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Friday, June 12, 2015

Michael Giacchino - Lost Season 5 (Original Television Soundtrack)

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7/10

Lost's fifth season is my favorite. It follows no rules, save its one through-line question: can the past be changed? Season Four ended with half of the surviving characters off the island and back on the mainland in some way, and the other half still marooned. However, one of the island's defense mechanisms has been triggered, in light of the attack by the freighter crew of Season Four. While the island was supposed to leap in time once to hide itself, the mechanism is jammed, and thus the island is now jumping around to different eras like a "skipping record." Unfortunately for those still on the island, their minds can't handle all the jumping. They begin to die off. Thus, early episodes are literally a race against time, as the islanders attempt to find a way to stop the island from being "unstuck in time." Meanwhile, the Oceanic Six, those who have managed to get off the island, along with several other ex-islanders, come together in an attempt to return and right the wrongs of the past.
This early structure is great fun, as Lost reveals much of the island's history through the time jumps. The jumps also feature some fun interaction with our islander's past selves. About halfway through, though, the time jumps are rectified, stranding our island survivors in the mid-1970's--a time when a scientific hippie commune, The Dharma Initiative, maintained a presence on the island...and highlighting an oft-mentioned, but heretofore little explored era of the island.
Our characters assimilate into Dharma due to the excellent conning skills of survivor, James "Sawyer" Ford. Sawyer is by far my favorite Lost character, and that rare television example of an...intelligent Southerner. Yes, as a lifetime resident of South Louisiana, I've vomited over the lousy media portrayals of my kinsmen over the years--as a bunch of dumb hicks who don't know their sister from their girlfriend. Actual Southerner, actor Josh Holloway, does the South well, never compromising Sawyer's harsh edge, yet making the character's growth into a reluctant leader and hero throughout Lost's six season supremely believable. In a stroke of genius, Lost's writers romantically pair Sawyer with the headstrong, equally hardened Juliet, giving viewers yet another fine example of a very real, believable adult relationship (the strength the two bring out of each other is a contrast to the juvenile antics of Sawyer's previous romantic relationship with Kate, a character who is too much like Sawyer in all the wrong ways).
Unfortunately, our survivors' groovy 70's bliss is foiled when the Oceanic Six return...throwing the peaceful lives Sawyer has constructed for everyone into chaos. The rest of the season focuses on the Oceanic Six's failed assimilation into the Dharma Initiative, the violent fallout from that failure, and the obsessive attempt by once survivor leader Jack to change the past and stop the survivors' original plane from ever crashing on the island in the first place. Twists, turns, action, romance, drama, and ridiculously fun science-fiction elements rule the day in these 17 episodes, which seem like a reward to those viewers who've stuck around this long. While I love the show as a whole, I don't think any of Lost's seasons brought me as much pure enjoyment as this one, nor that any of the show's season finales broke my heart like Season Five's "The Incident." Season Three's finale may feature Lost's most epic character death, but "The Incident" easily features the show's most heartbreaking...until the series' last handful of episodes, that is.
Michael Giacchino composes more great music for the show this season, but unfortunately,  Lost Season 5 (Original Television Soundtrack) doesn't quite capture the feeling of the season like the fourth season's soundtrack did. There also aren't as many examples of the show's past themes being further developed (though there are some). These could be due to the editing and music selection of album executive producer, Robert Townson, who has the unenviable task of culling 17 episodes' worth of music into an 80-minute soundtrack. Many of the season's episodes are not represented here, which may explain why the soundtrack lacks continuity. Or maybe it's just that the season as a whole, due to its enjoyably scattered nature, lacks a unifying theme like Season's One ("Parting Ways") and Four ("The Oceanic Six Theme").
For what it's worth, the music here is just fine, but little stands out, and the album lacks much flow or momentum...relegating it in worst cases to simple background noise.
That's a shame, as Giacchino has turned in undeniably great work for Season Five, just as he has for all of Lost's seasons. The package offered here to represent it just doesn't give any kind of a complete picture of that work...and perhaps no 80-minute product could.
For me, Lost Season 5 (Original Television Soundtrack) features two moments that have hung around in my brain. The first is the introduction of Sawyer and Juliet's love theme on "La Fleur." "La Fleur" conjures feelings of long-earned contentment and lingering hope, yet another excellent and evocative romantic piece by Giacchino.

The second is the introduction of the enigmatic Jacob's theme on "The Tangled Web." It's a fittingly dark and mysterious string and harp piece, in my mind bringing to life images of antiquity. "Jacob's Theme" is key to the show going forward.

The rest of the album, as I've said, is good, but just doesn't quite come together to form a satisfying package. A shame...my favorite season...my least favorite soundtrack.

2010 Varèse Sarabande

from "Because You Left"
1. Making Up for Lost Time 3:23

from "The Lie"
2. The Swinging Bendulum 5:43

from "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"
3. Locke's Excellent Adventure 4:01

from "316"
4. The Science of Faith 2:19
5. More Locke Than Locke 3:13
6. Together or Not Together 4:02
7. Through the Window 2:07

from "LaFleur"
8. Dharma Delinquent 1:51
9. La Fleur 2:36

from "Namaste"
10. Crash and Yearn 2:28

from "Whatever Happened, Happened"
11. Your Kharma Hit My Dharma 2:05

from "Dead Is Dead"
12. Alex in Chains 1:35

from "Some Like It Hoth"
13. I Hear Dead People 1:52

from "The Variable"
14. For Love of the Dame 3:17

from "Follow the Leader"
15. Follow the Leader 7:50

16. Sawyer Jones and the Temple of Boom 5:14

from "The Incident, Part 1"
17. The Tangled Web 1:41
18. Dharma Disaster 5:17
19. Blessings and Bombs 1:30

from "The Incident, Part 2"
20. Jack's Swan Song 1:15
21. Dharma vs Lostaways 4:23
22. The Incident 3:07
23. Jacob's Stabber 7:32

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