Star Trek Beyond (Deluxe) – music by Michael Giacchino

Varese Sarabande’s handling of the soundtracks from the modern Star Trek movies has made me wise up: I didn’t even bother with Michael Giacchino’s score from Star Trek Beyond until the 2-CD Deluxe Edition was released. I’m just not in a position to fall for the double dip every time.

Sadly, the irony is that, while Beyond got the current iteration of Star Trek back “on message”, preaching the virtues of peace and compassion over the values of a violent, twisted being out for revenge, Giacchino’s third visit to the Trek well seems to be his least inspired of the three movies he’s scored to date.

That’s somewhat understandable: the after-the-fact heaping of criticism on the second movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, had to have a palpable effect on those involved in making it. (Ironically, Giacchino’s score from Into Darkness was one of the very, very few things I could find to enjoy about that otherwise lamentably derivative entry in the franchise.) It could be that his creative energies were sapped by the time he went to work on Beyond.

There are highlights, though. The appearances of Starbase Yorktown, a marvel of alternative-23rd-century Starfleet construction that would dwarf a 24th century Borg cube, are graced with a gorgeous fanfare, featuring a long melody line of the kind that seems like it went out of style after John Williams re-educated everyone about uses of the leitmotif. There are some nice cues covering the series of vignettes following the surviving members of the Enterprise crew trying to simply survive on the surface of the planet over which their ship was brought down, though those tend toward brevity.

The action scenes involving Krall’s attack on the Enterprise are frenetic and noisy, probably with the idea that they’d be competing with frenetic and noisy sound effects for dominance in the movie’s audio mix. As a listening experience with no accompanying visuals, they’re a bit much – compare to Giacchino’s more gracefully Williams-esque action scenes from Rogue One for an exercise in contrast.

Though I know some uppity Star Trek fans may recoil against the thought of including a track that could be even remotely considered R&B on their precious soundtrack albums – one can still hear the howls of protest over “Ooby Dooby” and “Magic Carpet Ride” 20 years after Star Trek: First Contact – I’m a bit disappointed to find that, even with a second disc worth of material and more breathing room – Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer” single wasn’t included here. I know there’s licensing, label politics, and yes, that whole blow-up among fans about whether the singer had any business dipping her toe into the world of Star Trek, a pointless
2 out of 4kerfuffle that, let’s face it, exposed some shocking racism among fans of a franchise that rails against racism at every turn. The song still belonged here, and I was disappointed to see it omitted.

At the time of this writing, there’s still no solid word on whether or not there will be a fourth movie with this cast, or indeed a fourth movie with Giacchino at the podium. In that context, it’s a bit of a bummer that he may well be leaving the Star Trek franchise on the weakest note that he had yet provided for it.

Order this CD

    Disc 1

  1. Logo And Prosper (1:47)
  2. Trick Or Treaty (:45)
  3. We Come In Pieces (1:17)
  4. Thank Your Lucky Star Date (2:14)
  5. Night On The Yorktown (5:36)
  6. To Thine Own Death Be True (3:32)
  7. We Make A Good Team (:22)
  8. The Dance Of The Nebula (2:22)
  9. A Swarm Reception (2:30)
  10. Krall Hell Breaks Loose (3:04)
  11. The Evacuation Variations (2:47)
  12. Hitting The Saucer A Little Hard (6:10)
  13. Scotland’s Worst Cliffhanger (:23)
  14. A Hive And Kicking (3:30)
  15. Port Of Krall (:52)
  16. Jaylah Damage (2:50)
  17. No Enterprise For Guessing (:37)
  18. In Artifacts As In Life (1:51)
  19. She’s One Hell Of A Dish (1:26)
  20. Make No Escape About It (2:04)
  21. Eat My Thrusters (3:56)
  22. The Krall Of The Wild (2:10)
  23. Spock’s Vulcan Grip On Death (1:31)
  24. Captain On Ice (:42)

