Exploring Soundtracks: Godzilla King of the Monsters

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The latest film in the Godzilla franchise boasts a joyfully epic soundtrack.

After having covered enough boringly-predictable blockbuster action soundtracks, it’s about time we move on to something more interesting. That’s right. A blockbuster monster soundtrack.

Bear McCreary’s soundtrack to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” has plenty to enjoy for both fans of the original, as well as newcomers. Akira Ifukube’s iconic Godzilla theme makes an appearance in “Main Title” as a tribute. Speaking of tributes, there are plenty more scattered throughout the soundtrack, including a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla”, with vocals from System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian.

But before we get into the soundtrack itself, here’s a brief synopsis for anyone who either hasn’t seen the film, or just needs a quick refresher.

Synopsis

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” follows members of the crypto-zoology agency Monarch as they face off against an assault of giant titans after awakening them to heal the earth from the damages humans have caused. The titans then engage in ultimate showdowns, vying for supreme control over earth. They include Mothra, Rodan, the three-headed Ghidorah, and of course, the mightiest of them all: Godzilla.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The first track we hear in the film is “Memories of San Francisco”, which comes in during the opening sequence. The destruction of the city is juxtaposed with the sad swinging of strings, which swells when Godzilla appears at the end of this introductory flashback.

If there’s one adjective that could be used to describe both the soundtrack and the film, it would be: epic. And let’s be real. There’s no other angle to go when your subject matter consists of god-sized monsters. One of the earlier epic tracks we hear is “Old Rivals”, when Godzilla and Ghidora fight for the first time. McCreary’s blaring horns and swelling strings really do the job of setting the right tone for the clash of titans. The inclusion of taiko drumming and chanting across the soundtrack also plays a big role in establishing its epic tone.

Speaking of, there are three tracks centered around the main titans of the film: Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah. The new themes bring a modern edge to both “Rodan” and “Ghidorah, while “Mothra” draws from the original 1961 arrangement.

While the tributes to the original movies are great, there’s also a lot of good material that McCreary contributes. “A Mass Awakening” brings in the dread as titans from across the world rise from their slumber, while “The Larva” and “Queen of the Monsters” emanate a sense of awe and wonder. As a nice transitional piece, “Stealing the Orca” serves as a refreshing break from the epic battle compositions with tension building, staccato strings.

Final Thoughts

The soundtrack to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” successfully honors its predecessors while also managing to add some great original material of its own. The only downside with this soundtrack is that it can feel a bit repetitive at times. Lots of blaring horns. Lots of swelling strings. And lots of epic, clashing ensembles. These are offset slightly with tracks like “Goodbye Old Friend” and “Queen of the Monsters”.

While McCreary’s soundtrack pairs well within the film, it’s not one I can imagine listening to on its own. While some scores can be nice to use as background music while writing or studying, this one in particular seems a bit too bombastic overall for that purpose. It’s a score that’s meant to captures your attention, not fade into the background.

That about wraps up our discussion for today. I hope you enjoyed our walk through the soundtrack to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”. We’ll be back next week with another soundtrack to explore.

If you’re looking for more music coverage, be sure to check out the LemonWire YouTube channel.

Track List

1. Godzilla (feat. Serj Tankian)
2. Main Title
3. Memories of San Francisco
4. The Larva
5. Welcome to Monarch
6. Outpost 32
7. Ice Breaker
8. Rise of Ghidorah
9. Old Rivals
10. The First Gods
11. Rodan
12. A Mass Awakening
13. The One Who is Many
14. Queen of the Monsters
15. For Andrew
16. Stealing the Orca
17. The Hollow Earth
18. The Key to Coexistence
19. Goodbye Old Friend
20. Rebirth
21. Fog Over Fenway
22. Battle in Boston
23. Redemption
24. King of the Monsters
25. Ghidorah Theme
26. Mothra’s Song

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