Saturday, 2 April 2011

Score Review: LOST - Season 3: Disc One (Michael Giacchino)

As Season 3 was released in a two-disc set, and I'm fairly sure I have OGD (Obsessive Giacchino Disorder), I have decided to split the Season 3 review into two parts. This first part shall cover the first disc, appropriately enough, which includes music from Episodes 1 to 20 of the season, whilst the second part shall review the last few episodes of the season.

At the time, Season 3 was not a particularly well received season of LOST. However, this time, it had everything to do with the quality of the show itself. Everyone, including the writers of the show, knows that the first half of Season 3 at the very least was fairly pants compared to usual LOST standards. Luckily, Giacchino's score still held strong through tattoo-flashbacks, the death of one of the show's best characters in Mr Eko, the introduction of the show's two most annoying characters in Nikki & Paulo and a couple of truly awful Kate flashbacks.

In fact, the opening of this disc is absolutely perfect, full of unrelenting action and general awesomeness. The definite highlight of these is 'Fool me Twice', one of my favourite action tracks in the entire series. Taking place during an otherwise mediocre Jin & Sun episode, this thrilling cue marks the first time on CD that the Other's themes really come into their own:

The theme for the Others, whilst having obvious merit as a terrifying action theme, has some Giacchino variation-magic thrown at it later on this disc, proving to be an even more effective theme at showing the fractured nature of Benjamin Linus' sinister, but tragic, character:

Another notable theme on this CD is Jack's main theme. It is odd that this theme was written so late into the show, considering that Jack is first amongst equals in the LOST cast. The theme itself is great,  especially in 'A Touching Moment', making one of the best uses of the Cello so far in the series:

The theme is also very unique in the show, as it is the only theme that is actually played by the character it represents within the context of the show itself. Just prior to the scene above, Jack is seen playing the exact same theme on a piano in his room. The theme makes a number of appearances in this season to make up for it's earlier absense, although none of the variations provided are markedly different from any of the other's on this release, with the main differences being shifting of the instrumentation of the melody from piano to cello and back.

Speaking of unique uses of the score when compared to the rest of the show, in the episode 'Tricia Tanaka Is Dead', Giacchino takes a diagetic music source in the Three Dog Night song 'Shambala', and composes an exquisite string arrangement around it to close out the episode:

This CD also has it's fair share of romance themes, including Kate and Sawyer's Love Theme in 'Romancing The Cage' and 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout 'Nothin'', as well as a more rounded variation of Desmond and Penny's Love Theme in 'Distraught Desmond', although once again it is unfortunately preceded by more tense Giacchino strings. Because of the general tone of LOST, this is a common recurring problem throughout the scores, whereby the tone drastically (and I really mean drastically) changes within a very short timeframe. There are too many tracks on these CDs where a melancholic melody will be stirring emotions within you to the point of tear excretion, only for a cliff-hanger to require that you suddenly be attacked by a loud, raucous trombone drop-off. This isn't something that I put against Giacchino though, as what he writes obviously has to fit what is seen on screen, and is more just an unfortunate side-effect of LOST's general style that is worth commenting on.

The more mysterious themes are also given a decent representation on this release, especially including the sublimely creepy 'The Island', which makes interesting use of percussion in conjunction with Locke's Hunter Theme:

Overall, the CD is a worthy release. Although it lacks the consistency of previous albums, it reflects the season well and introduces a number of very significant themes that are ripe for exploration. For example, from this point onwards, their won't be a single release that doesn't include some kind of interesting variation on Ben's theme.

Rating: 8.6


  1. The fact that Ocean's Apart isn't anywhere in your review is a shame. Have you listened to it. It's easily gotta be one of Giacchino's top 10.

  2. Of course I've listened to it, and I agree that it is brilliant. However, I'm saving any comments on it until the Season 6 reviews, when the theme is used in the context of James' and Juliet's scenes at the beginning and end of the season. Considering as the variation found on this release is almost exactly the same as 'We Can Go Dutch' from Season 6, I figured it could wait so I didn't just end up repeating myself. I did take it into account when giving the score though.

    Thanks for reading the blog, and I hope you enjoy reviews to come :-)