    Disc 2

  25. Franklin, My Dear (2:50)
  26. Transporting Good Time (3:43)
  27. Krall Work And No Play (:37)
  28. A Lesson in Vulcan Mineralogy (5:17)
  29. The Cost Of Abronath (2:35)
  30. MotorCycles Of Relief (3:18)
  31. Mocking Jaylah (3:27)
  32. Jaylah House Rock (3:18)
  33. Bright Lights Big Velocity (Part 1) (:57)
  34. Bright Lights Big Velocity (Part 2) (2:59)
  35. Spock Speaks Hive (3:10)
  36. Crash Decisions (3:16)
  37. Krall-y Krall-y Oxen Free (4:23)
  38. Shutdown Happens (4:35)
  39. The Root Of Krall Evil (1:31)
  40. Cater-Krall In Zero G (2:17)
  41. The Dreaded Rear Admiral (2:02)
  42. Par-tay For The Course (2:46)
  43. Space, The Final Frontier (2:42)
  44. Jaylah’s Theme (2:36)
  45. Yorktown Theme (4:32)
  46. Star Trek Main Theme* (3:44)
  47. Krall Things Being Equal (4:25)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: December 12, 2016
Disc one total running time: 54:42
Disc two total running time: 1:11:18

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage – Music from the 50th Anniversary Concert Tour

Star Trek: The Ultimate VoyageA 2-CD collection commemorating the touring concert experience paying homage to 50 years – give or take a few years off here and there – of Star Trek music, The Ultimate Voyage is basically a cover album for Trek fans. Every facet of the franchise is touched upon, with both the primary themes and individual episode scores from nearly every series and movie revisited. The only main themes not covered here are the ever-controversial choice of theme song for Enterprise, a series represented by only a single score cue from one of its final episodes, and the criminally underrated theme music from the animated series (a corner of Trek that is left completely by the wayside in this collection).

If there’s anything that holds this back from being a crowd-pleaser instead of merely a concert souvenir, it is, quite simply and sadly, the performances. For a professional studio recording, the number of fluffed notes is a little uncomfortably high. The fact that they made it into the finished product would seem to indicate that this was a rush job to get the discs pressed in time to be in the gift shop after every concert – one take and only one take.

Where the performances are on-the-money, they’re a wonderful representative cross-sample of Star Trek’s musical history, performed well and arranged nicely for live concerts. Some of the best bits are hidden in the pieces of individual episode scores: Jay Chattaway’s pennywhistle theme from The Inner Light, Ron Jones’ apocalyptic cliffhanger from The Best Of Both Worlds, the almost-patriotic-sounding swell 2 out of 4of hope under Kirk’s speech from The Omega Glory‘s “courage, the order of the day” scene, the aforementioned music from Archer’s address to the nascent Federation council from Enterprise…we’ve all heard the themes about thousand times by now. Hearing the episodic music in a concert setting is a nice change of pace.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1:30)
  2. Main Title from Star Trek: Generations (1:59)
  3. The Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (6:02)
  4. Klingon Battle from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (5:20)
  5. Ancient Combat / 2nd Kroykah from Star Trek (5:12)
  6. Ba’Ku Theme from Star Trek: Insurrection (2:53)
  7. Starship / Kirk’s Philosophy from Star Trek (1:28)
  8. Kirk Does It Again from Star Trek (3:48)
  9. Main Title from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (2:06)
  10. Ilia’s Theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (3:06)
  11. Revealed / Reaching Out from Star Trek: TNG (4:50)
  12. Courage / Saved Again from Star Trek: TNG (1:54)
  13. Main Title from Star Trek: Voyager (1:50)
  14. Main Title from Star Trek IV (2:41)
  15. Red Alert from Star Trek: First Contact / Captain Borg from Star Trek: TNG (3:15)
    Disc Two

  1. Opening from Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (4:07)
  2. Epilogue / End Titles from Star Trek II (7:33)
  3. First Contact from Star Trek: First Contact (2:45)
  4. Defiant Ending from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (3:12)
  5. I Can Live With It from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (2:09)
  6. The Inner Light from Star Trek: TNG (6:41)
  7. Set Course For Home from Star Trek: Voyager (2:03)
  8. Enterprising Young Men from Star Trek (2009) (2:41)
  9. The Captain from Star Trek: Voyager (2:43)
  10. End Credits Suite from Star Trek VI (4:18)
  11. Up Your Alley from Star Trek: Enterprise (3:33)
  12. Archer’s Speech from Star Trek: Enterprise (1:52)
  13. Overture from Star Trek: Generations (4:18)
  14. To Live Forever from Star Trek: Generations (2:47)
  15. Main Theme from Star Trek (3:44)

