Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I'm in love with Murray Gold

This post is already a link overload, but for the most part, this is quite appropriate...

The Doctor Who Series 6 soundtrack was released on Monday, and given the high quality of the soundtrack this year, I was very enthusiastic about buying it as soon as possible. I've never done a review of a soundtrack before, or any CD for that matter, so please bear with me a little if I go a little too deep or focus on the wrong areas.

There are some real gems this year. "Tell Me Who You Are" and "Melody Pond" (though they'll always be A Melody of River to me) are almost haunting, and have had me humming away for the past 6 months since they were first heard in A Good Man Goes to War, and it's great to finally hear them without people talking over it... Selfish is what it is...

Then there are pieces like "36 Years", "The Impossible Astronaut" and "1969", which will reach into the deepest depths of your heart, rip out your emotions and show them to you while you die of sheer endearment. Others, such as "Which one is the Flesh?" and "Locked On", while not as memorable, are still stellar pieces of music which I can listen to over and over again.

However, the are other tracks that just seem to blend into each other. For extended periods, I didn't find myself making a note of particularly track because it had some really interesting features or was otherwise distinctive, and a number of tracks just  don't have much going to define them. "Trust Me" in particular seems pretty lacking in almost everything, and feels more like it should be a far briefer prelude to another track than one in its own right. That said, it's nice how the episodes themselves have their own identities in the music, though this does come across a bit too strongly in the case of Night Terrors, Closing Time and (to a far lesser extent) The God Complex, where the tone of the music overrides any other defining qualities to an extent.

Other tracks are quite jarring due to the way they are separated (or the way they aren't). This problem is at it's most evident in the tracks from The Curse of The Black Spot. The first half of "Deadly Siren" is tonally very different from the second, and would feel more at home with, for example, "You're a Dead Man". Only the second half actually focuses on the titular Siren. While all the orchestral goodness is still there, the way it's divided up can make the soundtrack much harder to follow.

It would be ridiculous to expect every single piece of music from the series to be on this CD, but I was very disappointed at the exclusion of certain pieces, especially considering how drawn out and/or  unnecessary some of the tracks are. This piano theme is missing again, and has been since at least Series 4. The heavy, orchestral action theme from the "Three Months Later" intro to Day of The Moon isn't present. Perhaps most glaringly is the absence of what most who nerds recognized as Rita's death theme, mostly because the track which you would think covers it (Rita Praises) cuts out JUST before the most distinctive part.

While the second part is on the soundtrack under "Melody Pond", the first part of the fan-dubbed "The Doctors Last Journey" is also missing. It's simply stunning... Kudos to Murray Gold for actually going back to fully include "The Majestic Tale" though, AKA: Silence Ass-Kicking Theme.  However, well.... Listen to the track as it appears in the episode, then listen to The Majestic Tale. The Majestic tale seems to cut out just before the track goes to full-on choir, and it finishes without really sounding like it's finished... because it isn't.

While writing this review, I've been surprised at how many negative things I actually have to say about this soundtrack. It's really very good, and I'd recommend spending £12 on the entire soundtrack than spending the same amount on 12 of the outstanding tracks. That said, I don't feel Murray Gold has outdone himself as he had with last years, where most of the tracks had their own identity and unique charms.


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