Bruce Faulconer's score

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Edited 1 year, 3 months ago

Poll: Bruce Faulconer's score (119 votes)

It's mondo cool. 61%
It's mondo uncool. 15%
That's right boys. 24%

WARNING: There be spoiler balls below, if you're watching the show along with Jeff and Dan.

I was a young lad when I started watching Dragon Ball Z on Toonami, and like most kids back then I was waaaay into Bruce Faulconer's score. But now, I can't stand it (when used as BGM). No disrespect to Mr Faulconer, I just think the music is a product of it's time that hasn't aged particularly well. But a lot of people still seem to really fucking love his music, and some believe Super and Kai would be improved with its inclusion. Which is fine, but... am I in the minority here? Nothing wrong if I am, just curious is all.

For reference:

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#1 Posted by nonused (324 posts) -

I'm firmly in camp Faulconer. I do agree that it's a product of its time, and I also think people should just watch DB with whatever music they like. But, for me, growing up with this music almost makes it inseparable from the series as I know it. Same with the whole dub vs. sub thing; I gotta get me my Schemmel.

But, from a more...objective standpoint, I do feel the Faulconer score fits the overall tone of DBZ much better than the original, Kikuchi score. I'm careful to say DBZ and not DB, 'cause Kikuchi is perfect for DB. But, when they started straying from traditional martial arts and mysticism, and into a more weird, sci-fi numbers game, it felt a bit out of place. But the Faulconer music gets it. It's erratic, at times comic, chilling, and in-your-face; it's over-compressed butt rock with some really unorthodox composition; it parallels the vibe of the show perfectly, in my opinion.

Yamamoto's Kai score is also very good, but just a bit bland for me. I think it fits DBZ's tone much better than Kikuchi's, but it just feels like it's...there. It very rarely added to the scene whenever I watched with it.

I'll just put down a couple of comparisons for the people to peruse. Definitely one of my favorite parts, the order is OG Kikuchi, Kai Faulconer, and Kai Yamamoto:

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#2 Edited by Sanj (3255 posts) -

I have to admit that Goku going SS with Faulconer's music was my favourite scene during the original run, and it hits that nostalgia spot for sure. In certain instances, I'm pretty OK with Faulconer's music. It's mostly when the music just becomes...synthy background noise. There are no quiet moments, it just keeps going, with weird beeps and other instrumental sounds. Weirdly, I severely disliked Kikuchi's score when I was younger, but now I dig it. I don't love it, but I like it more than Faulconer's in general, and I think a lot of it has to do with placement. I get you're reasoning why you feel Faulconer's score fits, but I guess this boils down to pure taste because I can't say I agree with you.


Again, you may feel differently, but here's an example where I felt Faulconer's music didn't really benefit the scene. It just feels like a more important moment with Sumitomo's music


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#3 Posted by nonused (324 posts) -

Oh, I definitely agree with you. I think allowing for more quiet moments could've added to the intensity/drama of a scene in the original run, but I enjoyed the eerie tone that the tracks could sometimes set for those moments. And, yeah, it's absolutely all taste.

I should clarify, though, I love Sumitomo's score. His work in Super is awesome; it feels like it combines the intensity of the Faulconer score with some actual, solid production and focus on melody/composition (similar to Yamamoto). In the scene you listed above, I actually really liked the music in both (although, I thought they were at their strongest in opposite directions; Sumimoto in the beginning and Faulconer at the end).

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#4 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4447 posts) -

Some of the original score is absolutely what made moments in the show so damn amazing, and feel eventful.

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#5 Posted by LiquidPrince (17073 posts) -

I have massive nostalgia for the Falcouner music, but I don't like it in the anime anymore. Nothing actually beats the original DBZ score. Gohan's SS2 transformation in any other format has not been as impactful as it was in the original Japanese. That's including Kai.

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#6 Posted by doctordonkey (1843 posts) -

Over the course of the show it definitely gets repetitive, and it doesn't fit some scenes, but there are many moments where his score is absolutely iconic. The SSJ3 transformation is nothing without that signature track.

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#7 Posted by wchigo (900 posts) -

@liquidprince: Agree 110% on that. I still go and watch the original DBZ clip of SSJ2 Gohan a few times every month and still get pumped up each time.

There is stuff that I miss about the original too, like the instrumental version of Head-Cha-La that plays at the beginning of each episode during the recap. I also really like that song as the OP, as well as "We Got Power", and while I'm coming around on Dragon Soul it still lacks a certain something something compared to those, or even DBGT's OP.

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#8 Posted by BigBoss1911 (2936 posts) -

I grew up watching it on Toonami, so I can't watch DBZ without falconers score.

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#9 Posted by JoRoNimo (350 posts) -

What I've heard from Kai sounds good, but I still go back and watch Gohan's SS2 transformation with Faulconer's music. I even bought the track from Amazon. Something about the build up just hypes me up.

