There is no doubt about it – Star Wars music is iconic. John Williams defined a generation with his jaw-dropping Star Wars scores, and only a handful of other composers have tried to tackle the insurmountable pressure behind Star Wars projects. Some composers, like Michael Giacchino (Rogue One) and John Powell (Solo: A Star Wars Story), brought out the more strings-heavy orchestral elements of Williams’ music. Others, like The Mandalorian composer Ludwig Göransson, have differentiated themselves by adding more unique instrumentation or a techno-heavy style.
But, in my opinion, composer Kevin Kiner has not been given enough credit for his work in the Star Wars universe. Kiner’s latest score for Star Wars: The Bad Batch perfectly blends the new era of Star Wars music with the familiar sounds of the Skywalker Saga. The first volume of Bad Batch music was released in June, and I have been loving it!
The album begins with the quick logo music for the series then jumps into my favorite track from the album – “Omega’s Theme”. The theme perfectly captures the beauty, innocence, and power of Omega in the series, and Omega’s theme is weaved into other tracks on the album like “Omega Warns Hunter”, “First Time in Space”, and “Raising Kids”. Other than the Bad Batch theme that is played during the credits of each episode, this is probably the most recognizable tune on the album, and it is a gorgeous piece of music. “Omega’s Theme” shows the more orchestral side of Kiner’s work and fits right in with other Star Wars themes.
As the album continues, there is an increasing use of techno-driven sounds, with a variety of synths and electronic beats in the mix (see “Chip Disorders”). The sound is very similar to Ludwig Göransson’s score from Chapter Four of The Mandalorian, and the electronic elements help to keep the score upbeat and exciting. Through it all, though, there are tracks like “Pantora Chase” that are action-packed but fit more within John Williams’ orchestral style of Star Wars music. There is even one track (“End of the War”) that seems to be pulled straight out of Williams’ “Imperial March”!
One of my biggest complaints from this album – and other Star Wars albums, in general – is that not all of the tracks are great for casual listening. The music fits perfectly behind the action when you are watching the series, but some of the tracks are very chaotic and dark. There are a few tracks that I have a tendency to skip when I come across them. With 37 tracks, however, the album is a great length, and I am always left wanting more of Kiner’s Star Wars music.
All in all, Kevin Kiner’s Volume 1 soundtrack of The Bad Batch is a great blend of old and new Star Wars sounds. I cannot wait to hear where the music will take us as we get ready to wrap up Season 1!
Top Tracks: “Omega’s Theme”, “Onderon”, “Experimental Tactics”, “First Time in Space”
RATING – 4.5 out of 5.
Corban has been a lifelong fan of The Walt Disney Company. Disney music is often the soundtrack of his life, and he loves listening to a new film score. In between reruns of The Mandalorian, you can often find him planning his next trip to the Disney Parks or rewatching classic Disney TV shows.