This article may contain spoilers.
Twin Peaks is a show of incredible mystery and nostalgia. Covered in an unmistakably unique sense of humor and wit, the David Lynch and Mark Frost original television show from the 90s is very highly touted due to its original soundtrack by Angelo Badalamenti. The soft synths couldn’t do a better job of putting you in the small town of Twin Peaks as its citizens try to recover from the death of a young high school girl.
“Twin Peaks Theme”
The intro track plays while credits roll at the start of every episode, and it goes without saying that in order to get the full Twin Peaks experience, you can’t skip this! When the synths culminate and harmonize while the arpeggiated strings float across the track, it creates a beautiful musical moment that sends you back in time. The bass grounds the track in reality, but it wobbles like a dream, never motionless.
“Laura Palmer’s Theme”
The first episode starts with a dead body floating up on shore. The body is identified as Laura Palmer, high school student and beloved friend to many. The entire show is built around finding her murderer, but anytime she’s mentioned, this song plays. It’s haunting, slow, and cautious, but during the climax it’s a gorgeous and touching moment that hits very close to home. It falls back into the unnerving synth progression that it starts with, reminding us that Laura is gone for good. The show would come across in an entirely different way if not for this song. If this song grabs you in any way, the show will suck you right in.
“Into the Night”
Composed by Badalamenti and sung by Julee Cruise, “Into the Night” is one of the few songs on the original soundtrack to have vocals. It’s only played during a couple of moments in the show, but those moments are defining of the entire show. Julee’s voice is soft but not understated, and the percussion keeps the dreamy atmosphere from unwinding and floating away. Right when the track seems to boost away, it falls back to the sad, messy, sick world that it resides in.
Angelo Badalamenti explaining how he wrote “Laura Palmer’s Theme”
This video features the genius behind the music and his experience with writing “Laura Palmer’s Theme.” He talks about sitting with David Lynch and his mindset when he pieced together the parts that made it whole. It’s a very interesting interview for those who find the music or method’s behind the music entrancing.
Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
For fans of the experimental/avant-garde indie pop band Xiu Xiu, you may enjoy their full-length cover album of the Twin Peaks original soundtrack. It takes a very cool—read “noisy”— spin on the original, and adds a very cathartic touch that Xiu Xiu is known for.
Some shows are defined by their cast, others the plot, and maybe some are known for a single moment or episode. Twin Peaks, on the other hand, is defined by the incredible score that shapes the show and enhances the emotions that comes with watching the story unfold. Dive into the show. It’s only a couple seasons, and if anyone asks, say you watched it for the music.