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Album cover copyright (c) 2006 Touchstone Television.; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall



Wonderful - tv music at its finest 


Well, I may as well get the controversial paragraph out of the way first.  Lost is a television phenomenon, the biggest thing to hit the small screen in several years.  It's got remarkable critical praise.  It's got gigantic viewing figures.  It's won six Emmys and a Golden Globe, including Best Television Drama in both.  (Nothing controversial so far - don't worry, that's coming in a moment.)  I've watched every episode so far (at least, every one that's been aired in the UK).  And I have to say - it's the biggest load of old rubbish I've ever seen.  So why, I hear you ask, have I watched every episode?  Because I think it's the most hilarious thing I've ever seen.  I love a dumb tv show which doesn't take itself seriously - something like 24, perhaps - but that's nothing compared with a dumb tv show that takes itself so incredibly seriously, even when doing the most outrageously stupid things, and that's what Lost gives.  In case you don't know, it chronicles the adventures of a bunch of survivors of a plane crash on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific in between Australia and America.  As with most plane crashes, the survivors include an Iraqi communications expert, a seasoned big game hunter, a doctor, some top female totty and a token fat man who inevitably turns out to be the nicest person there.  The show's central conceit (and yes, I admit, it's a great idea) is to tie each episode's goings on in with something from the back story of the various characters, but where it falls down is that so many of the goings on are completely illogical, with "plot twists" that seem to get the fans very excited, but are just seemingly random, and some of the most stupefyingly dumb plotlines ever conceived.  The majority of the shows give the distinct impression of having been written by an eight-year-old.  Despite all this, it's so compellingly bad that they've got a guaranteed viewer for life in me!

It's not all bad.  It is obviously expensive, hugely so, and all the money is up there on the screen, with exquisite production values.  Some of the acting - particularly from Terry O'Quinn, who plays a man who was crippled until the plane crash, but can now walk perfectly, obviously - is fine.  And above all, there's the music, by Michael Giacchino, which is easily the most impressive music being written for television right now.  I don't really know how he manages to do it, since each episode requires a substantial amount of new music, and he orchestrates it all himself - and seems to work on theatrical movies at the same time.  They say that James Brown is the hardest-working man in showbusiness (well, James Brown says it, anyway) but perhaps there's another candidate.

This album presents music from the show's first season.  It's everything that great television music should be (but never is): the music follows a course from the start of the season till the end, going on the arc with the story, with several recurring themes and an extremely consistent, identifiable style of its own.  The album actually opens with the extremely brief Main Title, which is credited to series creator J.J. Abrams - one way of racking up enormous royalty payments, I guess!  Glenn A. Larson, eat your heart out.  After that, it's all Giacchino, with music from many episodes being featured, and most of the season's musical highlights included.  There are several themes - a mournful, three-note motif that goes through all sorts of treatments for the sad parts - a ferocious horn-based action theme which forms the basis of much of the action music - and finally a little romantic theme, first appearing in "Win One for the Reaper", which is really heart-meltingly pleasant, and bizarrely, very similar to one of John Barry's themes in Indecent Proposal, of all places - I'm sure it's a coincidence, but it's an odd bedfellow for this!

In truth, everything is good here: the suspense music does exactly what it should, the emotional stuff is moving, and the action music is thrilling.  What wins it is the orchestration, which is extremely complex and impressive for a tv show.  Highlights include the previously-mentioned "Win One for the Reaper"; "Navel Gazing", one of those moments in the show which is full of hope (inevitably false hope, since they're hardly likely to be rescued or successfully get off the island, are they?); and a sequence of outstanding action music, with the cues from "Proper Motivation" through to "Getting Ethan" being breathlessly exciting - indeed, only pausing for breath for the lovely, mournful "We're Friends".  The action music contrasts low brass with high strings, and works really well (Jerry Goldsmith did a similar sort of thing, at a high level, and it's one of the reasons his action music worked so well - the same is true here).  Then comes a string of wonderfully emotional music from "Thinking Clairely" (yes, Giacchino is trying to outdo Marco Beltrami with the number of puns he can include in track titles on a single album - and he probably succeeds) to the outstanding "Life and Death" and moving "Booneral".  

The best of all is saved for the last three tracks.  "Monsters are Such Innnteresting People" is the pick of the action music, and then come "Parting Words" and "Oceanic 815", both of which are brilliant examples of touching, emotional scoring.  "Parting Words" opens with a simple dialogue between piano and violin - the kind of thing you just don't expect to find in a weekly television score.  Indeed, throughout, one is left thinking that they just don't write tv music like this anymore - but evidently, someone has!  Varese Sarabande reported that this was the most-requested title they'd ever encountered, when announcing the album.  I'm not surprised - and hope a Season Two soundtrack will be coming in a year or so's time!

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  1. Main Title (:16)
  2. The Eyeland (1:58)
  3. World's Worst Beach Party (2:44)
  4. Credit Where Credit is Due (2:23)
  5. Run Like, Um... Hell? (2:21)
  6. Hollywood and Vines (1:52)
  7. Just Die Already (1:51)
  8. Me and my Big Mouth (1:06)
  9. Crocodile Locke (1:49)
  10. Win One for the Reaper (2:38)
  11. Departing Sun (2:42)
  12. Charlie Hangs Around (3:17)
  13. Navel Gazing (3:24)
  14. Proper Motivation (2:00)
  15. Run Away! Run Away! (:30)
  16. We're Friends (1:32)
  17. Getting Ethan (1:35)
  18. Thinking Clairely (1:04)
  19. Locke'd Out Again (3:30)
  20. Life and Death (3:39)
  21. Booneral (1:38)
  22. Shannonigans (2:25)
  23. Kate's Motel (2:07)
  24. I've Got a Plane to Catch (2:37)
  25. Monsters are Such Innnteresting People (1:29)
  26. Parting Words (5:30)
  27. Oceanic 815 (6:11)