Released by: CineConcerts
Release date: 2016
Disc one total running time: 48:54
Disc two total running time: 54:26

Star Trek (Newly Expanded Edition) – music by Michael Giacchino

Star Trek (Newly Expanded Edition)Released to a combination of applause from Trek music completists and complaints of double-dipping from other observers, Varese Sarabande – not to be outdone by Film Score Monthly’s recent definitive editions of the music from Star Trek II and III – has now made the complete Michael Giacchino score from 2009’s Star Trek available as a swanky, limited-edition double-CD package (in, curiously, packaging normally used for two-disc Blu-Ray releases).

Is it worth going back to the well for every single note from the movie? Put simply and unequivocally: yes. Some of the best moments of the music from Star Trek were omitted from the single-CD soundtrack album that Varese issued at the time of the movie’s theatrical release. Those moments are restored in more or less chronological order here. I thought that both of the shuttlecraft rides to the Narada (Captain Robau’s and, later, Captain Pike’s) were awesomely menacing stuff, with enough harp to give the average John Williams score a run for its money, and those sequences can be found here. The thrilling orbital skydive to Nero’s drilling platform – a major action setpiece that was curiously left off of the original soundtrack album – is a piece of music likely to keep the fans happy.

Some of the best tracks, however, are those which musically signify Spock’s Vulcan heritage, frequently taking the form of a wistful solo ehru. These cues were mixed down in the movie, and left off of the original soundtrack altogether, and yet they’re some of the film’s best music, as well as one of the most interesting and memorable themes Giacchino has composed to date (and I’m counting his work on Alias, Lost, The Incredibles, Fringe and Ratatouille there too).

I’m going to go on the record as saying that I love Giacchino’s self-penned, punishingly punny track/cue titles, but they require a little bit of lateral thinking and a sense of humor: “Dad’s Route To School” (i.e. the “evicted” Kirk trudging through snow, uphill, both ways) and “Galaxy’s Worst Sushi Bar” (Captain Pike having a poor man’s Ceti eel shoved down his throat) are a couple of my favorite titles. The packaging, while it is indeed awkward to slot into a CD shelf, is gorgeous; the discs themselves are top-down renderings of the saucer sections of the Enterprise (disc one) and the ill-fated U.S.S. Kelvin (disc two). My one complaint is that Varese’s sales pitch made a big deal out of new liner notes by founding Starlog editor Kerry O’ Quinn, a man whose columns and writings in the heyday of (tragically now-defunct) Starlog Magazine are largely responsible for inspiring me to be here writing this now; it’s actually more like one page.

The Star Trek soundtrack is a much 4 out of 4more cohesive listen in this form than it was as the first release’s “edited highlights,” in some places making it very clear that Giacchino’s music wasn’t as uninteresting as some listeners found it from the single CD release. It’s just a pity that it wasn’t released in this form from the beginning – the real good stuff is, once again, relegated to the collectors’ market. Well worth seeking out, though at the time of this writing, the 3,000-copy print run of this edition was very close to being sold out.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Star Trek (2:28)
  2. Narada Boom (2:48)
  3. Hack To The Future (1:25)
  4. Nailin’ The Kelvin (2:09)
  5. Labor Of Love (2:44)
  6. Main Title (0:46)
  7. Head To Heart Conversation (1:10)
  8. One Proud Mother (1:37)
  9. Hella Bar Talk (1:56)
  10. The Flask At Hand (0:28)
  11. Welcome Back, Spock (1:09)
  12. Vulcan Gets A Good Drilling (1:30)
  13. Hangar Management (2:47)
  14. Enterprising Young Men (3:05)
  15. Flying Into A Trphlthdl (3:23)
  16. Nero Sighted (3:23)
  17. Matter? I Barely Know Her! (2:07)
  18. Jehosafats (3:02)
  19. Chutes And Matter (3:29)
  20. A Whole In My Hearth (0:56)
  21. I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Beam Up! (1:51)
  22. Spock Goes Spelunking (1:30)
  23. An Endangered Species (3:09)
  24. Galaxy’s Worst Sushi Bar (2:16)
  25. Mandatory Leave Of Absence (1:18)
  26. Dad’s Route To School (0:35)
  27. Frozen Dinner (1:30)
  28. You Snowin’ Me? (0:49)
    Disc Two

