Robotic Duo Craft Waves For Tron

Daft Punk
Tron: Legacy
Walt Disney Records

The soundtracks for upcoming Disney movies aren’t usually the subject of media anticipation, but the score for “Tron: Legacy” breaks the mold for one reason and one reason only: Daft Punk. The thought of the famed French house duo commanding a massive 85-piece orchestra has sent legions of fans into an overjoyed frenzy. Throw in some fan-produced tracks that leaked earlier this year (and were actually kinda good), and it’s hard to beat the hype.

But even with overwhelmingly high expectations, Tron: Legacy proves to be an enormous accomplishment. The mixture of classical instruments and digital synthesizers is exactly the kind of bold experimentation Daft Punk is famous for, and exactly the kind of pairing that appeals to fans (and everyone else, for that matter).

But don’t go in expecting anything like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”; this is far from a typical Daft Punk album. “The Grid” starts the journey with the only vocals on the soundtrack — provided by “Tron” star Jeff Bridges — leading the way. “I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see. And then, one day, I got in,” he explains over an escalating beat, instilling an unparalleled sense of discovery. “Recognizer” follows and chronicles both Sam Flynn’s and our own first push into the dark, digital world of the movie. Sharp violins and low synth get progressively louder and more dissonant, stirring the thrill of excitement that characterizes the plunge into the heroic adventure.

While most of the soundtrack has little in common with Daft Punk’s prior work, their electronica roots show up from time to time. “Derezzed” is exactly what you imagined Daft Punk’s score would sound like; it’s loud and it’s fast and it provides an adrenaline rush. The same goes for “End Titles” — with its electronic power and uplifting rhythm, it promises to keep theatre seats full during the credits.

In the end, their mixture of classical and digital doesn’t get a party started quite like “One More Time,” but it is still a magnificent work by the unstoppable Daft Punk. And who knows? It may force the robots out of hiding and into suits at the Oscars. “Best Score” could very well be within their reach. (9/10)