Exploring Soundtracks: “John Wick 2”

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O95aQIST5Z4

The soundtrack to “John Wick 2” brings more of the same electro-house and synth-pop feels that worked so well in the original.

This week, we’ll be looking at the soundtrack to “John Wick 2”, to follow up with our coverage of the first in the John Wick series last week. Considering how well that soundtrack performed, it should come as no surprise that both Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard returned to compose the score for the sequel.

Along with the original composers, this soundtrack also features the return of music by Ciscandra Nostalghia and Le Castle Vania. Finally, the song “A Job To Do” was written for the film by Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, with lyrics written from the perspective of John Wick himself.

But before we get too far into the soundtrack itself, here’s a quick synopsis for those who haven’t seen the film, or just need a quick refresher.

Synopsis

After the events of “John Wick”, our retired assassin hero finds himself once again attempting to resume a quiet life of solitude after settling one last issue. But his plans are cut short when an Italian gangster from his past shows up on his doorstep. In order to repay past favors, and to abide by The Continental’s ruling, John Wick travels to Rome to take out the leader of an Italian crime syndicate.

John Wick 2

As opposed to the first film, “John Wick 2” begins with a heart-pounding chase scene with a turbo-charged score that immediately throws you into the action. While the scene is a short one, both the music and pace it sets establishes the tone for the rest of the film. The high-octane soundtrack doesn’t let up after it, either. As John Wick proceeds to hunt down the men who stole his car and retrieve it, the music matches pace with the almost non-stop action, only dropping in intensity after he dispatches a room full of guards. You know, John Wick things.

Of course, after the opening sequence, there’s the familiar droning synths and ambient music to give texture to the exposition scenes. But once John Wick has his new mission, the music begins to pick up again, transitioning to the just as familiar, driving, preparatory scenes, in which Wick gets his assignment and travels to Rome. These tracks appear on the soundtrack under the titles, “Guns & Turtlenecks”, “Wick In Rome”, and “Suits, Maps, And Guns”.

To be honest, though, the soundtrack doesn’t really hit its peak until about an hour into the film, beginning with Ciscandra Nostalghia’s “Fool” and “Plastic Heart” during a party featuring a cameo by Nostalghia. But things don’t really kick into gear until Le Castle Vania’s “John Wick Mode”, which finally brings the dubstep, dance music we were all waiting for with a satisfying fight scene. But that’s only the start of a sequence of gun fights and electrically charged beats. It’s what we all ultimately come for, and it doesn’t disappoint. 

Final Thoughts

Even though the plot and character motivations in “John Wick 2” are sub-par, even when compared to the original, thankfully the soundtrack at least holds up. Like most over the top action sequels, this one follows much of the same formula that made the original successful. Luckily, it’s a pretty satisfying formula, all things considered.

That about does it for our discussion of the soundtrack to “John Wick 2”. We’ll be back next week to go over the third installment of the John Wick series.

Track List

  1. Ciscandra Nostalghia – “Plastic Heart”
  2. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Shark Chevelle”
  3. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Man Of Focus”
  4. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Sumo Showdown”
  5. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Peace & Vodka”
  6. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Missing Helen”
  7. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Back In The Ground”
  8. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Santino”
  9. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Walk To Museum”
  10. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Guns & Turtlenecks”
  11. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Wick In Rome”
  12. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Suits Maps And Guns”
  13. Ciscandra Nostalghia – “Fool”
  14. Le Castle Vania – “John Wick Mode”
  15. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Razor Bath”
  16. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Catacombs”
  17. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “La Vendetta”
  18. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Fountain Foes”
  19. Tyler Bates And Joel J. Richard – “Knives On A Train”
  20. Joel J. Richard – “Presto Museum Battle”
  21. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “Mirror Mayhem”
  22. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard – “John Wick Reckoning”
  23. Jerry Cantrell – “A Job To Do” 
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