Torchwood: Children Of EarthFor the truncated (five episodes airing on consecutive nights in a single week) third season of Torchwood, the series delved into some very dark territory, and composer Ben Foster, already entrenched as the de facto maestro of Torchwood’s quirky earthbound adventures, seems to have relished the opportunity. The music of the five-episode Children Of Earth event has no problem going dark. Foster sets up several themes early on (including one for Ianto), while also building on some of the themes established in previous seasons (particularly the Captain Jack theme).

The early tracks seem like business as usual, but “We Are Coming” is a discordant, snarling wake-up call that accompanies one of the creepiest scenes in the entire five-hour cycle. It’s not a piece of music you need to be listening to in a dark room at two in the morning. The tension quickly ratchets up from there; the climax of the first episode leads into several tense action cues from the second episode, punctuated by the slightly-out-of-sequence cue “Gwen’s Baby”. A very brief “Ianto Jones” theme is established here as well, which is developed more fully later in “The Ballad Of Ianto Jones”.

Much of the soundtrack is taken up by the show’s musical action set pieces, with slower moments only occasionally getting the spotlight if they’re major scenes, including a lovely operatic theme that appears in the fourth and fifth episodes. For the most part, the music is sequenced in order of appearance, from the beginning of Day One to the end of Day Five, but there are a few out-of-sequence tracks (at least in the digital download edition of the album).

If I have one nit to pick with Children Of Earth from a musical standpoint, it’s actually a nit that I have to pick with the music of both Torchwood and Doctor Who: the reliance on the orchestra-playing-to-a-rock-beat sound has been stretched about as far as it can possibly go on either show. As the orchestrator for Murray Gold on Doctor Who, Ben Foster has a strong influence on both shows’ sounds, but whoever the architect of the “Who universe rock orchestra” sound is, they should know that the sound has reached its peak…and isn’t too far from reaching its nadir.

4 out of 4Children Of Earth is a fine soundtrack, and damned unnerving in places. In rewatching the episodes, it becomes obvious how much of the story’s impact is down to the music, and quite a bit of the music stands alone nicely as well. If there’s any more story to tell with Torchwood (the ending of the season leaves the notion of picking up the story more than a little ambiguous), it’d be nice if both the storytelling and the music could stay at this level.

Order this CD

  1. The First Sacrifice (1:25)
  2. What’s Occurring? (2:10)
  3. Jack’s Daughter (1:28)
  4. Diplomatic Cars (1:20)
  5. We Are Coming (1:12)
  6. Thames House (1:53)
  7. Double Crossed (1:26)
  8. Countdown To Destruction (1:52)
  9. The Crater (1:00)
  10. Torchwood Hunter (1:42)
  11. Gwen’s Baby (1:03)
  12. On The Run (1:13)
  13. Jack In A Box (1:34)
  14. Ianto Jones (0:50)
  15. Tractor Attack (2:21)
  16. Resurrection (1:11)
  17. Clement MacDonald (2:05)
  18. Something’s Coming (1:35)
  19. Eye Spy (1:20)
  20. Trust Nobody (1:46)
  21. The World Looks To The Skies (2:10)
  22. Jack’s Secret (1:36)
  23. Clem Remembers (1:34)
  24. Judgement Day (4:05)
  25. Requiem For The Fallen (1:23)
  26. The Ballad Of Ianto Jones (4:36)
  27. The Final Day (0:40)
  28. Calm Before The Storm (3:22)
  29. Phase Two Has Begun (1:50)
  30. Requisition 31 (2:38)
  31. He Was A Good Man (1:39)
  32. The Children Of Earth (3:27)
  33. Breaking The Connection (2:25)
  34. Fighting Back (2:02)
  35. Run For Your Lives (1:13)
  36. Sacrifice And Salvation (1:39)
  37. Redemption (3:13)
  38. I Can Run Forever (3:28)
  39. Here Comes Torchwood (2:24)
  40. Next Time On Torchwood (0:31)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 77:21

Note that the above tracklist reflects the digital download edition of the album, and the running order may be different for the CD.