I was pretty excited about downloading this album: since the first time I played MW2 I was struck by the cinematic quality of the score, and so regularly checked to see if it was available for purchase. This month it was finally released, and I downloaded it eagerly.
First the good. The opening titles are helmed by movie composing heavy weight Hans Zimmer ("Gladiator", "The Rock" etc), whilst the rest of the album is composed by Zimmer's protege, Lorne Balfe, meaning that the whole score has strong cinematic leanings. Balfe (like that other Zimmerite, Steve Jablonsky who composed the scores for the recent "Transformers" films) sticks closely to his masters style so what we're left with are strong motifs, beautiful strings sections and thundering bursts of militaristic urgency. Classic scenes from the game are brought right back to memory in tracks like "Derail" (the theme to taking the oil rig in "The Only Easy Day... was Yesterday") and "Safeguard" (the snowmobile escape). Other stand out tracks are "Retreat and Reveille", "Code of Conduct" and the absolutely beautiful "Coup de Grace" (the soundtrack to "Loose Ends" where Ghost and Roach make it back to the chopper before THAT plot twist). This finale is really the thematic heart of the score, and would not be out of place in a blockbuster like "Gladiator".
However, there is also a lot of filler. The above named tracks are rather bunched in the 2nd half of the album, with the earlier numbers often being rather lack lustre. What's more, the theme music for the "Takedown" mission in Rio (all strings and Brazilian drums) is disappointingly absent - for me this was one of the musical high points of the game, so it's a real shame it's been omitted whilst lesser tracks have made it through.
As such it's a mixed bag, with some worthwhile numbers alongside some instantly forgettable ones. Perhaps the best solution is to download the hits, of which there are certainly a few.