Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Kevin Kiner

If you ask a random person who composed the most Star Wars music, the answer will probably be John Williams. To be honest, that would be the first name that pops into my mind as well, but the right answer would probably be Kevin Kiner. While Williams has composed the music for nine Star Wars movies, Kiner has written for all kinds of animated Star Wars projects, which are: The Clone Wars movie, seven seasons of the television show with the same name, and two seasons of Rebels. His most recent addition to the Star Wars universe is the music he wrote for the latest Disney+ show Star Wars: The Bad Batch. As is becoming the standard for new shows on said streaming platform, they like to release the soundtracks in digital format, grouping episodes together on one or more albums. Two albums were released for The Bad Batch, containing more than four hours of music, divided over 75 tracks. 

The Bad Batch is a show about a squad of irregular clone troopers and the story has ties with both The Clone Wars and Rebels shows, which is a good opportunity for Kiner to reuse all the themes he has written for these. I have listened to some of the music from the other shows, but I have not studied it in great detail. To explore many hours of music from them, next to the four hours for the current show, would be a very interesting exercise, but sadly I do not have that much time. I do want to highlight two important themes from The Bad Batch though. The first is a theme that originated from the last season of The Clone Wars, since The Bad Batch squad was introduced in that show and was given its own theme by Kiner. In the new show, this theme is, of course, more fleshed out and the best version can be heard in “End Credits (Star Wars: The Bad Batch).”

The other theme I would like to draw your attention to is the theme for the newly introduced character Omega, who is a young female clone. The theme, which can be heard in “Omega’s Theme,” begins quiet and emotional, introducing the theme’s melody, and while the piece progresses more instruments join in, resulting in a glorious orchestral finale. This theme is worthy of being played at every future Star Wars concert. It is a delight to listen to. 

Most of the music on both albums is specifically written for their respective scenes, and I have the impression that there is a lot going on with the themes from all kinds of shows, including themes by John Williams. I do recognize the two themes I have highlighted in this review, but there are probably many more for all kinds of other characters and concepts. It is probably a wonderful showcase of how to implement themes in orchestral music to support the images, which is how most Star Wars music is written, and it works perfectly for the show, but for me they are less interesting to listen to on their own. I do think that being able to write so much Star Wars music and to keep the music interesting and fresh is quite an achievement, and, as a bonus, I was introduced to a wonderful new theme for Omega, which I consider as one of the better themes I have heard in 2021. If you have like four hours to spare, give these two albums a listen.

Listen or buy

Tracklist

The highlights are in bold.

Volume 1 (Episodes 1-8)

  1. Logo (Star Wars: The Bad Batch) (0:18)
  2. Omega’s Theme (2:58)
  3. Civil War About to Begin (3:21)
  4. Onderon (3:06)
  5. Battle Simulation (4:46)
  6. Experimental Tactics (2:34)
  7. Omega Warns Hunter (2:34)
  8. Caleb at the Cliff (3:01)
  9. End of the War (3:17)
  10. Tension with Crosshair (3:54)
  11. Disobeying Orders (4:52)
  12. First Time in Space (2:07)
  13. Nexu Attack (1:57)
  14. Raising Kids (3:31)
  15. Smuggled Themselves (4:47)
  16. Ordo Moon Dragon (4:24)
  17. First Elite Squad (3:56)
  18. Financial Incentives (3:23)
  19. Danger at the Market (3:13)
  20. Pantora Chase (3:12)
  21. Fennec Shand (2:40)
  22. Zygerrian Camp (3:22)
  23. Muchi Unchained (2:58)
  24. Monster Challenge (2:26)
  25. Decommissioned Factory (4:25)
  26. Police Droids (3:36)
  27. A Diversion (3:31)
  28. Stranger at the Bar (1:27)
  29. To Bracca (2:32)
  30. Stay Above the Water Line (3:02)
  31. Chip Disorders (3:34)
  32. Bomb Disposal Training (2:46)
  33. Incoming Vessels (2:26)
  34. Fight in the Artillery Room (2:44)
  35. Breakaway Plan (3:49)
  36. The Bounty Hunter Is Back (2:29)
  37. Cid’s Jukebox Mix Vol. 1 (4:48)

Total length: 1 hours and 58 minutes

Volume 2 (Episodes 9–16)

  1. Omega the Prisoner (2:26)
  2. Bane vs Shand (3:01)
  3. Weird Creatures (2:45)
  4. Target Is Getting Away (4:01)
  5. Raxus Under the Empire (3:37)
  6. Move In (3:42)
  7. Walker Chase (3:52)
  8. Tension in Ryloth (3:56)
  9. Different Perspectives (2:10)
  10. Flying Is a Feeling (2:50)
  11. Guilty of Treason (3:59)
  12. Rampart Interrogates (2:53)
  13. Hera’s Plan (4:33)
  14. Howzer’s Sacrifice (4:11)
  15. Farewell to Hera (3:21)
  16. Roland Durand (2:28)
  17. Mining Tunnels (3:55)
  18. The Hives (3:12)
  19. Retrieving the Spice (4:17)
  20. Searching for Gregor (4:35)
  21. Into the Base (3:16)
  22. Hallway Fight (2:06)
  23. Rescue Mission Escalates (4:27)
  24. Secret Landing Pad (3:52)
  25. Into the Labs (2:12)
  26. Back to Tipoca City (2:36)
  27. Weren’t Loyal to Me (3:11)
  28. Fire When Ready (2:34)
  29. Standoff (4:01)
  30. Collapse (5:18)
  31. Underwater Tunnel (3:25)
  32. Saberjowl Attack (2:16)
  33. To the Surface (3:59)
  34. Leaving Kamino (2:50)
  35. Lama Su (2:30)
  36. End Credits (Star Wars: The Bad Batch) (0:43)
  37. Cid’s Jukebox Mix, Vol. 2 (7:24)
  38. Roland’s Jukebox Mix (5:31)

Total length: 2 hours and 12 minutes
Walt Disney Records (2021)

Author

  • Anton is the editor-in-chief and founder of Soundtrack World. After writing about film music occasionally, he thought it was time to create his own site to celebrate music from film but also other media. Next to working on this website as a hobby Anton has a full-time job in IT and plays the tuba in a local orchestra.

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