Cobra Kai (Season 3)

Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson

" Cobra adds the eagle to the Kai, it's becoming Karate Kid big now "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the deluxe edition

The thrill of Cobra Kai is just getting bigger. Like any good series, things have to become bigger and better with each season. And Cobra Kai is surely taking it up a notch in season 3, from Japan Okinawa right to an unprecedented union between the 2 houses. But thank god it doesn't stop there, because also Birenberg and Robinson are taking it to the next level because for the first time Cobra Kai is matching the furious frenzy of Bill Conti's music. And needless to say, we are enjoying every minute of it. It all starts with the sound that pretty much stands for this season, hard rock. This time it's unveiling Conti's Japanese theme mixed with the main theme of Birenberg / Robinson in the opening track. But another part of where this musical season is going to is unraveled softly in "Work Together", namely choir. Yes here it's soft but be ready for more furious encounters later on. Like "Chop Shop" which is cool as hell. the brief trip to Okinawa is a wonderful trip to memory lane for Karate Kid fans, and it has some of the best musical moments too. Or unveiling the ethnic Conti in Birenberg / Robinson ("Return to Okinawa" and "Crane Technique") or bringing forth the most ferocious minutes of the album in "Secrets of Miyagi-Do", a tour de force where the music suddenly elevates itself to the biggest orchestral music of all, with percussion and riveting flute work representing the Miyago Do kill (so to speak). Again I love it when composers show the difference musically to an audience, because these are karate kid masters at work, and the music couldn't have sounded any heavier than it does here.

Returning elements are naturally another reason why we can connect to a series so easily. Either the dark page in Sam's fight with Tory (returning to the 2nd season in "Snap" and "Must Not Lose to Fear"), Daniel's theme in "Two-Time Champion" or Johnny's own laid-back version in "I'm a Sensei ". And naturally the main theme can not stay hidden, repeated again endlessly throughout the series but always in a different form. Especially surrounded by cool 80's music in "The Good, the Bad, and the Badass". But luckily all things need to collide to something, an explosion, a climax. And musically both composers pull out all the stops. "Carol of the Cobras" is the Christmas fight at Daniel's home, covering a hard rocking version of Carol of the Bells intermixed with the main theme. We come to the realization that there's another theme we didn't mention namely the Cobra Kai dojo theme (established at the end of season 2 in the fight on school grounds, now reappearing in "The Call of the Cobra" but with choir. And the birth of that same Cobra Kai dojo theme when we see the birth of Cobra Kai through a young John Kreese in "Duel of the Snakes". Mind blowing stuff.

Phil Collins' cover version of In the Air Tonight by The Protomen isn't on this album, not like Cruel Summer was on the 2nd album. But overall, I discovered a lot of the musical highlights that truly captivated me while watching season 3 on Netflix. The series is expanding and the music is taking it to a whole other level as well. Themes are now becoming more frequently used, and you need to focus and pay attention to spot all of them. Simply put, Cobra adds the eagle to the Kai, it's becoming Karate Kid big now, and I'm fully enjoying the ride these 2 sensei's are taking us on. On to Season 4 and 5. I simply can not wait.

Track Listing

1. Miyagi Metal * (2.15)
2. Come Back to Us (1.39)
3. Work Together (1.48)
4. Addition by Subtraction (2.32)
5. Chop Shop (2.02) Excellent track
6. Return to Okinawa (03:19)
7. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dojos (1.34)
8. Look at Me (1.29)
9. Live or Die, Man (1.41)
10. Crane Technique * (3.02)
11. Web MD (1.09)
12. Secrets of Miyagi-Do (2.56) Excellent track
13. Be a Better Person (1.28)
14. Snake in the Grass (2.05)
15. The Cobra Effect (2.33)
16. Snap (1.46)
17. Can't Run Away from Your Problems (1.46)
18. Forming a Team (1.37)
19. Two-Time Champion (1.31)
20. Dark Hawk (1.40)
21. I'm a Sensei (1.57)
22. Nightmare (1.54)
23. We Deserve the Chance (2.44)
24. Dream Come True (0.38)
25. The Good, the Bad, and the Badass (1.57) Excellent track
26. Start Over (1.29)
27. The Right Path (3.00)
28. Dojo from Hell (1.50)
29. Carol of the Cobras (2.17)
30. Must Not Lose to Fear (1.45)
31. The Call of the Cobra (2.12) Excellent track
32. Snake Bitten (2.19)
33. Duel of the Snakes (2.55) Excellent track
34. Ouroboros (4.49)
35. Challenger (3.09)

CD 2: 33.30
Bonus Tracks
1. Duel of the Snakes [Mega-Edit] [bonus track] (10.00)
2. Out of Town * (0.44)
3. Clarence [bonus track] (1.40)
4. Make Things Right [bonus track] (0.35)
5. Go Get It [bonus track] (0.59)
6. Ghost of the Past [bonus track] (1.11)
7. Learn to Strike First [bonus track] (1.08)
8. I Forgive You * (1.58)
9. Hey Johnny [bonus track] (1.00)
10. Johnny’s Photos [bonus track] (0.29)
11. Cobra Kai Material [bonus track] (1.28)
12. You Need Help [bonus track] (1.37)
13. Nasty Nephews [bonus track] (0.34)
14. I’m Scared [bonus track] (1.35)
15. Caught [bonus track] (1.02)
16. Prisoners [bonus track] (2.57)
17. Demetri’s Speech [bonus track] (0.59)
18. Fight’s Over [bonus track] (1.06)
19. Must Follow Passion [bonus track] (2.00)
20. The Nature, the Tradition [bonus track] (0.28)

* include score composed by Bill Conti for the motion picture The Karate Kid (1984)
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Released by

La-La Land Records LLLCD1553 (deluxe edition 2021)