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#10 Edited by Capum15 (6010 posts) -

I enjoy Faulconer's soundtrack to the series quite a bit, though I've lost a lot of my memory on it, but whenever I hear a song I enjoy it. My favorite is easily Vegeta's...either Super Saiyan theme or Final Flash song, or maybe they're the same? Either way it has an incredibly good piano bit, and TeamFourStar did an amazing remix of it for Abridged.

I wish Kai had it, though swap the intro for Cha-La and I'd be golden.

Edit: I will say, Kai has a fucking fantastic musical cue regarding "Only A Chilling Elegy", which is Frieza's Kai theme, and it is so good. Also that song is just great.

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#11 Posted by Milkman (19298 posts) -

I tend to agree that Faulconer's score is more of a product of its time. I still like it and there are definitely some moments that are better with the original soundtrack but I think the updated soundtrack with Kai is the right call.

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#12 Posted by Justin258 (15676 posts) -

As a kid, I watched Dragonball Z on Toonami, like I imagine most of the posters on this forum did, but I have no nostalgia for the Faulconer score. When I hear it in short bursts, it's fine and I can see how some parts of it might have been used well, but overall it is at best "meh" and too often it's really bad even when taken in the context of early 2000's Dragonball Z.

That Sumitomo score in DBZ The Final Chapters is, for the most part, not good at all. There's some things about it that I think are OK, but most of the time I just wished they would have re-used the original soundtrack again. Fortunately, the first two-thirds of DBZ Kai re-used the Kikuchi score and I liked that, although I wish they would have kept the original opening and closing songs as well as the original halfway point animation of Gohan sticking his head out from under Goku's arm.

Overall, though, the vast majority of Dragonball Z music has been weak, from all of the composers that have participated in it. There are a handful of "great moments", but even contemporary Yu Yu Hakusho had better music choices.

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#13 Posted by OurSin_360 (6186 posts) -

Tbh honest its not great. Now that i think about it i really only watched the original oceans dub (up till Ginyu arc) and read the manga till the end. So i dont remember much of this music at all, i think the original japanese is better.

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#14 Posted by afabs515 (2005 posts) -

I grew up watching it on Toonami, so I can't watch DBZ without falconers score.

Same here. The brass instruments in the Japanese score just don't sound right to me because I grew up listening to the "hardcore" Faulconer track. I recently watched through all of DBZ with a friend who had never seen it before, and he had no problem with the Japanese soundtrack, but I just couldn't handle it haha.

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#15 Posted by inevpatoria (7451 posts) -

Certain scenes feel tailor-made for the Falconer score. Like, basically Vegeta's Final Flash.

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#16 Posted by FLStyle (6678 posts) -

Yeah "Bruce Faulconer" because he did all the music in DBZ himself *cough* Scott Morgan, Julius Dobos, and Mike Smith *cough*

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#17 Edited by TechnoSyndrome (1614 posts) -

It's repetitive noise that doesn't remotely fit the wuxia meets sci-fi tone of the show, which FUNimation heavily downplayed in their dub of the show in favor of HARDCORE SCI-FI EPIC FIGHTING. The score never shuts up, and decent themes are frequently ruined because they would be scored to picture and songs would take a sudden, harsh turn because some other character appears on screen. The Mystic Gohan theme is a good example, at around the 30 second mark things just go to shit because Majin Boo takes focus so we better transition to wacky circus music.

Faulconer doesn't come close to the original orchestrated score, whether it's the normal scene to scene score, stuff for specific moments like the Spirit Bomb track, or one-off insert songs like Mind Power... Ki which plays during a flashback to Trunks' future.

There's a reason Faulconer went on to do absolutely nothing you've heard of. That all being said I think if you're watching DBZ dubbed you should watch it with the English music, because the original Japanese score is completely at odds with the hardcore tone FUNimation went with for the English version. Ideally you'd just stick to Kai if you want to watch the dub.

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#18 Posted by Redhotchilimist (2968 posts) -

Faulconer's score sounds so weird. Mondo uncool for sure. Possibly tubular lame, too.

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#19 Posted by LiquidPrince (17073 posts) -

@nonused: It's such a massive shame that the Kai version of Goku's transformation is easily the absolute weakest in terms of music and that is the way Jeff and Dan are going to see it.

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#20 Edited by JohnyMyko (1893 posts) -

I think most of the answers will be based on nostalgia. Most people grew up with the Falconer score so they'll prefer that one no matter what, while the ones who grew up with the original will prefer the original.

Personally, I think Falconer's score is average at best and nowhere near as good as the original score since it sounds more "edgy" and stuck in a particular time while the original score has more eastern touches, with melodies and instruments that compliments the inspirations on martial arts and asian folklore. Falconer's score works well for a couple of scenes but that's it, the rest sounds a bit over the top and it also has this weird feel that you're listening to a MIDI tune instead of actual instruments like in the original. Meanwhile the original score sounds good overall and I think the brass instruments are part of Dragon Ball's soundscape just as much as the other iconic sounds from the character's actions.

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