  1. Nice To Meld You (3:13)
  2. Hail To The Chief (0:51)
  3. I Gotta Beam Me (2:02)
  4. Scotty’s Tanked (1:39)
  5. What’s With You? (2:12)
  6. Either Way, Someone’s Going Down (2:43)
  7. Trekking Down The Narada (2:32)
  8. Run And Shoot Offense (2:02)
  9. Does It Still McFly? (2:02)
  10. Nero Death Experience (5:38)
  11. Nero Fiddles, Narada Burns (2:29)
  12. Black Holes Have A Lot Of Pull (0:56)
  13. Back From Black (0:58)
  14. That New Car Smell (4:45)
  15. To Boldly Go (0:26)
  16. End Credits (9:11)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2010
Disc one total running time: 55:20
Disc two total running time: 43:39

Lost: Season 4 – music by Michael Giacchino

Lost Season 4 - music by Michael GiacchinoThank goodness Lost found its way. After an occasionally painful-to-watch third season that filled us in on the backstory of the Others and the Dharma Initiative (not always the same entity, coincidentally), the decision was made by the show’s own producers and writers to shorten the three remaining seasons to something only slightly longer than a UK television season, setting a finite end point in the process. And yet somehow, with that limitation set, the show’s storytelling has become anything but finite, as it messes around with time and space with reckless abandon. The fourth season was an eye-opener that made good use of the renewed focus that was made necessary by the shorter season length; the fifth season then proceeded to be a jaw-dropper.

This CD of music from the fourth season of Lost also benefits from the show’s sharper focus, collecting the absolute cream of the musical crop from the fourth year. Many themes from prior seasons are rehashed and expanded upon, but for the most part, the fourth season’s soundtrack doesn’t feel like a musical flashback to something we’ve already heard. The early tracks seem to have a more intimate feel, a bit less epic, as the show’s core characters – ostensibly the only six survivors of the Oceanic 815 crash so far as the general public knows – work out their own internal dilemmas. Even these cues tend to take a right turn into melancholy or menace, as the fourth season’s early episodes developed a knack for revealing that the survivors’ apparently triumphant return wasn’t as it seemed.

4 out of 4There are moments of uncharacteristic-for-Lost whimsy (“Maternity Hell”), deceptive calm (“The Constant”), and flat-out mayhem (“Keamy Away From Him”). Many of the tracks clock in at a pleasing length – actually, a few of them at surprising lengths for television scoring. The disc is chock full – and yet never quite achieves the slightly top-heavy feeling that I got from the two-disc season 3 soundtrack (even though it was marvelous to have the complete score from Through The Looking Glass in that collection). This is a good specimen of a compilation soundtrack with just the right cues, and at just the right length.

Order this CD

  1. Giving Up The Ghost (2:40)
  2. Locke’ing Horns (1:51)
  3. Lost Away – Or Is It? (1:41)
  4. Backgammon Gambit (1:17)
  5. Time And Time Again (2:43)
  6. The Constant (3:52)
  7. Maternity Hell (2:31)
  8. Karma Jin-itiative (1:24)
  9. Ji Yeon (3:07)
  10. Michael’s Right To Remain Wrong (1:55)
  11. Bodies And Bungalows (1:25)
  12. Benundrum (3:24)
  13. Hostile Negotiations (2:19)
  14. Locke-About (6:04)
  15. There’s No Place Like Home (2:35)
  16. Nadia On Your Life (1:41)
  17. C4-titude (1:59)
  18. Of Mice And Ben (2:19)
  19. Keamy Away From Him (4:58)
  20. Timecrunch (2:06)
  21. Can’t Kill Keamy (1:48)
  22. Bobbing For Freighters (5:20)
  23. Locke Of The Island (7:07)
  24. Lying For The Island (4:52)
  25. Landing Party (3:22)
  26. Hoffs-Drawlar (3:58)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 78:18

