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Fast and Furious by Brian Tyler

Fast and Furious

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 Fast and Furious (Soundtrack) by Brian Tyler
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Fast and Furious (Soundtrack) by Brian Tyler

Fast and Furious
Composed by Brian Tyler
Varese Sarabande Records (2009)

Rating: 6/10

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“BRIAN TYLER's score for FAST AND FURIOUS is the most mature of the lot. It may not reach the symphonic heights of his other recent release, DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION, but it certainly helps to lift this franchise to a new place - musically, anyway.”

Slower and Serious-er
Review by Christopher Coleman

Those crazy kids and their suped up cars are at it again. FAST AND FURIOUS is the fourth film of the box-office-dominating-franchise. Director Justin Lin, who directed THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT is back, along with stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. It seems after three nitrous-laden films, there was still more high-speed-hi-jinx to bring to the big screen. Also returning to add his fuel to the fury is composer BRIAN TYLER. Tyler's score here is fraught with quick-tempoed, edgy, race/chase music again, but just as the storyline has matured some, the score also takes on more serious, dramatic ideas as well.

FAST AND FURIOUS, oddly enough is not a simple sequel, nor is it a prequel. It's actually a interquel, taking place between the events of the second (2 Fast 2 Furious) and third (Tokyo Drift) films. Many fans feel that this fourth episode returns the franchise to its roots; capitalizing on the elements that made the first film so successful. That belief is certainly evidenced by a record-setting, opening weekend box-office with over $70 million taken in. Regardless of the fandom and the money, critically-speaking, each successive Fast and Furious film received worse reviews than the one preceding it and such is the case here. FAST AND FURIOUS does bring back the most beloved characters of the series and certainly contains many of car-racing-and-chasing-thrills of its predecessors, but, at its heart, is a revenge tale. Unfortunately, the slightly-more-mature-storyline was comingled with slightly-less-mature-effects, reducing some of the key scenes, such as the tunnel races, to upscale video game footage. Perhaps its this unintended clash that has put the critics off. Still, with the advancing storyline centered around Diesel's character of Dominic, and being unaffected by the amount of effect shots or their final quality, BRIAN TYLER is given some new room to compose, giving FAST AND FURIOUS a distinguishing feel from the three before it.

I suppose the series had no choice but to evolve by its fourth installment; making the story a little more dramatic, taking itself a little more seriously. That very idea is reflected in Tyler's score. While Tokyo Drift was fueled by that BT-like-techno-vibe, FAST AND FURIOUS plays as though the included techo-elements are but the fringe of a much more serious, symphonic work. If you take even the quickest glance at the previous F and F scores you will quickly discern that the music was certainly "faster and furiouser" in the past...well suited to the quick-stepped-eye-candy its intended audience was looking for. Let me make it clear that BRIAN TYLER knows full-well how to enter the pulsating realms of house music or psytrance. Just have a listen to TOKYO DRIFT; however, Tyler, while delivering several doses of such full-throttled electronica for this fourth film, also slows things down further and more consistently than any of the films before. Thus, FAST AND FURIOUS has something to offer soundtrack listeners a different experience.

Composer Brian Tyler

"You have to get into a mindset that this is the greatest “fill-in-the-blank”-type of movie ever made, and treat it that way. Otherwise you're just going to blow it, and there can't be any phone-ins because your name is on it forever.."

Brian Tyler

Read the full interview with Brian Tyler

As it probably should be, our engines get started with the first three tracks being of that full-throttled type.  Yet, comparatively speaking, even within "Landtrain" "Fast and Furious" and "The Border" one can pick up on some restraint being exercised by Tyler. Things just don't get as electronically-frantic as they have in the past...and its a welcome, embraceable, change. For those looking for the audio-boost found in the previous films, then tracks such as "Dom Vs Brian" (7), "Accelerator" (11), and "Outta Sight" (14) are going to be your best bets. The previous FAST AND FURIOUS films had one or two mellow, musical moments, but this film slows things down much more often. BRIAN TYLER uses a simple guitar theme for the fallen, Letty and uses it surprisingly often. Introduced in "Letty" (4), it makes appearances in "Vaya Con Dios" (12), "Letty's Cell Phone" (17), "Memorial" (23) and in a wonderful arrangement in "Suite" (9). Adding to the "slower and the softer" side of things, introduced in "Amends" (6), the characters of Brian and Mia are given a love theme.  "Brian and Mia" (15) contains a fairly simple, but brighter performance of the theme and is heard one last time, much more strongly, in the concluding track, "Judgment" (25). Being a revenge film, Tyler is able to move the music into new territories. Things become noticeably dark and foreboding from tracks 16 through 21; displaying the composer's skills with waves of brooding, yet edgy electronica, guitar harmonics and processed samples. The old-skool, Fast and Furious music all but disappears until we reach "Vengeance" (22), "The Showdown" (24) and lastly, in the concluding moments of "Judgment." So the score ends how it began, with the iconic, high-energy flare most commonly associated with the franchise.

For the life of me, I don't know how they get so much music into these films. The amount of original score produced, plus all of the licensed music employed is dizzying. While the quality of the licensed music remains consistent (ie. the sad dregs of modern-day rap music), thankfully, the original score for the films has been allowed to evolve. BRIAN TYLER's score for FAST AND FURIOUS is the most mature of the lot. It may not reach the symphonic heights of his other recent release, DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION, but it certainly helps to lift this franchise to a new place - musically, anyway. Like EAGLE EYE layered with elements of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS TOKYO DRIFT, this electro-symphonic hybrid has more to offer than just pure beats per minute and aftermarket-sound-accessories. 

Rating: 6/10



Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Landtrain 6:25  ***
2 Fast and Furious 2:10  ***
3 The Border 3:21  ***
4 Letty 2:14  ***
5 The Tunnel 3:35  ***
6 Amends 2:47  ***
7 Dom VS Brian 6:52  ***
8 Hanging with Dom 2:29  ***
9 Suite 4:03  ****
10 Revenge 2:33  ***
11 Accelerator 2:05  ****
12 Vaya Con Dios 2:01  ***
13 In the Name of the Father 4:21  ***
14 Outta Sight 3:00  ***
15 Brian and Mia 3:18  ***
16 Tracer 2:05  ***
17 Letty's Cell Phone 3:44  ***
18 Real Drivers 2:30  ***
19 Fate 4:29  ***
20 The Exchange 4:15  **
21 No Goodbyes 1:23  **
22 Vengeance 2:57  ***
23 Memorial 1:42  ***
24 The Showdown 2:05  ***
25 Judgement 1:47  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 78 minutes  


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