One of the things that sets LOST apart from other network series is the brilliant work of composer Michael Giacchino. Giacchino has scored plenty of major motion pictures (Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, The Incredibles), but his best work has been done on LOST.
The Season 5 DVD has a great extra that demonstrates Giacchino’s method of composition. You might think the producers would give him a heads up when it comes to plot points and the direction an episode (or series of episodes) might be heading; you’d be wrong. Giacchnio sees a semi-finished product of an episode and he has no idea what’s going to happen. He watches it as a viewer, just like us. When something extraordinary occurs, he stops and writes music for that scene. It might be a moment of emotional reconciliation that demands a softer set of strings; it might be a tense scene that gets the “jungle” treatment — drums, frenetic string activity, and of course, that signature blaring horn. Whatever the case, Giacchino writes his music as a response to his viewing experience. And the finished product comes to us a few weeks later.
With the finale in view, I’ve been going back and listening to some of my favorite music from previous seasons. Giacchino has written beautiful themes for some of the major characters; from the very beginning, a particular song or musical motif has been associated with each of the major players. And of course, we’re also accustomed to his music montage pieces that provide the closing to some of our favorite LOST moments. If you’re looking for some good music and you’re a LOST fan, you need to go grab these songs from iTunes ASAP:
- Win One for the Reaper – Season 1 Soundtrack. A sparse piano version of one of the show’s earliest and most prominent musical themes. It remains my favorite piece of music from the show.
- Landing Party – Season 4 soundtrack. This is the theme that played when the Oceanic Six finally landed back home. Hurley, Sun, and Jack experienced reunion with their families; no one was waiting for either Sayid or Kate.
- There’s No Place Like Home – Season 4 soundtrack. A similar piece to #2; they make a perfect complimentary pair.
- Locke’d Out Again – Season 1 soundtrack. This is the signature piece from Locke’s initial flashback episode, “Walkabout”. You can’t hear this piece without hearing, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
- Oceanic 815 – Season 1 soundtrack. A six-minute compilation of the major themes found from the show’s rookie season. Beautiful.
- The Constant – Season 4 soundtrack. The musical backdrop for arguably the show’s most emotional moment: when Penny and Desmond reunite via telephone back in Season 4.
- Bon Voyage, Traitor – Season 2 soundtrack. This was the music that played during the dramatic conclusion to the show’s second season: Desmond and Locke’s showdown in the hatch; Hurley, Jack, Kate, and Sawyer being captured by the Others.
- Life and Death – Season 1 soundtrack. Another five-star offering from Season 1.
- Pagoda of Shame – Season 3 soundtrack. This incorporates the theme from most of Sun & Jin’s flashback episodes. It’s probably my favorite one.
- LaFleur – Season 5 soundtrack. The thematic sound of Sawyer’s heroic arc reaching it’s fullness. His embrace of Juliet while this song played as the screen faded to black in “LaFleur” is one of my favorite LOST moments.
- Of Mice and Ben – Season 4 soundtrack. This song is from Season 4’s penultimate episode: Ben walks out of the jungle to confront Keamy; Sawyer and Jack traipse through the jungle to save Hurley; Farraday frantically ferries people to the freighter. I loved how this episode flung our heroes out all over the Island and this piece evokes danger and heroism simultaneously.
- The Good Shepherd – Season 3 soundtrack. This is “going on a walk through the jungle / across the Island” music. Plain and simple.
- Greatest Hits – Season 3 soundtrack. Charlie’s swan song. Slow, but incredible.
- Parting Words – Season 1 soundtrack. The conclusion of Season 1’s raft experiment was set to this piece. Sawyer, Jin, and Michael (with Walt) set off on the high seas to find rescue. This emotional piece highlighted how difficult it was for these castaways to say goodbye to one another.
- Hurley’s Handouts – Season 2 soundtrack. This is Hurley’s piece. It features prominently in many of the more emotional scenes in the series. I especially remember it from the final scene of “Everybody Hates Hugo”.