So, for all the anticipation, how is the soundtrack itself? It's plenty good, I say. But it really all depends on your attitude going into listening the album. Do you want another throbbing, four-on-the-floor Daft Punk album á la 1996's Homework? Or do you want a more subdued, orchestral film score -- one that is trying to tell a story?
At it's most basic core, the Tron: Legacy soundtrack is a film score. It is not a new Daft Punk album -- a fact often overlooked in the rabid anticipation towards the combination of Daft Punk and Tron. It's difficult to make sense of the 22 tracks that compile the soundtrack, given that it leaked just over a month before the film's December 17 release date. What is obvious, however, is that this is an orchestral score that flirts with the occasional Daft Punk influence.
Disney decided to make the track "Derezzed" available to coincide with the release of a new, third Tron: Legacy trailer which hit the Internet November 8. It's a smart move, too, since "Derezzed" is the closest the soundtrack gets to sounding like a straight-up Daft Punk song. There are a few tracks that have a more traditional Daft Punk sound to them -- assuming horns and violins aren't traditional by Daft Punk's standards. "End of Line," "Rinzler," "The Game Has Changed" and "Disc Wars" are among the few songs to have a real electronic backbone to them. The majority of the soundtrack has a more orchestral sound -- devoid of any evident Daft Punk influence. That's not to say their influence isn't there and that the orchestral, film score-oriented songs aren't as good. It's just a more subtle aspect to the album, one that helps move along the film score and, thus, help tell a story.
The lineage of Tron music is rather impressive. Noted composer and Moog pioneer Wendy Carlos (A Clockwork Orange, The Shining) put together the 1982 film's score mixing together orchestra and organ elements with both digital and analog synthesizers. What came forth was a fittingly classic score to a film that was well ahead of its time. Tron also featured an original song by Journey, "1990's Theme." Recognizing this, the producers of Tron: Legacy have mentioned that they will incorporate Journey's "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" -- which was also in the original -- into the film. Journey released their own, corny arcade game a year later.
In this Internet age of ridiculous expectations, the Tron: Legacy soundtrack seems to have initially fallen short. What was expected to be another thumping Daft Punk classic has rather materialized into a meticulous, well-crafted film score. It's hard to tell just how good a film score this really is, given that it's now available well before the movie's release date. It was a bold move for Daft Punk to come onboard with Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, as well as a bold move for Kosinski to approach the duo in the first place.
After we can finally relive our early 1980s arcade-dwelling glory days come December 17, this soundtrack will become its own entity -- another testament to the genius embodied by Daft Punk.
The Tron: Legacy soundtrack will be released December 7 via Walt Disney Records (looks weird, doesn't it?) The tracklist is as follows:
01. Overture (2:28) 02. The Grid (1:37) 03. The Son of Flynn (1:35) 04. Recognizer (2:38) 05. Armory (2:03) 06. Arena (1:33) 07. Rinzler (2:18) 08. The Game Has Changed (3:25) 09. Outlands (2:42) 10. Adagio For TRON (4:11) 11. Nocturne (1:42) 12. End of Line (2:36) 13. Derezzed (1:44) 14. Fall (1:23) 15. Solar Sailer (2:42) 16. Rectifier (2:14) 17. Disc Wars (4:11) 18. C.L.U. (4:39) 19. Arrival (2:00) 20. Flynn Lives (3:22) 21. TRON Legacy (End Titles) (3:18) 22. Finale (4:23)