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Chicago Fire: Season 2 by Atli Örvarsson (Review)

posted Jan 27, 2015, 4:23 PM by Kaya Savas

Television scoring has taken leaps and bounds over the recent years with the boom of cable TV series. There is still a difference when you look at network television versus cable television when it comes to a dramatic series. A cable series usually has season long arcs with a shortened episode count (i.e. Game Of ThronesBreaking BadThe Knick). A network series will usually have a higher episode count and a narrative that is in itself more episodic, meaning the episodes are not as tightly contained (i.e. NCIS, Law & OrderPerson Of Interest). Chicago Fire falls in that latter group. These types of shows make it really difficult for a composer to craft a traditional score. It’s often joked that these are all scored by ominous tones. Thankfully one of the more melodically driven composers out there found himself in the TV market. Atli Örvarsson has surprisingly been able to inject emotionally driven and melodically engrossing music into his scores for not just Chicago Fire, but Chicago P.D. as well. 

Season 2 acts as a great companion album to Season 1. Both albums aren’t really structured to provide a narrative flow, but Season 2 is more along the lines of that if that’s what you were missing. So in short, Season 1 album = melodic action / Season 2 album = character development. This album provides some great builds and textures that fit into the soundscape of the show. I like that we have adequate track times, meaning the score was left to do what a score was meant to do. The fact that music like this can be found on a Dick Wolf produced show is pretty impressive. Atli Örvarsson has given Chicago Fire a voice that is beyond just the “Main Titles”. Is some of the stuff a bit sappy and overly sentimental? Sure, but this is a Dick Wolf production we’re talking here. This is network television escapism, and people love it.

I think whenever you can hum themes or melodies besides a show’s “main title theme” it is proof that the composer was able to do something more substantial than the rest. Atli Örvarsson has done some pretty great work on Chicago Fire, and I’m glad the music can get some of the spotlight with this Season 2 release. Be sure to grab the Season 1 album too, as the albums work better as a companion to one another.