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Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Bear McCreary

Orchestrated by:
Edward Trybek
Henri Wilkinson
Jonathan Beard
Jamie Thierman
Benjamin Hoff
Jordan Cox
Jeff Tinsley
David Volpe
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WaterTower Music
(May 24th, 2019)
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Regular U.S. release. The 2-CD album was released a week after the digital option, which features the same contents in a different track order. A vinyl option is also available.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciate the intelligence that Bear McCreary brings to his work, his interpolation of famous themes from the Godzilla franchise keenly woven into his own superior instrumental and thematic sensibilities.

Avoid it... if you demand thematic continuity with Alexandre Desplat's score for the 2014 predecessor, though McCreary's handling of the concept and his dynamic recording are clear improvements.
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WRITTEN 10/19/19
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Godzilla: King of the Monsters: (Bear McCreary) There exist only three viable storyline variants for movies involving giant prehistoric monsters rampaging on the earth: those that use the shock and surprise of the beasts' existence to show humans running around in awe and panic, those that depict how humans try to cope with and control the beasts, and those that largely neglect human casualties altogether and seek to show gratuitous beast-on-beast fighting. Until filmmakers decide to put these monsters in space operas and/or pornography flicks, that's about the conceptual limit. The 2019 cinematic entry in the famed Godzilla franchise dating back to 1954, the third such entry in America and the direct sequel to 2014's successful Godzilla, sought to explore the second of three options above, showing audiences how humanity tries to manipulate the "Titans" amongst them. Of course, the temptation in any modern blockbuster is to stray into the third option (pure battle), and there's plenty of that in Godzilla: King of the Monsters as well. The movie didn't work for audiences still enamored with freak-out nature of option one, the 2019 sequel likely to lose money in the end for the studio. A whole slew of ancient Titans, some alien and some of Earth's radioactive doing, is awakened in this movie, in part because of a militaristic group of humans attempting to control the monsters. Caught in the middle is a dysfunctional family partially involved with the military group, and, fortunately, they don't all survive. If the fighting between monsters isn't enough for your sensibilities, there's some mass civilian destruction included in Godzilla: King of the Monsters as well. Luckily, the ultra-crappy storyline of the film did not deter some production elements from achieving greatness, and Bear McCreary's remarkable music for the movie is a reason why fans should rejoice the studio's perhaps premature green light for another sequel. McCreary, long producing solid music for television and video games, finally broke through into Hollywood in the late 2010's with significant help from his intellectually mesmerizing music for the first two Cloverfield sequels.

Stylistically, enthusiasts of McCreary's music for 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox will find much to appreciate in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, many of the same instrumental techniques and colors applied as a base for the composer's new, additional layers of intrigue. One cannot help but marvel at the depth of intelligence conveyed by McCreary in these assignments. Normally, the abandonment of Alexandre Desplat's identities for the 2014 film would pose a major continuity problem, but McCreary reaches further back in the franchise to establish those connections, and he succeeds so well at this task that he ultimately shames Desplat's work for not doing the same. McCreary is proving himself a foremost leader of instrumental coloration, the application of each contributor in concept, the fleshed-out orchestrations, and a highly satisfying mix of the whole in the end product yielding phenomenally satisfying results for both the heart and the head. Whereas Michael Giacchino is perhaps the foremost choice in this era to write operatic blockbuster scores with immense and keenly developed themes for massive ensembles, McCreary is showing the capability to write at the same level but record his music with greater emotional gravity, deeper layers of contemplation, and a vastly superior recording mix. All of these traits can be heard in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, for which the composer carefully considered the franchise's past from the start. McCreary reached back to Akira Ifukube and Yuji Koseki's work from the first decade of the concept on screen and adapted three of their best-known identities into this sequel, rearranging their personality a bit to suit modern sensibilities. This tribute to the franchise is very carefully handled here, slowly revealing each usage until erupting in the final third of the film with the full, brazen applications of an immensely satisfying nature. Four or five original themes are supplied to the movie as well, their development and interactions elegantly managed throughout in the best of leitmotific methodology. Joining them are specialty instruments or vocal ensembles representing each identity consistently. The use of voice in particular is a highlight in this work, three totally distinct types of vocal performance types used to back three of the themes.