Star Trek – music by Michael Giacchino

Star Trek - music by Michael GiacchinoThe moment that it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be taking the helm of the Enterprise for its next big-screen voyage, the first thought that entered my head wasn’t a question of loving or hating the movie over a year in advance; rather, it was “I hope Michael Giacchino is doing the music.” It actually would’ve been a massive surprise – bigger than any on-screen plot twist imaginable – if that hadn’t turned out to be the case: Giacchino’s music has accompanied Alias and Lost on TV, and Mission: Impossible III on film, all projects headed up by Abrams. Furthermore, with non-Abrams films like Speed Racer, Ratatouille and The Incredibles (whose music earned an Oscar nomination), Giacchino has proven himself to be at the forefront of a new generation of composers, and certainly a dependable one.

The question is: can he handle the final frontier? The Star Trek franchise has seen – and heard – some of the very best works of talents such as Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner, and some of the TV music hasn’t been bad either. Star Trek has established themes aplenty and a rich musical legacy – a lot for even an A-list composer take on. From the opening notes of his score album for the new Star Trek film, Giacchino makes it clear that he’s trying to forge his own path. The score does incorporate the immortal Alexander Courage theme, but not right at the beginning. A rather low-key, somber theme opens the movie, says its piece and gets off the stage very quickly. It’s not entirely unlike – but also not madly similar to – the unusual opening numbers of Star Trek VI and Star Trek Nemesis, and it certainly sets a different tone, shortly before doing the musical equivalent of crashing into something abruptly.

This theme recurs throughout the selections presented here, and though its first statement is somewhat downbeat, it’s driven through major keys and triumphant arrangements as well. “Nailin’ The Kelvin”, a cue accompanying a chaotic early scene in the film in which James T. Kirk is literally born in battle, features this theme in a bittersweet rendition, while “Enterprising Young Men” turns the motif into a bold anthem. A simple but menacing theme for Nero, the movie’s villain, surfaces in “Nero Sighted”, which also brings some of Giacchino’s trademark dissonant action music to the fore (one of the few places where I honestly listened to the soundtrack and thought, “Hey, that sounds a bit like Lost”). More Giacchino action music signatures can be found in “Run And Shoot Offense”, which also introduces a vaguely Eastern motif, and “Nero Death Experience”, which features a rare (for a Star Trek film score) choral interlude or two and resolves to a triumphant statement of the main theme before layering it into a boisterous action cue.

But there really aren’t many places where the Star Trek score is a dead ringer for Lost. Whether it’s a larger orchestral ensemble at Giacchino’s disposal, or a different approach to orchestration, the score is very, very traditional Hollywood blockbuster – at times, it reminds me more of John Williams than anything. Electronics seem to be kept under a tight rein, and the most exotic the selections on the album really get is a lonely ehru motif for Spock’s alien heritage. (Science fiction TV and film scores may be the ehru’s best friend in western music – see/hear also the new Battlestar Galactica and Earth: Final Conflict.)

And the original series theme as composed by Alexander Courage? Its opening fanfare makes a triumphant comeback in “To Boldly Go”, and the end credit suite then takes up a glorious full statement of the entire theme from start to finish, with a very pleasing arrangement that balances the French horns just right – sounding very much like Courage’s original orchestration, except with a full choir standing in for the soprano solo of the original theme. Over the considerable length of the end credit suite, Giacchino weaves Courage’s theme into his own material repeatedly, including one incredibly clever section where he demonstrates that the new movie’s theme can fit inside the original series theme as a running counterpoint composition, melding with the Courage theme and not straining against it. Gorgeous and very well thought-out.

