One of the sometimes-forgotten keys to the success of David Lynch’s
films is his use of composer Angelo Badalamenti
. Badalamenti’s moody compositions — with their almost introspective, otherworldly sounds — often times seem to be the key to lulling visitors into the world of Lynch’s imagination. Often, Badalamenti’s music so perfectly matches Lynch’s images that it becomes impossible to seperate the two. Certainly, this is true of the score Badalamenti composed for Lynch’s groundbreaking TV series, Twin Peaks
. Even though Twin Peaks was cancelled over ten years ago, the minute I hear Badalementi’s haunting theme music, I can automatically the deceptively placid opening images of the series’ opening credits as clearly and perfectly as if I had just seen the show last night. Twin Peaks, as with most of Lynch’s work, dealt with the chaos that usually raged beneath the safest exteriors and Badalamenti’s score — serene yet strangely ominous and always suggesting something lurking right around the corner — perfectly captured that theme. With soundtracks growing more and more bland (especially television scores, which are usually designed to be as unmemorable as possible lest a viewer be turned off), Badalamenti’s work on this soundtrack serves as wonderful evidence of what a truly talented and individual composer can do even within the confines of the soundtrack genre.
Also, note should be made of singer Julee Cruise’s contributions to the soundtrack. Much like Badalamenti, Cruise’s music has an otherworldly, slightly melancholy feel to it but whereas Badalamenti takes you back to the series’ sense of menace, Cruise’s songs serve to remind you of the romantically hopeful idealism that occasionally surfaced as well. If Badalamenti created a world where Laura Palmer could be murdered by her own father, Cruise’s songs remind you that it was also a world where Leland Palmer could find forgiveness for his crime.
Twin Peaks, an example of television at its most provocative, is amply served by this intriguing soundtrack. The haunting, jazz inflections of Angelo Baldamenti’s melodies, are quite a match for the offbeat nature of this series and they stand alone well as examples of a type of music that is reminiscent of things past, but at the same moment, timeless. Julie Cruise’s voice blends into this slow tranquil mix as well as any vocalist could; and the cryptic lyrics also reflect the nature of the show. Very few TV shows have soundtracks worth having; this one is probably the best of them all.
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