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Soundtrack Review

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The Hobbit
The Desolation of Smaug
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Special Edition


Composer: Howard Shore
Label: WaterTower Music
RRP: £19.99
Release Date: 10 December 2013

Howard Shore's music for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is exactly what you'd expect if you've been following the movie franchise's soundtrack output.

There are two editions of the score being released, both spread over two CDs. There's the standard edition and a special edition, which features twelve extended tracks, a bonus track, expanded liner notes and interactive sheet music. We only received the MP3 files from the special edition, so we can't comment on the liner notes or interactive sheet music - or how much additional music you actually get for that matter. But as the price that online stores are selling them both for is almost identical, you'd be wise to pick up the special edition release.

The album echoes themes first heard in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Most notable in tracks like 'The Quest for Erebor'; 'A Necromancer'; and 'The House of Beorn'. This is to be expected in this sort of movie series.

As atmospheric and enjoyable as this score appears to be on first listen through, I really didn't think there was enough memorable themes or stand out moments to make this an essential purchase for anyone other than hardcore Hobbit fans. To me, once you've heard one Lord of the Rings / Hobbit score... you've pretty much heard them all.

The only track that really made me sit up and take notice was the theme at the centre of 'Feast of Starlight', which is revisited on 'Kingsfoil'.

It's a shame, because this is a great score, but it's something you can put on in the background and not really notice. Sadly, however, it's not a soundtrack you can take any memorable themes away from.

Disc 1

01 - The Quest for Erebor
02 - Wilderland
03 - A Necromancer (Bonus Track) *
04 - The House of Beorn **
05 - Mirkwood **
06 - Flies and Spiders **
07 - The Woodland Realm **
08 - Feast of Starlight 9. Barrels Out of Bond
10 - The Forest River **
11 - Bard, a Man of Lake-town **
12 - The High Fells **
13 - The Nature of Evil
14 - Protector of the Common Folk

Disc 2

01 - Thrice Welcome
02 - Girion, Lord of Dale **
03 - Durin's Folk **
04 - In the Shadow of the Mountain
05 - A Spell of Concealment **
06 - On the Doorstep
07 - The Courage of Hobbits
08 - Inside Information
09 - Kingsfoil
10 - A Liar and a Thief
11 - The Hunters **
12 - Smaug **
13 - My Armor Is Iron
14 - I See Fire performed by Ed Sheeran
15 - Beyond the Forest

* Bonus track available on Special Edition Soundtrack only
** Extended Versions of these songs Available on Special Edition Soundtrack only


Darren Rea

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