Have you heard? F1 has a new theme song, written by Hollywood composer Brian Tyler, whose resume has several Fast and The Furious and Marvel movies on it, which means he means business.
On first listen it’s a very superhero type of composition – loads of rise and fall with dramatic, orchestral overtones. There’s an odd drum beat that cuts in and out every so often that makes it feel a tiny bit dated, and if anything, to differentiate this from, say, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which Tyler also produced. In snippets over highlights, this will work perfectly; however, if this was an opening theme for a regular F1 TV show, it would be a bit over the top for the product it actually represents.
It has a certain feel to it though, like it’s out of time and not part of the era its been composed for. It’s almost missing a guitar riff in there somewhere, of a funky saxophone solo. It’s very…1980s.
This new F1 theme feels like an intro to an ’80s TV show. People of a certain age remember shows for their theme tunes more than anything else and it’s that certain type of memory that Tyler has started to build with F1. Imagine a generation that knows what’s about to happen when that V6 hybrid engine zooms by and the orchestra fire up; drama and excitement, combat and glory.
Taking that into consideration, I wondered just how retro this theme was. Taking some rudimentary video editing software, I took the F1 anthem and placed it over the opening title sequences of a couple of randomly picked shows and, well, see for yourself…
The overlay works so well, there are moments in these videos where you kind of forget that you’re listening to a modern day sports composition and you’re actually watching the original openings of Airwolf and Magnum PI. It fits nearly seamlessly.
Taking another classic from the 1990s and the result is almost identical. What has Brian Tyler achieved here?
Well, what he has done is try to tap into that part of the mind that associates a certain piece of music with a certain period in someone’s life. F1 is an important piece of some people’s lives, so changing something as inconsequential as the music that accompanies a sport they love will be met with derision by some. But, if this music is kept, it will inspire another generation and be integral in their love of the sport, something which it needs to survive long-term.