4 out of 4Some fans may be a little displeased that the entire score isn’t constantly calling back the themes of the original series and movies, but why should it? It’s clear from the outset that this is a different Star Trek, with fundamental changes made to select parts of the underlying premise. It’s still about James T. Kirk and Spock and the Enterprise and her gallant crew, but the movie spins these basic conceits into a different direction – and yet not not a drastically different one, just a way to open up new stories in a universe whose cat’s cradle of continuity had, by the time the last TV series ended, become almost too tangled for its own good. And if there is room for new Star Trek stories, then there’s room for new Star Trek music – and one gets the hint, during the end credits, that the next movie’s music might have a slightly more familiar feel to it. Judging by this album, hopefully Michael Giacchino will be giving the next movie its sound too. Star Trek probably isn’t what most Trek soundtrack fans are expecting – but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Order this CD

  1. Star Trek (1:03)
  2. Nailin’ The Kelvin (2:09)
  3. Labor Of Love (2:51)
  4. Hella Bar Talk (1:55)
  5. Enterprising Young Men (2:39)
  6. Nero Sighted (3:23)
  7. Nice To Meld You (3:13)
  8. Run And Shoot Offense (2:04)
  9. Does It Still McFly? (2:03)
  10. Nero Death Experience (5:38)
  11. Nero Fiddles, Narada Burns (2:34)
  12. Back From Black (:59)
  13. That New Car Smell (4:46)
  14. To Boldly Go (:26)
  15. End Credits (9:11)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 44:52

Alias (Volume 1) – music by Michael Giacchino

Alias (Volume 1)As we’re counting down to the relaunch of the Enterprise on the big screen, I thought this would be an opportune time to check the back catalogue of the latest celebrated composer to put his stamp on the final frontier: Michael Giacchino. After laboring away in the often-anonymous field of video game music, Giacchino began making his name known as a potential A-list composer with J.J. Abrams’ Alias. I wasn’t a huge fan of Alias, but in listening to the two volumes of soundtracks released from the show, I have become a huge fan of its music.

The ironic thing is that, in its more introspective, moody moments, Alias leaned on orchestral music that’s nearly indistinguishable from the music for an episode of Lost (also produced by Abrams and scored by Giacchino). But much of Alias’ music leans in a completely different direction: upbeat, techno-beat-drenched pieces that seem to pay homage to, in equal parts, John Barry’s balls-to-the-wall brassy James Bond scores and the ethnic-location-of-the-week music from Mission: Impossible’s original TV run. Since these scenes almost always accompanied the sight of Jennifer Garner strutting her stuff or kicking butt (and, more often than not, doing both simultaneously), the beat seldom lets up.

The orchestra gets plenty to do in the action scenes, too, but in this case it sounds very little like Lost. One track in particular, though – “On To Paris” – spends a little bit of time combining the techno beats with the kind of low, snarling brass Giacchino frequently uses on Lost, and the effect is quite interesting – the addition of a simple drum beat completely changes the character and mood. One gets the impression very quickly that Alias is what landed Giacchino the scoring assignment for The Incredibles, for which he was nominated for an Oscar, and that’s led to nearly everything since, ranging from Ratatoullie to Star Trek. As calling cards go, you can’t do much better than the music from Alias: its ever-changing settings made for plenty of opportunities for musical variety, and Giacchino didn’t squander that opportunity by phoning in generic music.

4 out of 4 starsSo, should the beat-heavy Alias point the way for Giacchino’s Star Trek score? I’m going to hazard a guess that it probably won’t, but if it did…why not? The new movie is an exercise in trying to push classic Trek into a new style for a new audience. Michael Giacchino is one of a wave of incredibly talented young composers who are currently rewriting the books: not everything has to be in a European romantic style. Why not punch up the music and make it more modern? Alias proved that Giacchino was adept at splitting the difference between both styles.

