The first season has just ended, and we already miss it. Legion is one of the best comic book productions we’ve ever seen ~ only eight episodes, but ever so creative, so mysterious, so stunning. The song selection is a big part of its success, but even more so, the score by Jeff Russo.
Russo has been bubbling under our radar for a number of years, as we’ve enjoyed hearing his music in shows such as The Returned, Fargo, The Night Of and Lucifer. (The artist either has a thing for the dark side, or has been typecast.) This 75-minute score gives us a chance to relive the series, but also flows smartly as an album, offering numerous surprises along the way. Sometimes it’s downright gorgeous, as in the nursery-esque opener, “Young David.” Sometimes it’s terrifying. And other times it’s in between. A slight spoiler alert ~ David is suspected to be schizophrenic, which makes Russo’s job all the harder; he’s been asked to score not one personality, but several, without losing the plot.
All the while, a demon lurks on the outskirts, trying to take control; some might say possession. And whenever the music darkens, we remember the threat at the door. The tension begins to build in “174 Hours”, but breaks into a prog soundscape midway before crumbling in the final seconds. Uh-oh. Yes, we know what’s coming, just not how it’s coming. The most effective moment of the album (and some might say the series) arrives at 1:48 of “Seeing Things Hearing Things”, as an electronic note bursts the volume boundary established by all of the preceding music. Even when repeated, it continues to catch the listener off guard. And then, the self-explanatory, 51-second “Run.”
One of the most terrifying tracks can’t be judged on aural qualities alone. “Choir and Crickets” seems harmless when heard in the context of the score: ambient, with light insects. But in the context of the show, it’s music as menace, used in a horrifying way. We won’t give it away here; suffice it to say you’ll feel differently about it later. “Clockworks” crumbles at the end, just like “174 Hours”; as Pink Floyd would say, tear down the wall. Sadly, it all winds down with a return to the opening, an innocence we now know never existed. The line is severed by a guitar progression reminiscent of The Beatles’ She’s So Heavy (the 2:40 mark) ~ perhaps no coincidence, given the weight of the villain. There’s no happy ending here, save for Russo; thankfully, we still have Season Three of Fargo! (Richard Allen)