Background Noise: The Mandalorian Soundtrack

Not Quite What One Would Expect

But It Works Really Well

When I envision a score(soundtrack) for a Star Wars property, John Williams will always come to mind. This is the way. With his soaring overtures, mystical themes, and use of horns vs strings. How could I not think of him? Okay, that all really comes from me being a massive fanboy since early childhood. So, when I sat down to watch the first episode of The Mandalorian: Season 1, I had no idea what to expect. Well, in an aural sense. Of course I knew what to expect from a story about Mandalorians. 

As I made my way through season one, it didn’t take long to find myself really enjoying the soundtrack. It blends many styles of music and instruments in an almost experimental way. I mean, the main theme reminds me of a 20th century western(movie or TV show. Jury’s out), mixed with a Kurosawa-era Japanese samurai flick(it’s the drums). Which is just a job well done on its own.

The drums remind me of beats on a Taiko

Now, if you really think about it, isn’t that more or less what The Mandalorian is? It is totally a space cowboy story set in a samurai kind of atmosphere(the Jedi). I mean, the cowboy aspect speaks for itself in my opinion. But Mando and Grogu(the artist formerly known as The Child) are an absolute throwback to Lone Wolf and Cub. A manga series published back in the 1970’s. The story was that of a former Samurai that served as the Shogun’s executioner turned Rōnin, and his child.

The Lone Wolf(Mando/Din Djarin) and Cub(The Child/Grogu)

There was something like, 8 movies made from this story.

The soundtrack as a whole is nothing like what one would come to expect from, say, a series that has a well establoshed orchestral score. ie: the first 9 episodes of the Star Wars franchise. While it does use some orchestrations, this is largely electronic or mixed electronically. Which is pretty interesting. So I think it is definitely more akin to a modern TV/video game soundtrack(duh), as it uses a lot of electronic assets to set the atmosphere. There are times when I get Mass Effect OST vibes. And that is one of my favorite OST’s ever.

I mean, this is straight up video game music, right here.

The soundtrack also has some deliciously essential dark elements. Because a Star Wars property HAS to have good dark themes for their antagonists or evil plots. Moff Gideon’s arrival was certainly dark as it needed to be, that’s for sure. Long Live the Empire may be one of the closest pieces to a John Williams-esque Star Wars entry. It’s the strings.

The Arrival (Moff Gideon)
Long Live the Empire

All of these entries have great electronic elements mixed in with the more traditional instruments. Great stuff.

Along with the rhythmic drums from the main theme song, various elements of The Mandalorian theme are scattered throughout the soundtrack using various instrumentation. You can actually hear these elements in most of the pieces. It may be one or two notes. Or a whole passage.

Then there is the real star of The Mandalorian. Grogu. And he got a great theme. Which, as mentioned above, also calls to the main theme. And as you progress in the show, that fact begins to make a lot of sense. A really nice touch in my opinion.  

Adding To My Collection.

(read: How I got here)

I was having serious trouble deciding what I wanted to write about for this years Star Wars Month. I haven’t had the drive, or time to do any hobbying. So my Legion models are still in their boxes. Built, but primed, I’ll have you know! And admittedly, I haven’t watched much of anything new in the past year. Or read anything new(SW related).

So, no Andor. None of the animated stuff. I think the last thing I watched may have been The Book of Boba Fett, now that I think about it. Hell, I hadn’t even seen the new season of The Mandalorian yet, at that point. (Still working on finishing it. Time is something I wish I had)

Then one day after work I was sitting on my sofa, listening to some vinyl. I had an apostrophe!

I love Hook. Another John Williams scored movie!

“I wonder if The Mandalorian soundtrack is available on vinyl?”

Now, at the time, this had nothing to do with my SW Month post. I was on a vinyl shopping binge that took me to a ton of shops nearby and saw eBay orders from all over coming in. And wouldn’t you know it, I actually found the LP’s. It was then that it hit me. “Oh shit! There’s my contribution!”

So I bought the vinyl for seasons 1 and 2. Which were apparently Target exclusives. Weird. They aren’t full soundtracks unfortunately. Only highlights. Pretty decent quality, but not stellar in terms of audio clarity. Just decent. I also picked up the Book of Boba Fett’s vinyl(composed by the same guy as The Mandalorian). This record is a picture disc. Something I am not a total fan of. They are great show pieces, but as far as audio goes, they are just so so.

Cover image source

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

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All of these are true except for one:

Robert is: a Hobbyist, a Music Lover, an RPG Gamer, a Mustard Lover, Chaotic Neutral, a Japanese Speaker, a Veteran, an Otaku, a Table Tennis Player, an Anime Fan, an Aviation Professional, a New York Rangers Fan, a Chaos Lover With Loyalist Tendencies.

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