As the dust settles over the neo-future Los Angeles skyline, there’s no denying that Westworld Season 3 has had quite the tumultuous ride this season. Thankfully the one element of the show that’s remained consistent throughout its run is the musical score.
With the excellent Ramin Djawadi in the driving seat, the third season brings with it a much more varied range of instrumental pieces, utilizing everything from vinyl scratches and pulsating drums through to low, growling basslines and futuristic sci-fi effects.
The result is something that feels a lot more atmospheric and heavy in tone, while still clinging to those staple Westworld motifs, changing and distorting them to fit the new audio style of the show. There’s of course a few reworked modern classics here, including Sweet Child OfMine and Wicked Games, along with the teasing glimpses of old motifs from “This World” (the haunting piano melody from the first season) and “Dr Ford”.
After the iconic opening title sequence, the soundtrack wastes no time diving into the moody, darker tracks before showcasing one of the recurring motifs this season found in “Rehoboam”. The ideas in this tie in nicely with “Serac” too and without diving into spoiler territory, it’s an incredibly clever bit of orchestral work to subtly hint at what’s going in the show and the link these two characters have with one another.
The old piano and string segment tracks are still here though, nestled in among the more moody tracks. “You Are Not Even You” is a beautiful piece that sheds away its early piano solo to let big-room strings flood the channels. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the album and “Why Are We Here” is another example of blending the old and new together.
The familiar motif from “Our World” shows up in this song but adds enough reverb, echo and distortion to almost feel unrecognizable. The midway point of this track then slams in the pulsating drums, quickening the pace and showing another clear nod toward the more action-driven stance this season has taken.
All of this builds up to the crescendo of ideas in “Free Will”. What begins as a piano solo, builds up layers to combine pianos, strings, heavy bass and pounding drums to perfectly capture the changing setting and tone of the show; a great way to bow out the soundtrack by showcasing these ideas together.
Much like the first two seasons, Westworld’s music continues to be the highlight of the series. With a much darker blending of ideas, combining that of the old and new worlds, Ramin Djawadi delivers another decent soundtrack here and while it may not be quite as good as the first two seasons, it’s a valiant effort nonetheless and certainly the one bright spark of an otherwise disappointing third season.