Order this CD

  1. Alias (0:27)
  2. Dissolved (2:07)
  3. Red Hair Is Better (2:31)
  4. Spanish Heist (4:31)
  5. Double Life (1:54)
  6. Tunisia (4:14)
  7. In The Garden (2:32)
  8. Looking For A Man (3:54)
  9. Anna Shows Up (3:33)
  10. Home Movies (0:42)
  11. On To Paris (1:51)
  12. Page 47 (1:55)
  13. The Prophecy (2:11)
  14. Badenweiler (5:11)
  15. Arvin At The Poles (1:38)
  16. Sleeping Beauty (3:11)
  17. Blow’d Up (2:28)
  18. It’s Not The CIA (1:41)
  19. Oh My God!!! (3:19)
  20. The Tooth Doctor (2:01)
  21. It Was Anna (0:56)
  22. Wet Suits (2:40)
  23. Ball Buster (1:42)
  24. The End (0:58)
  25. Bristow & Bristow (3:31)
  26. SD-6 Dance Party (3:18)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 64:56

Lost Season 2 – music by Michael Giacchino

Lost Season 2 soundtrackAs with the TV series it accompanied, the music of Lost really ramps up the stakes in season two. Where it’s scary, it’s much more boisterous and scary than season 1, and where it’s mysterious, it’s much more mysterious. There are quieter moments too, including the piano piece from what still stands as my favorite episode to date, Everybody Hates Hugo.

Definite themes emerge as the chronologically-ordered selection of music unfolds (if indeed any show that has flashbacks every week can be described as chronological), including a theme for the Dharma station hatch, which may also be shared by Desmond. This first appears in “Peace Through Superior Firepower,” the scene which introduced us to Desmond, and later appears in a couple of other tracks, including the moment in last season’s finale when Desmond realized that he brought down Oceanic 815 in the first place.

Michael Giacchino’s instrumentation is more densely layered here, generally lending the whole thing a “bigger” sound. (Like Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary, Giacchino is classy enough to list every session player who participated in the Lost sessions – and lo and behind, many of them are the same musicians. What a great job that must be, playing all that killer music.) Somehow that fits because, obviously, the story is getting bigger too.

One of the most interesting tracks is the show’s end credits. (“Wha…?”, I hear you saying already, “there isn’t music on the end credits because ABC squishes everything and runs previews.”) I’m guessing this is the end credit music for the un-squished credits on the DVDs. It’s interesting, and it defnitely has the same “Lost sound” as the score cues, but it’s almost too upbeat.

Some fans may not be thrilled with how much music is heard from specific episodes; some shows – quite pivotal ones in the Lost mythos, in fact – wind up represented by only one track or don’t appear at all, while others (I’m looking at you, Live Together, Die Alone) seem like most of the music written for them is here. It’s a nice listen from beginning to end, but with shows like this, Galactica and Doctor Who, the track listing seems like it’s bursting to expand beyond the running time of a single CD.

Those looking for songs featured in the show go away empty-handed again; I’m not saying that I don’t like having an entire CD of underscore, but with non-score material like Driveshaft, and prominently heard songs Rating: 4 out of 4like Mama Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind Of Music,” you’d think someone would’ve put together an official “Songs heard on Lost” compilation by now.

It’s a tremendously enjoyable and relentlessly intense listen, and that’s why Lost Season 2 was one of my favorite soundtracks of 2006, hands-down.

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  1. Main Title (0:17)
  2. Peace Through Superior Firepower (1:26)
  3. The Final Countdown (5:49)
  4. World’s Worst Landscaping (1:18)
  5. Mess It All Up (1:28)
  6. Hurley’s Handouts (4:42)
  7. Just Another Day On The Beach (2:49)
  8. Ana Cries (1:47)
  9. The Tribes Merge (2:05)
  10. The Gathering (4:19)
  11. Shannon’s Funeral (2:12)
  12. All’s Forgiven…Except Charlie (5:19)
  13. Charlie’s Dream (1:50)
  14. Charlie’s Temptation (0:51)
  15. A New Trade (2:40)
  16. Mapquest (0:38)
  17. Claire’s Escape (3:45)
  18. The Last To Know (2:22)
  19. Rose And Bernard (2:40)
  20. Toxic Avenger (0:41)
  21. I Crashed Your Plane, Brotha (1:46)
  22. Eko Blaster (1:44)
  23. The Hunt (3:57)
  24. McGale’s Navy (2:21)
  25. Bon Voyage, Traitor (5:30)
  26. End Title (0:32)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2006
Total running time: 64:48