Michael Giacchino has been very busy lately. In the last year he has provided the music for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Batman, Lightyear, Jurassic World: Dominion and the most recent Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder. He is not the only composer that worked on this movie, however. While Giacchino was responsible for writing the themes and most of the music, Nami Melumad has also been credited for writing some of the cues.
The superhero Thor has been quite a staple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is not only one of the Avengers to appear in all of their movies, but Love and Thunder is the fourth movie centered around the Nordic god. What is interesting about these solo movies is that each has a soundtrack composed by a different composer, with Patrick Doyle, Brian Tyler and Mark Mothersbaugh being the music writers for the previous three films, and each score has its own thematic ideas. Giacchino continued this tradition by creating a new theme representing not only Thor but also Jane Foster, who is Thor’s female counterpart, Mighty Thor.
The best version of the new main theme can be heard in the first track, “Mama’s Got a Brand New Hammer,” which is a track Giacchino released as a teaser before the movie was out, and it is a magnificent piece. The music starts with a gorgeous, emotional version of the main theme, performed on a cello, before the orchestra and choir pick up the melody. The fun does not stop there, because we are only halfway into the track when the glorious rock version starts with synths, drums, electric guitars and the orchestra’s brass section performing the melody, including a terrific guitar solo.
The new theme appears many times in the movie and on this album. It is used for both Thor characters, and the theme is also suited for different moods. The rock version is perfectly usable during the heroic fight scenes and matches brilliantly with the Guns n’ Roses songs, which are also used for some of these battle sequences. The theme can also be transformed into a heroic-sounding version, showing off the mightiness of both of the Thors, such as in the finale of “The Power of Thor Propels You.” But since not everything is well with Jane Foster, the theme’s melody can also be tragic and emotional. “Bedside Hammer” is a gorgeous example, in which the theme is performed on a single acoustic guitar and piano. Another more uplifting version of the theme performed by acoustic guitars can be found in “The Kids Are Alright.”
In addition to the main theme for the Thors, there is only one other important theme, which represents the antagonist Gorr. I love villains who are not born evil but are driven to do their terrible deeds because of something bad that has happened to them. This also applies to Gorr, whose theme can be very emotional. In “Just Desert,” the theme’s melody is performed beautifully on a cello. In “A Gorr Phobia,” you can hear an ominous-sounding version of it halfway through the track. The theme in “Utter Lunarcy” is massive, with many brass and choir elements.
Both themes are wonderfully integrated into the music for Love and Thunder. When listening to the music, you feel heroic, sad or happy at the right moments, and that’s exactly what film music should do to make it work for me. While most of the score is credited to Giacchino, Melumad has also done an excellent job, and she integrated Giacchino’s themes beautifully in all kinds of cues. I would also like to point you to “The Zeus Fanfares,” since it is a track credited solely to Melumad containing a series of wonderful fanfares.
I loved the music of the three previous Thor movies. Each composer brought their own style, ensuring a good fit with the movie. Giacchino and Melumad kept that tradition going. The movie is not a classic Marvel movie in which everything is taken seriously. Love and Thunder is more lighthearted and contains silly jokes. The music reflects that with the over-the-top rock elements but is still quite serious and emotional in other places. I am always in favor of reusing themes from other movies, but unfortunately this does not happen in Love and Thunder. I did not mind it that much because Giacchino, together with Melumad for this project, can consistently deliver the right music for a film.
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The highlights are in bold.
1 Michael Giacchino 2 Nami Melumad
- Mama’s Got a Brand New Hammer (6:10)1
- Just Desert (2:25)1
- Indigarr with the Diva (1:44)1
- The Not Ready for New Asgard Players (1:39)1,2
- See Jane Thor (1:08)1
- Distressed Out (2:38)1
- Gorr Animals (2:33)1
- A Gorr Phobia (2:08)1,2
- The Ax Games (1:21)1
- Thorring to New Heights (0:57)1
- Show Intel (2:52)1
- We’re Not Emos We’re Gods (0:51)2
- The Zeus Fanfares (1:26)2
- I Was in the Pool! (2:25)2
- Saving Face (3:09)1
- Utter Lunarcy (1:24)1,2
- Think on Your Defeat (1:41)1
- Bedside Hammer (1:35)1
- Temple-itis (1:38)1,2
- Surely, Temple (1:01)1,2
- The Power of Thor Propels You (2:01)1,2
- Foster? I Barely Know Her! (3:06)1,2
- Jane Stop This Crazy Thing (2:52)1
- One Wish to Rule Them All (2:58)1,2
- All’s Fair in Love and Thor (1:44)1
- Bawl and Jane (1:23)1
- The Kids Are Alright (1:21)1
- The Ballad of Love and Thunder (8:12)1
Total length: 1 hour and 4 minutes
Hollywood Records (2022)