It's been five whole years since Daft Punk, the world's most iconic electronic duo, has released a true studio album, so can the Tron: Legacy Soundtrack be placed amongHomework, Discovery, and Human After All? It is difficult to say, but the key thing to remember is that it is a movie soundtrack. Sure, every little bit of Daft Punk goodness that has been trickled to the public has been eagerly eaten up by fans, as it should be, but ultimately the album is a movie companion and that hinders the insane potential of the groundbreaking duo. The leaps and bounds that Homem-Christo and Bangalter have made in electronic music has been awe-inspring, which leaves their work on the Tron: Legacy Soundtrack feeling a little underwhelming. Despite this, the music they have created for the soundtrack is still very solid.
By listening to the whole album it becomes very easy to pick out the highs and lows, and the highs clearly outshine the lows. The album's most noteworthy tracks are mixed in with average, orchestral sweeps that, other than the electronic flavour, can be found sprinkled throughout Hollywood soundtracks. When those highs kick in, thought, man is it ever good. The heart-thumping, dance beats of "Derezzed," the simple synth elegance of "The Son of Flynn," the slow, tense crescendo of "Rinzler," the eery yet beautiful ambience of "Solar Sailer," and the outright intensity of "Fall;" all of these tracks show how well Daft Punk can take advantage of an 85-piece orchestra.
Unfortunately, when the soundtrack isn't blowing you away with incredible combinations synthesizers and sweeping orchestral influence, it becomes a second thought. The rest of the tracks on the album are entirely reminiscent of what you will find throughout Hollywood's many blockbuster movies. Despite having everything necessary for a movie of this caliber, albeit an electronic overcoat, many of the tracks will be lost in the shuffle, and coming from Daft Punk it is a little disappointing. Most evident of this is the track "Recognizer," which (pointed out by Consequence of Sound) sounds a lot like the heavy, deep, horns used in the iconic Inception soundtrack. Despite the uniqueness of songs like "Derezzed," much of the soundtrack is far from original.
After having listened over and over again to the Tron: Legacy Soundtrack, one word comes to mind: controversial. Yes, it is Daft Punk's first original work in five years, but it falls short of the innovation that the duo are iconic for. It is highly unlikely that any, if few, of the tracks on this soundtrack appear in a future (we can hope can't we) Daft Punk tour circuit, but they did accomplish one thing which is that they managed to make an entirely solid film soundtrack. While this soundtrack is pretty much a tease for anyone who is seeped in Daft Punk fandom, it does show that the two Frenchman are capable of utilizing more than two synths and a drum machine. That simple fact makes me excited for the future of Daft Punk.
You can listen to 21 minutes of the Tron: Legacy Soundtrack here.