At the helm of the Tron Legacy soundtrack is the dynamic French duo Daft Punk, renowned for bringing pop, electro, disco and dance together into one distinctively iconic style. Yet, despite the anticipation, the final product feels as if the pair have simultaneously taken the task head-on whilst remaining unsure about adapting their sound to the silver screen.
Tracks such as the opening Overture, Rectifier, C.L.U, Flynn Lives and Finale simply lack any sort of Daft Punk sound, instead opting to imitate any number of conventional film soundtracks. Whilst from a neutral perspective this is neither a reason for complaint nor compliment, Daft Punk fans, of which a lot were eagerly awaiting the duo’s first original album in five years, it is cause for concern.
Any fan of the Bourne Trilogy or Christopher Nolan’s Batman films will instantly recognise a similarly brooding orchestral undercurrent in a generous portion of the Tron tracks. Recognizer is a good example of this, in which a Daft Punk twang to the Bourne sound is a welcome and refreshing way to approach the track, until the hint of electronic interference dies leaving an exciting yet generic action-movie mood.
Throughout the album this tendency to ‘play it safe’ is frustrating as Daft Punk, as talented as they are, create a fantastically good cinematic score whilst failing to realise exactly why it was they were chosen to create it.
Daft Punk might have fulfilled expectation had they opted for the style in The Grid, Armory or Rinzler, three tracks where without so much as a nod to the creators you know its Daft Punk through and through. A touch of funk and a sprinkling of synth’ are indicative of the kind of orchestral-come-electro atmosphere most of us might have expected from a Daft Punk film soundtrack.
Derezzed and Solar Sailor crop up in the latter half of the album too just to tease you further by showing what the pair are capable of, the latter elegantly demonstrating a deft touch for electronic-tinged orchestral beauty. Derezzed on the other hand belts out a huge bass line and the most wonderfully experimental melody on the album.
In essence the soundtrack is an album of two halves. One is Daft Punk showcasing their ability to steer clear of anything electronic and everything they’re known for and the other is a band embracing it. Both are impressive in their own right but it is the latter that fans expected.
Tron Legacy and Daft Punk were a match made in movie heaven but unfortunately only part of that perfect marriage becomes apparent. It is perhaps a painful irony then that the final credit sequence titled Tron Legacy (End Titles) ticks every box with a thumper of a bass line, a crackling, electronic melody and a soaring orchestral mood.