Blumenscore-XTRAFANTASTIC-3000-X++-SEX SCORE: 78%
If Earth to Echo was an exercise in solid but inoffensive music with a nice melding of orchestra and synthesizers, The Crew is its polar opposite. It's bold, it's brash, it's got big aggressive synthesizers and it is sure to piss off 90% of JWFan. And I love it. Seriously, I dare you to listen to "Heavy As a Feather" and not plant your foot down into the gas pedal while driving your car around. If relying on aggressive synthesizers and big pop-music inspired chord progressions didn't offend your limited JWFan sensibilities, then surely this will: The Crew was written for...yes...a video game.
This score has this strange quality that every Joseph Trapanese score I've heard so far has in spades: staying power. Music like this in general has the proclivity for a short shelf-life, because it's familiar, and the familiar quickly loses its effortless charm. That's why we all praise Star Wars but only listen to it a couple of times a year. We are after all human, and our brain craves novelty. So when you listen to a score like this, with its roots in commonplace popular music, you fully expect that you'll listen to its dopamine-generating goodness for a week, maybe focusing on a couple of tracks, and then its effects wear off and you move on to your next novel drug. Not so. It's been since November, and I still keep coming back. There's always some charming detail that Trapanese sneaks into the familiar sounds that makes each subsequent lesson an exercise in small discoveries. Sometimes it's the acoustic details, the interesting rhythmic ideas, or just the plane cacophony of everything blasting away all at once in head-banger fashion. But this score hasn't gotten old to my ears. I still get that jolt of dopamine, and I listen to tracks from it on a weekly basis.
There are 28 tracks, and it being video game music, some of the tracks do get a bit tiresome when listened to without the corresponding game to go with it. So the full 28-track album may not be the best for everyone, unless you're genuinely into this kind of music (apparently...I am!). If you're not, the first 5 tracks of the album (starting with Datyon and finishing with Heist 1) provide a kick-ass suite of some exciting music you can bang your head to, and they largely convey the overarching flavors of the whole score.
Another solid score from Trapanese (though it looks like his bore-fest for that teenage book adaptation movie is going to break his "solid" trend).