Every Star Wars film begins the same and as such, every Star Wars soundtrack begins the same. But beyond that, master score composer John Williams' score for The Force Awakens provides a mostly new experience. Williams needs little introduction, as the genius behind such amazing scores as E.T., Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and all previous Star Wars films (excluding the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars).
There is a certain quality that most John Williams scores have and The Force Awakens is no exception. From start to finish, it feels like John Williams and often times reminds you of his past work. The most memorable new melody is "Rey's Theme," which to me sounds like a mix of Williams' melodies from Home Alone and the third Harry Potter film. It's still great, but just feels like it's born out of past projects and not something fresh and new for the Star Wars universe.
Those looking for favorite and familiar themes from the Star Wars films will find several of them sparingly scattered throughout the score. One of my favorite past themes on the soundtrack is in "Han and Leia," which obviously uses "Princess Leia's Theme." The "Galactic Empire Theme" is gently touched on for a few seconds, but a new theme for the First Order has been written to take its place. The most used melody from the saga is "The Force Theme," which still doesn't appear as often as you might expect it to in a film called The Force Awakens.
Like the previous Star Wars soundtracks, The Force Awakens allows you to hear details in the music that you likely miss when dialogue, sound effects and visuals are present to distract you. There's no better way to get the full listening experience than with this release and it's classic Williams from the first second of the "Star Wars Theme" to the last note of the end credits.