It seems apt that for the latest instalment of a franchise based on metal objects hitting other metal objects that the soundtrack reads like a who's who of Alt-Rock/Metal acts. The third album for the Transformers series continues in the tradition of the first three with Linkin Park, Goo Goo Dolls, and Taking Back Sunday being just a few of the acts to feature time and again, it's just a shame that as the films have lost the plot the music has too.
The lead single for the movie is the new single by arguably the most popular and successful band on the record, Linkin Park who carries on their run of producing theme tunes for the films. 'Iridescent' like many newer numbers by the band relies heavily on a softer electronic approach and is fronted by the whiny vocals of Chester Bennington. Lyrically the song is repetitive: "do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope, but failures all you've known" and while it could be considered a little too downbeat for the main theme it does a good job at building the atmosphere.
With this soundtrack the producers, amongst them the mighty Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) and director Michael Bay, have chosen songs which reflect the 'hero' nature of the film and are lyrically all about trials and tribulations, the overcoming of problems etc. Without listening to the songs titles like 'Head Above Water' and 'Get Thru This' reflect the content, but you can't help but feel they got a little hung up on context and didn't listen to the songs, many of which are slow and seem to flounder in self-pity, few tracks on the record have the right pace for an action film. 'Set The World On Fire' by newcomers Black Veil Brides is full of riffs and thrash metal leanings that would sound great in conjunction with all those slow-motion tracking shots Bay relies on, but this sort of unity is rare with 'Monster' by Paramore being one of the only other tracks to get it right. Though only four of the songs here actually feature in the film adding the tracks to a soundtrack album requires some sort of symmetry between the two things and many of these tracks simply don't have that.
While the album might not stand-up as a soundtrack it works well in its own right as a compilation album of the Alternative Rock music scene putting older and more obscure acts like Beatstakes and Staind with Paramore and Art Of Dying. This is far from perfect and catastrophically fails at what it tries to do, but if you're a song fan rather than a band fan you will find some tracks to love here.