We Watch it for the Music | Lost

We+Watch+it+for+the+Music+%7C+Lost

Nathaniel Gaynor

ABC’s “Lost”, the cultural behemoth that aired from 2004-2010 and the story of 48 plane crash survivors on an island in the South Pacific, rarely strayed from its incredible score from Michael Giacchino (Alias, The Incredibles, Mission Impossible III).

The show carefully employed a strict song policy throughout its six-season run. Songs only appeared when the characters could actually hear them. The fact that the characters were stuck on an island without technology (at least at first), made music a scarce resource. When a character did stumble upon a song via a CD player, an old tape recorder, or a record player, the scenes worked extremely well – and became some of the show’s most memorable – due to the production team’s restraint.

Here are five of “Lost”s best uses of music.

No. 5 “Wonderwall” | Oasis | (S3E8: “Flashes Before Your Eyes”)

“Wonderwall” is a bit different from the other songs on this list, in that Oasis’ version does not actually appear on the show. Instead, Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) performs it in two separate but nearly identical sequences as Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) travels through the time and space in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”.

Following the second season’s cliffhanger, in which Desmond releases the electromagnetic buildup on the island and destroys the hatch, Desmond is displaced by time. He begins having flashes of his time in London before he shipwrecked on the island. In one of these “flashes,” he runs into Charlie performing “Wonderwall” on the streets of London.

Charlie specifically sings the line “maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.” At the time, it may seem like “Lost” simply managed to get the rights to play a cool song on their show. As Charlie would later learn from Desmond though, he is destined to die on the island, and only Desmond can potentially save him.

No. 4 “Downtown” | Petula Clark | (S3E1: “A Tale of Two Cities”)

Season three’s opener is a direct callback to No. 1 on this list, in that both open with the shot of an eye, followed by a new character selecting a song and turning it on while they get ready for the day.

The opening is a bait and switch, showing Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) getting ready for the day in her quaint home in a seeming flashback. She bakes cupcakes, goes to a book club meeting and converses with neighbors. “Downtown” is the perfect song for this opener, making it seem like Juliet is tired of suburban life and wants to go to someplace more urban.

However, during the book club meeting, Juliet and her neighbors run outside after a presumed earthquake to see Oceanic Flight 815 crashing overhead, and Ben (Michael Emerson) giving orders to her neighbors Ethan (William Mapother) and Goodwin (Brett Cullen) to infiltrate the survivor camps, and the camera panning back on the neighborhood to show that they are actually a secluded community on the island.

Juliet, unfortunately, would likely never go “downtown.”

No. 3 | “Delicate” | Damien Rice | (S1E17: “…In Translation”)

This is the song that proved the show’s music rules.

Damien Rice’s “Delicate” closes out the 17th episode of the first season. The song is on Hurley’s (Jorge Garcia’s) CD player, which he used previously in the season to close out an episode. The final scene plays like a montage on another show.

“Delicate” focuses on a secret or an affair – “why’d you fill my heart with sorrow / why do you sing with me at all.”

The scene plays out with Hurley walking by three couples. Sayid (Naveen Andrews) and Shannon (Maggie Grace) – a budding romance – talk together as the sun goes down. Sun, who in this episode was revealed to be having an affair before the plane crash, walks down to the beach and removes the blanket covering her up and walks into the water. She is symbolically freeing herself from both her husband’s demands and oppression and the guilt of her affair. Charlie brings a snack over to Claire (Emilie de Ravin) as she sits by the ocean, a friendship that could soon grow into something more.

The camera panes back, showing Hurley listening to the CD player. Suddenly, the song stutters and then stops. The battery has lost power. Hurley throws the CD player down in the sand and looks out at the ocean.

No. 2 “Shambala” | Three Dog Night | (S3E14: “Tricia Tanaka is Dead”)

This song is featured in one of the most positive scenes the show has ever done.

Hurley discovers an old Volkswagen van in the jungle. Hurley, Jin (Daniel Dae Kim), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) drink beers (found in the van) and work on fixing up the van. Charlie, fearing he is destined to die after Desmond’s premonition in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, is reasonably sad and in a state of self-pity. Hurley, meanwhile, is coming off the death of his friend and potential love-interest, Libby (Cynthia Watros), thinking he is responsible due to his “bad luck curse”.

To get the VW to work, the guys decide it needs a running start. Hurley encourages Charlie to “look death in the face and say ‘whatever man’” and ride in the van with him down the hill, and Charlie agrees. As the two ride down the hill towards death, the van suddenly starts working, and Three Dog Night’s “Shambala” starts playing on the tape recorder. It is a moment of sheer joy following a lot of dark and harsh scenes in season three’s first half.

The lyrics, “wash away my troubles, wash away my pain”,  speak to the situations both of these two characters are going through, and the laid back, spiritual aspects of this 1973 song makes the scene cathartic in a dark season.

No. 1 “Make Your Own Kind of Music” | Mama Cass (S2E1: “Man of Science, Man of Faith”)

This is perhaps “Lost”s most memorable musical sequence.

The season one finale, “Exodus, Part 2”, ended with Locke (Terry O’Quinn), Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Hurley and Rousseau (Mira Furlan) blowing open the mysterious hatch. In a bit of misdirection, rather than opening on Locke and Jack climbing down into the hole, the episode opens with what is presumably a flashback of a new character.

The man – who turns out to be Desmond – climbs out of bed, puts on “Make Your Own Kind of Music”, works out, drinks a smoothie, and takes a shower. The camera then pans up to show that the man is actually inside the hatch with Jack and Locke looking down into it.

The scene is iconic for answering the first season’s biggest mystery, raising new questions, and this upbeat song that accompanied the opening.

The song is so deeply tied to “Lost”, that when Showtime’s “Dexter” used it in 2013, it was met with harsh criticism.

Lost was an ABC Studios production and was created by J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Jeffrey Lieber. It starred Matthew Fox (Jack Shepherd), Evangeline Lilly (Kate Austen), Josh Holloway (James “Sawyer” Ford), Jorge Garcia (Hugo “Hurley” Reyes), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie Pace), Naveen Andrews (Sayid Jarrah), Emilie de Ravin (Claire Littleton), Yunjin Kim (Sun-Hwa Kwon), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin-Soo Kwon), Harold Perrineau (Michael Dawson), Malcolm David Kelley (Walt Lloyd), Maggie Grace (Shannon Rutherford), Ian Somerhalder (Boone Carlyle), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond Hume), Michael Emerson (Ben Linus), and Terry O’Quinn (John Locke/The Man in Black).

What soundtrack should we highlight next week? Comment here or send suggestions to @WDBM!