Apollo 13 – music by James Horner, various artists

Apollo 13 soundtrack I was bound to like this soundtrack, especially since the movie in question was my favorite of 1995. I’m sure no one needs a brief note explaining what the movie was about, so we’ll get right to the music and the soundtrack. My biggest complaint with the soundtrack is not the movie soundbytes, but the fact that they’re occasionally mixed in with the music. There are some really good contemporary tunes (I would’ve gladly done without Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonkin'” but I loved the Mavericks’ rendition of “Blue Moon”, and then there’s The Who and Hendrix – quite an eclectic mix!), and the score is one of Horner’s best in a long time, though he is again guilty of borrowing from him previous works (I could swear I remember some of this music from the movie Glory). And it was a 3 out of 4truly inspired touch to have Annie Lennox add some vocals to the end credits’ more modern synthesized passages. Despite the intrusion of the soundbytes on the music, the scenes themselves couldn’t have been better chosen, and of course one of them features that immortal historical moment, “Houston, we have a problem.”

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  1. Main Title (2:28)
  2. One Small Step (dialogue – 0:43)
  3. Night Train (James Brown – 3:26)
  4. Groovin’ (Young Rascals – 2:26)
  5. Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane – 2:55)
  6. I Can See For Miles (The Who – 4:09)
  7. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix – 2:46)
  8. Launch Control (dialogue – 0:32)
  9. All Systems Go – The Launch (10:03)
  10. Welcome to Apollo 13 (dialogue – 0:26)
  11. Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum – 3:51)
  12. House Cleaning / Houston, We Have A Problem (dialogue – 0:54)
  13. Master Alarm (3:36)
  14. What’s Going On? (dialogue – 0:51)
  15. Into the LEM (4:18)
  16. Out of Time (dialogue – 0:34)
  17. Darkside of the Moon (4:49)
  18. Failure Is Not An Option (dialogue – 0:23)
  19. Honky Tonkin’ (Hank Williams – 2:43)
  20. Blue Moon (The Mavericks – 4:01)
  21. Waiting for a Disaster / A Privilege (dialogue – 0:29)
  22. Re-Entry & Splashdown (8:53)
  23. End Titles (7:01)

Released by: MCA
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 72:19

Star Trek: Voyager – Caretaker

Star Trek: Voyager soundtrackIf listening to this disc does nothing else for you, it will give you some clue as to just how much of the music the producers of Star Trek mix down – or out altogether – so we can still hear their precious sound effects. Of course, this disc consists of three versions of Jerry Goldsmith’s opening theme music for Voyager and the score for the premiere episode by veteran Next Generation/Deep Space Nine composer Jay Chattaway. The Goldsmith piece’s praises have been sung many times, by no less than the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, who awarded Goldsmith the best opening theme Emmy in 1995 for his opus.

Chattaway, on the other hand, has some serious limitations as an arranger. His music may in fact be fine…but unless he scores it for an orchestral complement bigger and more diverse than a military marching band, it’s all for nought. He spreads the music out thinly among a very few instruments, mainly brass, and it grates on the nerves. Dennis McCarthy can arrange for an orchestra just fine. Ron Jones – who was dismissed in Next Generation’s fourth season for consistently exceeding the show’s music budget – always seemed to be trying to arrange for the London Symphony Orchestra, resulting in a strained sound that wanted to be bigger at times. But Chattaway seriously needs to thicken his sound.

Where Chattaway does excel, however, is his use of exotic and electronic instrumentation and percussion. Cases in point on this CD: “70,000 Light Years From Home” and “Not Enough Time”. For other examples, I recommend you find the soundtrack from the 1992 PBS Space Age documentary series. It’s fully electronic Chattaway at full blast. If you like Caretaker, you’ll probably like Space Age. And if you like banjo music, this is the Star Trek soundtrack for you, buddy! Yee-haw! Two and a half minutes of solid solo banjo, 3 out of 4straight from the Caretaker himself! (Actually from guitarist George Doering, who played electric guitar on the rock version of the DS9 theme. Get down, George, make that banjo scream! He’s a regular Jimi Hendrix of Tin Pan Alley!) The Voyager soundtrack disc is actually pretty good. Goldsmith’s theme alone will probably sell this album more than anything. Sing with that banjo, George! You’re a star! Requests? “FREE BIRD!!!”

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  1. Star Trek: Voyager main title (1:45)
  2. Prologue (3:11)
  3. 70,000 Light Years From Home (3:22)
  4. Beamed To The Farm (4:18)
  5. Life Signs in the Barn (6:04)
  6. Paris Takes The Helm (2:36)
  7. Star Trek: Voyager short title (0:18)
  8. Escape from the Ocampa Underground (8:06)
  9. Not Enough Time (2:02)
  10. The Battle for the Array (6:55)
  11. Set Course For Home (3:31)
  12. Star Trek: Voyager end credit (1:16)
  13. The Caretaker’s Hoedown (2:35)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 44:39

Babylon 5 – music by Christopher Franke

Babylon 5 soundtrackIt took me a long time to get used to the style of music Babylon 5 emlpoys, having been spoiled into expecting lush orchestral scores by years of Star Wars and Star Trek, but it finally grew on me around six or seven episodes into the series. This album’s vaguely titled suites of themes and episodic scores leap back and forth from episode to episode with no warning, and that too took some getting used to. Highlights include the themes from the first two seasons, snippets of the scores from the episodes Soul Hunter, And the Sky Full of Stars, Chrysalis, and a suite of music from the first half 3 out of 4of the second season. If there’s one problem with the early Babylon 5 music, it is that it sometimes seems to be threatening to turn into dance music at any second with its vigorous, percussive rhythms. The music from the show’s later episodes interested me much more.

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  1. Soul Hunter intro, season 1 theme, Kosh speaks (3:56)
  2. Mind War (4:47)
  3. Mind War continued, Soul Hunter ship snare (5:49)
  4. Mind War: Talia and Jason (3:48)
    Mind War
  5. And The Sky Full of Stars: The Requiem for the Line (3:39)
  6. Survivors (2:37)
    Parliament of Dreams
  7. Survivors (6:14)
  8. The Quality of Mercy (6:04)
  9. Mind War, Survivors (5:45)
    The Geometry of Shadows
  10. Season 2 theme, Signs and Portents, GROPOS (7:46)
  11. A Distant Star, The Coming of Shadows, Soul Mates, Chrysalis (3:29)
  12. Chrysalis (4:05)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 58:03