For the past couple of years, I’ve been obsessed with ABC’s serialized drama LOST. If it weren’t for this show (and televised sporting events), I could probably do without a television. But LOST is hands down the best TV show I’ve ever watched. It’s just that good. The show has lost some viewers since it decided to fly the sci-fi banner, but I am continually drawn back to the show’s tremendous gift for narrative and the characters that fuel it.
One of the overlooked elements that separates LOST from any other run of the mill TV program is the rich, beautiful score of composer Michael Giacchino. Best known for his work on the Pixar films Up, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, Giacchino was tapped by J.J. Abrams to oversee the orchestral score for the show. Over the past few seasons, Giacchino has developed an expansive cadre of leitmotifs that have become an integral part of each character’s narrative. One listen to “Locke’d Out Again” and I’m instantly taken back to my favorite episode, “Walkabout”, aka “the first John Locke flashback”. Or take “Kate’s Motel”, for instance; Giacchino’s motif has been used so often in the narrative process of these characters that it’s impossible to listen to them without recalling various points in the storytelling process. And what would LOST be without those sonic-blast, trombone “fall off” notes that always hit us at the end of a shocking or revelatory scene just before the fade to black? All of this reflects the genius of Giacchino, who prefers to watch the episode and write music for the scenes based on his primal, initial reaction to it.
I listen to a lot of music. I mean, A LOT. And it says something that this is music I return to over and over again. I have six songs that have a play count of 100 or higher in my iTunes; five of them come from this soundtrack. “Win One For the Reaper” sets the tone for the Season 1 mantra “Live together, die alone.” From the finale, “Parting Words” perfectly expresses the hope that the castaways have for the construction and launch of Michael’s raft; “Parting Words” captures the sense of mystery we felt as Jack and Locke peered headlong into the hatch, wondering for all the world what might be down there. Simply put, this is some of my favorite music of the decade. In fact, 10 years from now, I have a feeling I’ll still be listening to Giacchino’s beautiful score (ahead of some of the other albums on this list), bemoaning the fact that there’s no more LOST to pour over, analyze, and discuss.