Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Pinar Toprak
  • WaterTower / 57m

A superhero series for kids, Stargirl follows the adventures of high school student Courtney Whitmore who leads the Justice Society of America in their battles with (wait for it) the Injustice Society of America. It’s been very well-received, a second season is on the way, and it’s provided another comic book canvas for Pinar Toprak to paint on, after her breakthrough success with Captain Marvel and, on tv, Krypton. Her score is firmly orchestral – I’ve seen a lot of comparison to 1980s action/adventure movie scores which I don’t really see myself – it’s firmly set in the modern Marvel (not DC) scoring style, but very much at the brighter end of that, which isn’t surprising given the target audience.

The main theme heard in the opening cue “Justice League of America” is appropriately heroic but surprisingly not that memorable, especially compared with Toprak’s excellent Captain Marvel theme. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on – as well as a lot of action there’s a surprising amount of more personal-feeling music, such as the warm “Pat was Right” and “Friendly Folks”. The best track is “The Cosmic Staff”, which has a delightful adventurous spirit. “Leave Blue Valley” has a real emotional sweep to it and is followed by the excellent “Elegy for Joey”, which is genuinely touching. The action music dotted throughout is more than competent and does just the right things – the pick is the pair of cues “Henry vs. Henry” with its big, dramatic thrusts and the energetic “Fighting Sportsmaster and Tigress”. I think Toprak is an excellent composer and I’ve been a fan since long before she attracted mass attention and what I miss from Stargirl is much of what I would identify as her own style: this is all decent music on the album but it suffers from a lack of distinctiveness. The album is a nice length (thankfully eschewing the bizarre recent trend of releasing individual episode albums from tv shows) and makes for a pleasant companion piece to her other music in the genre, but doesn’t quite set the pulse racing as I’d hoped it would.

Rating: *** | |

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