Old MacWandaVision Had a Soundtrack
Just a few weeks ago, WandaVision kicked-off Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the LOST-style sitcom is full of mystery and laughs – with an original soundtrack that pays tribute to everything from “Patty Duke” to “I Love Lucy and I Married Joan.” On January 22, 2021, Walt Disney Records released the soundtracks for the first two episodes of Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, featuring both the instrumental scores and original songs from the series.
Christopher Beck Composes Wanda and Vision’s Theme
I’m a HUGE SCARLET WITCH FAN, so maybe my opinion is biased, but the latest chapter of the MCU is the full package. And the spot-on sitcom weirdness (with an X-Files twist) is highlighted with the always era appropriate soundtrack, which includes original scores, catchy theme songs, and genius needle drops.
Christopher Beck (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Pitch Perfect) scored the digital soundtracks to make the music feel authentic to the era represented in each of the series’ nine episodes. The composer told Marvel.com:
For each era, the music is a loving homage to the sitcom scores typical of the time period. This involved not only the instrumentation, but also the composition style.
Beck used period-specific instruments – like “raunchy trombones” and “the RMI Rock-si-chord” – and recording and mixing techniques to achieve the appropriate sound for each episode. Although the first three episodes of WandaVision featured small orchestral ensembles, the later episodes will embrace a rock-pop style common to the period sitcoms.
Anderson-Lopez and Lopez on WandaVision Original Soundtrack
To help with the composition style, Marvel hired songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who have two Oscars for their original music from Frozen and Coco. Now, the amazingly talented duo is writing the original theme songs for WandaVision, with musical themes spanning from the 1950s to the early 2000s.
Music goes a long way in creating a memorable scene, and Marvel Studios has never shied away from great musical moments – remember: Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Captain Marvel. And so far, each episode of WandaVision is written and composed with the grand marvelous musical tradition in mind.
YAKETY YAK: Please Come Back
Although, as of today, the original soundtrack for each of the first three episodes has officially been released, so far we only have details about Episode 1, which Anderson-Lopez said “was written to evoke the dawn of television.”
Anderson-Lopez told Marvel.com:
We wanted to have an optimistic group of voices singing jazzily (though not too jazzily!) about the love between these two – and the main question of the first episode, whether two Avengers in love can pass for normal in a typical American suburb.
Immediately from the first episode, it’s clear the soundtrack was written to evoke a sense of nostalgia and some fear in the listener (and maybe win the studio some awards). Also, from the jump, the show uses some hilarious musical antics to cut through tension – like when Paul Bettany‘s Vision starts singing “Yakety Yak,” the famous rock n’ roll song released by The Coasters in 1959.
Theme and Variations: Wa-WandaVision
WandaVision‘s musical composition and writing team was given an overarching goal: present an overview of the iconic shows of the era. Anderson-Lopez and Lopez told ABC7 that they created six or seven unique theme songs for WandaVision. Although each theme reflects the change to environment as the couple time-travels through the sitcom world, there is also a common thread linking each of the episode’s theme songs “WandaVision.”
In jazz composition and classical music, the ability to turn a simple musical phrase into creative variations is commonplace, and in music theory, this practice is known as “theme and variations.” Now, this piece of theory is important to the sound of the WandaVision Original Soundtrack, so Making Music Mag defines “theme and variations” as:
A musical form in which after the first statement of a theme, modifications or elaborations of it occur with each subsequent statement of that theme. In those subsequent statements, certain elements of the theme are retained, while others are altered. Ordinarily, enough are retained in order for the listener to be able to perceive the relationship of the modified statements to the original.
“That’s the Easter egg to look for in every single arrangement through the decades,” said Anderson-Lopez in the ABC7 interview. “You can look for that and the reason it’s ‘WandaVision’ is because it gives you a little going, like, ‘What’s up? What’s that?'”
The first two episodes primarily referenced the 1950s and ’60s, but Anderson-Lopez and Lopez told Indie Wire that the project is always intended to juxtapose the bright and cheery with the creepy to evoke an air of darkness. The duo explains they want the audience to feel that paranoia, saying that, “We put a tritone in the main theme which is [considered] the devil’s interval, and it might feel creepy, sometimes dreamy.”
WandaVision Original Soundtrack release dates follow:
Episode 4 soundtrack release date: 2/5
Episode 5 soundtrack release date: 2/12
Episode 6 soundtrack release date: 2/19
Episode 7 soundtrack release date: 2/26
Episode 8 soundtrack release date: 3/5
Episode 9 soundtrack release date: 3/12
The WandaVision Original Soundtrack album producers are Kevin Feige, Matt Shakman, and Dave Jordan. Walt Disney Records is releasing the WandaVision soundtracks the week after each episode of the series airs. So far, the soundtrack for Episodes 1 and 2 have been released, with the soundtrack for Episode 3 being released tomorrow, January 29th, 2021. (You can listen to Episodes 1 and 2 here.)
You can now watch the first three episodes of WandaVision exclusively on Disney+, and starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Paul Bettany as Vision, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, Kathryn Hahn as Agnes, and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau. Will you be tuning in tomorrow for Episode 4? Will Wanda and Vision’s wedding song remain the same, or will it also change as they move through the ages?