Logan – Marco Beltrami

Marco Beltrami - Logan CD coverI have been following the X-Men series since I was a child. I started watching the cartoons on TV and, starting with the first movie in 2000, I have seen all the X-Men movies in the cinema. I even love the halfish reboot they did in the last few years. But there is one factor that stayed the same in all the movies, and that is Hugh Jackman as Logan, also known as Wolverine– a mutant with instant healing powers and metal claws coming out of his hands. After 17 years, Jackman decided that it was finally time to retract his claws for good and has announced that Logan will be his last X-Men film.
All the X-Men movies had great composers for their scores. The first one was done by the late Michael Kamen, but also other great composers like John Ottman and Henry Jackman have written beautiful scores for the series. The music for X-Men: The Last Stand, composed by John Powell, is still one of my favorite scores to date. Lastly, the composer of Logan, Marco Beltrami, has also scored an X-Men movie called The Wolverine. The X-Men movies are known for their action scenes and special effects in sometimes very large battles. Logan, on the other hand, is a very different movie since it is dark, R-rated, and focuses almost exclusively on the characters Logan and Charles Xavier – another powerful mutant played by Sir Patrick Stewart.

Since it is not a typical X-Men movie, it also does not have a typical action-focused score. Beltrami was asked to write a score that was all about vibe: it did not need any grandiose thematic music or verbose melodic statements. “Main Titles” starts with a very nice piano melody, which gets support from the rest of the band consisting of a guitar, drums, and harmonica later in the track. “Laura”, the next theme that can be heard, is a very simple motif that sadly transitions into non-melodic sounds. There are quite a few sound-design tracks on this album. Not much melody can be found in them, just waves of sound or other little sound motifs that are meant to support the scenes in the movie. Further examples of these tracks include “The Grim Reavers” and “Old Man Logan”.

Luckily the band helps out from time to time. You can hear them together with some strings in the track “Alternate Route to Mexico”. The next piece is another sound design track called “That’s Not a Choo-Choo”, which starts slow but tense and builds up to an even tenser middle section that transitions back to a slow end. After hearing an antagonist theme in “X-24,” we get to the weirdest track of the album: “El Limo-Nator,” featuring some haywire piano playing over a base of tense orchestral layers. It is confusing and awesome at the same time. The music reflects the behavior of Logan when he goes feral. In contrast, the next track, “Gabriella’s Video” is very emotional, with beautiful long lines and delicate piano. “To the Cemetery” includes the piano theme that was introduced in “Main Titles”, but this time without the band.

After another batch of sound design tracks, we get “Driving to Mexico” with a nice guitar motif and the piano theme taking over from the guitar after a while. “You Can’t Break the Mould” is a reiteration of Laura’s theme, but this time it just ends without any non-melodic sounds, which I prefer. The next couple of tracks transition from a serene part of the movie to the more upbeat battle sequence. This battle part can be heard in “Forest Fight”, where we can also hear the bizarre piano motif once more. The fighting continues in “Logan vs. X-24” and comes to a full stop in the emotional “Don’t Be What They Made You”, where we can hear the piano again over another set of long lines.

There are some nice tracks at the end of the album. “Eternum – Laura’s Theme” is a more mature version of the theme where you can also hear the band. “Logan’s Limo” is a track where the guitars of the band are playing some lovely melodies before the strings and other instruments set in. The bizarre theme can be heard once again in the track “Loco Logan”. As the album started with the band, it also ends like that with “Logan Drives”. A nice track, but not as great as the “Main Titles”.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this movie. I would definitely say this is a good movie: everything was done very well– the actors were great, the dialogue was good, and the animation quality was spot on. But personally, I did not like the movie. Logan and Charles are two very strong mutants and what is done to them in this movie was not at all to my taste. I have the same mixed feeling with the score: it is a good score for this movie, but most parts of it I do not like. I like listening to a score without a movie. The melodies should bring me back to the movie in my mind. But all these sound design tracks do not do that for me. I will remember some of the band tracks and the theme written for Laura, but the rest is pretty forgettable for me.

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The highlights are in bold.

  1. Main Titles
  2. Laura
  3. The Grim Reavers
  4. Old Man Logan
  5. Alternate Route to Mexico
  6. That’s Not a Choo-Choo
  7. X-24
  8. El Limo-nator
  9. Gabriella’s Video
  10. To the Cemetery
  11. Goodnight Moon
  12. Farm Aid
  13. Feral Tween
  14. Driving to Mexico
  15. You Can’t Break the Mould
  16. Up to Eden
  17. Beyond the Hills
  18. Into the Woods
  19. Forest Fight
  20. Logan vs. X-24
  21. Don’t Be What They Made You
  22. Eternum – Laura’s Theme
  23. Logan’s Limo
  24. Loco Logan
  25. Logan Drives

Total length: 57 minutes
Lakeshore Records (2017)

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