We almost had to wait a year, but it’s finally here — Woody Jackson’s score for Red Dead Redemption 2 was just released digitally on major streaming platforms. The soundtrack features 22 pieces composed by Jackson with the support of many other artists, including an Indonesian band Senyawa, jazzman Colin Stetson and accordionist Mario Batkovic.
Solutions that seem modern go smoothly along folk, local music and western tropes.
The score pays noticeable homage to the spaghetti western sound of composers such as Ennio Morricone, featuring electric guitars, strings, trumpets and whistles and creating another great album for the outlaw frontier America, although not so obviously as its predecessor. While including many good musical pieces, it’s hard to not notice the care that went into the soundscapes in more atmospheric tracks (Everyobody Wake Up).
There is a lot going on here. Solutions that seem modern (electronics in Doctor’s Opinion) go smoothly along folk, local music (Welcome to the New World), and while tracks like Outlaws From The West or American Venom (callback to the first game) generally lift the mood up, the score is rather somber and gloomy, putting way more emphasis on the sadness of the time than the first soundtrack. With that in mind, it’s one of the most interesting scores of the past year.