Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 – music by Bear McCreary

Battlestar Galactica Season 3Like the television episodes that it accompanied, the soundtrack from the third season of Battlestar Galactica is an even more haunted, somber affair than its predecessors. The third season saw the characters’ bad decisions, bad personal judgement, and all-around character flaws come back to bite them on the butt in a big way. Opening with most of the surviving human race enslaved by the Cylons on a bleak world, the show got off of that planet in four episodes, but then proceeded to spend the bulk of its remaining shows reflecting on what had happened during that time. A side strand about Baltar trying to get his bearings among the Cylons offered some rather nebulous developments, until he fell once more into the hands of his fellow humans (who blamed him for their captivity). The pace suddenly picked up at the end of the season with the apparent death of Starbuck, the revelation that several key characters may actually be Cylons, and what at least appeared to be the return of Starbuck…with a tantalizing peek at Earth, just around the cosmic corner from Galactica.

Quite a bit of the soundtrack’s running time is spent with the Exodus two-parter, which saw Adama and the fleet return to liberate humanity from New Caprica, and with Unfinished Business, a segment that centered around a series of boxing matches to help the crew blow off steam. I’ll admit that Unfinished Business resides in the same “blind spot” I mentioned in an earlier review of the Doctor Who Series 3 soundtrack – there was an awful lot of music generated for the episode, but since I didn’t really count that episode among my favorites, I hadn’t paid close attention to its music. It turns out that, like the Who episode Human Nature, Unfinished Business had some fine music that I had overlooked.

The gem of the Exodus tracks is a mammoth (nearly 8 minute) cue that accompanied Galactica’s all-or-nothing struggle to rescue the trapped colonists. The show’s relentless percussion of the star of “Storming New Caprica”, but when low strings start to add a guttural urgency to the walls of percussion, things really get cooking. This may well be the best reason to get the soundtrack to begin with. Well, that and “All Along The Watchtower”. As odd as it may seem, a Bob Dylan song became central to the season finale, lyrics and all, though it’s a wildly different interpretation than just about anything you’ve heard before. It leans a little bit on the Jimi Hendrix version of “Watchtower”, but with the ethnic instrumentation and percussion that screams “Galactica” layered onto it. This is a cover of “Watchtower” that rocks, and rocks hard. It’s best listened to in conjunction with “Heeding The Call”, a piece of music heard on radios, in the launch bay, and “in the frakking ship!” as certain key characters began to suspect something was even more wrong than they had suspected. It leads into “Watchtower” nicely.

Maelstrom is another episode represented by a healthy sampling of music, including the final moments of the episode in which we’re led to believe that Starbuck has flown her final mission. The music from the episode Dirty Hands is fun too, with a swampy, slithery, bluesy guitar part that gives it a pretty unique sound. While the soundtrack from Galactica’s second season was markedly different from the first, bringing new elements and instruments into the mix, this CD almost sounds like a continuation of the previous season’s sound, dovetailing seamlessly in spots with the second season’s soundtrack.

4 out of 4A strong listen, but it took a little more time to grow on me than previous music collections from the new Battlestar Galactica. As with the episodes themselves, the season 3 soundtrack spends some time in introspective space, rather than blowing everything to bits. Those looking for action music won’t be disappointed, but there’s much more to the season 3 music than that.

Order this CD

  1. A Distant Sadness (2:50 – Occupation)
  2. Precipice (4:52 – Precipice)
  3. Admiral and Commander (3:16 – Exodus Part 1 & 2)
  4. Storming New Caprica (7:48 – Exodus Part 2)
  5. Refugees Return (3:43 – Exodus Part 2)
  6. Wayward Soldier (4:17 – Hero)
  7. Violence and Variations (7:42 – Unfinished Business)
  8. The Dance (2:33 – Unfinished Business)
  9. Adama Falls (1:43 – Unfinished Business)
  10. Under the Wing (1:16 – Maelstrom)
  11. Battlestar Sonatica (4:44 – Torn)
  12. Fight Night (2:27 – Unfinished Business)
  13. Kat’s Sacrifice (2:46 – The Passage)
  14. Someone To Trust (3:09 – Taking A Break From All Your Worries)
  15. The Temple of Five (2:44 – The Eye Of Jupiter)
  16. Dirty Hands (3:32 – Dirty Hands)
  17. Gentle Execution (3:28 – Exodus Part 2)
  18. Mandala in the Clouds (4:07 – Maelstrom)
  19. Deathbed and Maelstrom (5:53 – Maelstrom)
  20. Heeding the Call (2:11 – Crossroads Part 2)
  21. All Along The Watchtower
  22. (3:33 – Crossroads Part 2)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 79:02