflected somewhat in the soundtrack. Haunting, ominous and foreboding were words that kept cropping up as I listened to each of the tracks. Perhaps the only track that didn’t fit that description was track 12, ‘Paint It Black’. With a runtime of 05:43, it’s quite a long track but I’m not complaining as it’s a masterpiece. Yes, this really is a different take on the Rolling Stones classic that uses a banjo for the introduction. It starts slowly but the strings come in and the tempo quickly picks up to a pace the Stones would be happy with. It’s certainly a different arrangement but a rather good one at that.

Another old classic Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’ (track 5) is also given a new arrangement. There’s certainly a piano in there but there’s also an awful lot of violins keeping things moving along. It’s quite short at 01:07 but unmissable. Speaking of covers, the album features Ramin Djawadi’s versions of popular songs created for the show including 2 different versions of ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ (originally performed by Nirvana), ‘Runaway’ (originally performed by Kanye West), ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ (originally performed by Wu-Tang Clan), ‘Seven Nation Army’ (originally performed by The White Stripes) and ‘Codex’ (originally performed by Radiohead).

Coming back to the title track, which is also short, it does set the tone for the majority of the soundtrack. Haunting, slowly building strings and piano. There’s an odd ending to this track, though, where it just sorts of peters out. Many of the other tracks employ a different tactic of building to a crescendo. This is evident with track 2: ‘Journey Into Night’. There’s an ominous start which seems to drag on. Indeed, you are 2:15 before it gets even more ominous with a slow but loud drumbeat. There’s a bit of a quiet moment before it starts to build to an ending.

As there are 29 tracks on the album. I’m not going to review all the tracks but I’m going to single out a few and one of these is track 3: ‘Runaway’. It’s not a particularly long track but’ following the ominous tones set by the proceeding tracks, this is an almost upbeat for ‘Westworld’ being a little piano number. It is rather nice with the strings coming in at the end but then it gives you the typical ‘Westworld’ ending where I expect something, usually bad, happens on the screen.

Next up in this review is track 6: ‘Is This Now?’ Another ominous start with a slow loud drumbeat. Does nothing pleasant happen in ‘Westworld’? At around the one minute mark, it suddenly changes track after degenerating into not so much music as just noise. The gold old piano and violins come to the rescue and thing pick up nicely towards the end. It’s another one that builds to a rousing ending but then just stops.

While most tracks have a piano and violin, there is something which sounds to me like an oboe occasionally making itself notice. However, track 7: ‘Seven Nation Army’ has what I’m sure is a sitar or something sounding like a sitar getting in on the act here. It’s completely different from the preceding tracks and has more than a hint of Middle East about it. I’d love to know what was happening on screen to accompany this piece.

There’s more of the guess the instrument game with track 11: ‘Akane No Mai’. I’ve no idea what type of instrument is playing the opening sequence of this track. It sounds like a wind instrument but is higher pitched than an oboe. It has just a hint of Middle Easterness about it. Not the type of thing you would expect to find in ‘Westworld’ but, then again, ‘Westworld’ is a very odd place.

The oddness and perhaps the bleakness of ‘Westworld’ is evident in all the tracks of this soundtrack album. I’m not saying it’s a bad album, quite the opposite in fact. Ramin Djawadi has done a masterful job of producing a soundtrack which emphasises the core emotional elements of the TV series. It’s just when your subject matter is ‘Westworld’, the resulting soundtrack is not going to be a collection of happy, jolly tunes is it?

The track list is as follows:-

Track Title

1 Main Title Theme – Westworld 00:01:42

2 Journey Into Night 00:05:30

3 Runaway 00:02:48

4 Myself 00:04:03

5 The Entertainer 00:01:07

6 Is This Now? 00:04:24

7 Seven Nation Army 00:02:13

8 The Raj 00:02:48

9 Les Écorchés 00:04:12

10 Heart-Shaped Box (Orchestral) 00:03:25

11 Akane no Mai 00:03:34

12 Paint It, Black 00:05:43

13 C.R.E.A.M. 00:01:46

14 Virtù e Fortuna 00:02:19

15 A New Voice 00:03:30

16 Kiksuya 00:03:24

17 I Remember You 00:05:23

18 Heart-Shaped Box (Piano) 00:01:57

19 Take My Heart When You Go 00:04:10

20 Virus 00:02:52

21 My Favorite 00:03:36

22 Vanishing Point 00:03:02

23 My Speech 00:01:18

24 A Passage to Another World 00:04:14

25 I Promise 00:04:34

26 Core Drive 00:03:53

27 Westworld 00:05:22

28 Codex 00:03:34

29 We’ll Meet Again 00:03:11

Run time: 1:39:34

Andy Whitaker

January 2019

(pub: WaterTower Music, 2018. 2 CDs 99 minutes 29 tracks. Price: $12.59 (US), £10.90 (UK). ASIN: B07F9GKTDX)

check out website: www.watertower-music.com/

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