“It keeps you on your guard and makes you not know what to expect next,” declares composer Christopher Lennertz about how his ambitious score for the second season of Amazon’s action blockbuster “The Boys” subverts expectations, just like the show itself. “That’s what ‘The Boys’ is all about. It’s taking 25, 30 years of superhero tropes, stereotypes and genre sensibilities, and it’s always looking to say ‘here’s where you’re going to go next, but no, we’re going to go this way,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Lennertz above.
In “The Boys,” real-life superheroes are revered as celebrity gods, keeping the unwashed masses safe as they abuse their unlimited powers behind the scenes. It’s a subversive and wickedly satirical take on corporate America’s obsession with image, wealth and power, and a highly entertaining cautionary tale about celebrity worship, materialism, fame and greed exploring what happens when these heroes go rogue and abuse their powers. Writer/director Eric Kripke developed the series for the screen, based on the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Its large ensemble includes stars Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Chace Crawford and Erin Moriarty, with Aya Cash joining the show for season 2.
The show’s sophomore season was a huge hit with fans and critics, scoring an impressive 97% at Rotten Tomatoes and more than doubling its audience to become Amazon’s most successful series. With the core of the show focusing on the violent acrimony between the powerful “supes” and “the Boys,” the misfit band of vigilantes hell-bent on destroying them, season 2 was driven in large part by its female characters, with the introduction of a new “supe,” the charismatic, sarcastic and terrifying Stormfront (Cash), who we ultimately learn is an immortal Nazi.
Propulsive electronic and rock melodies appear prominently on Lennertz’s season 2 score, alongside a number of tracks that feature a number of stirring percussion and string motifs. But what is most compelling about his latest work is how those melodies are altered or warped in service of the show’s satirical depiction of these unscrupulous superheros and the corrupt corporate infrastructure that has unleashed them.
“When we think this is where it’s going to go next, we’ll try to go somewhere else,” the Emmy-nominated composer says. “We’re going to lull you in with the nice guitars and strings,” Lennertz explains. “But then, they start to go a little sour,” he says, adding that showrunner Kripke likes to use the word “curdle” when describing this technique. “Whenever we slowly change the pitch on an instrument or the whole orchestra sometimes, he’ll say, ‘on no, here’s where it should curdle,’ and what he means by that is, something’s going on internally with the character that requires us to feel like we’re in their head and shit is starting to spiral out of control.”
Lennertz also wrote a huge “Celine Dion, Oscar”-inspired “power ballad” for the season premiere called “Never Truly Vanish,” with sweeping vocals performed by Moriarty as her character Starlight, but which feature intentionally farcical and over-the-top lyrics. Lennertz admits that it was a joy to bring to life. “It was amazing for me to be able to stretch as obviously it is different from the rest of the music on ‘The Boys,’ and I’m super grateful to Eric for trusting me to swing for a completely different fence, so I swung and I swung hard! While its very musically different from ‘The Boys,’ it’s exactly the kind of humor that we like to do.”
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