For Godzilla himself, McCreary utilizes the kakegoe technique of vocalization in addition to traditional percussive tones from taiko drums and sticks. For much of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this secondary element in the score represents Godzilla alone, emerging in "Memories of San Francisco" to suggest the monster's activity in the previous film and persisting in "Old Rivals." The guttural chants and exhaled force of these performances is superb in the score; their rhythmic formations are adequate at supplying the titular monster with all the identity he needs until his official regeneration in the final act. By "Rebirth," McCreary unleashes the iconic Ifukube theme for the monster, its repetitively descending three notes manipulated well for dramatic effect. The percussion and voices are applied in perfect rhythmic propulsion in this cue, smartly dying out to a solo performance of the theme on woodwind near the end. The main motif and its vocal rhythms continue in battle throughout "Battle in Boston" and "King of the Monsters," the former building back up to the theme with precision in first 70 seconds. For such a simple construct, McCreary finds several ways to allude to the theme without simply churning through its minor third progressions endlessly. In the latter cue, the voices carry the opening alone while the descending phrase of the theme definitively concludes. A concert arrangement of the Ifukube material is presented lovingly in "Godzilla Main Title," updated to a densely contemporary setting. The composer did the same with Koseki's "Mothra's Song," which brings back a theme that dates to 1961's Mosura and is the calling card for the butterfly-like Mothra's existence in this picture. The first hints of interpolation of this ethereally choral and woodwind theme come in "The Larva" and eventually reveal themselves to be a uniquely benevolent presence in the score thereafter. Exotic woodwinds carry the theme late in "A Mass Awakening" before its proper introduction to the score in the first half of "Queen of the Monsters." The identity gets a bit overwhelmed when offered as an interlude to the others during thematic battle, which is a shame given this particular Titan's role in assisting Godzilla later in the story, as evidenced in its rather wimpy performance in "Battle in Boston."

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.64 Stars
***** 106 5 Stars
**** 82 4 Stars
*** 58 3 Stars
** 42 2 Stars
* 25 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
A monstrous achievement
A Loony Trombonist - April 29, 2021, at 9:06 a.m.
1 comment  (67 views)
Looking for kaiju meat recipes
Richard Smugley - December 21, 2020, at 10:29 a.m.
1 comment  (104 views)
Thank God Hans Zimmer didn't score this
Zack - December 1, 2019, at 3:50 p.m.
1 comment  (903 views)

Track Listings Icon
Total Time: 97:21
CD1: (66:14)
• 1. Memories of San Francisco (2:11)
• 2. The Larva (4:23)
• 3. Welcome to Monarch (2:54)
• 4. Outpost 32 (7:03)
• 5. Ice Breaker (2:33)
• 6. Rise of Ghidorah (2:59)
• 7. Old Rivals (3:49)
• 8. The First Gods (5:18)
• 9. Rodan (5:23)
• 10. A Mass Awakening (5:32)
• 11. The One Who is Many (5:37)
• 12. Queen of the Monsters (3:35)
• 13. For Andrew (1:18)
• 14. Stealing the Orca (3:04)
• 15. The Hollow Earth (5:25)
• 16. The Key to Coexistence (2:18)
• 17. Goodbye Old Friend (2:54)
CD2: (31:07)
• 1. Rebirth (2:03)
• 2. Fog Over Fenway (2:53)
• 3. Battle in Boston (7:51)
• 4. Redemption (4:11)
• 5. King of the Monsters (3:34)
• 6. Godzilla - performed by Serj Tankian (3:10)
• 7. Mothra's Song (2:10)
• 8. Ghidorah Theme (2:41)
• 9. Godzilla Main Title (2:34)
(The digital album contains the same contents in a different track order)

Notes Icon
The insert includes a list of performers and an extensive note from the composer that offers lyrics to the chanted vocals.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Godzilla: King of the Monsters are Copyright © 2019, WaterTower Music and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/19/19 (and not updated significantly since).
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