LOST has been, unquestionably, one of the most popular TV shows of the last few years. This show has kept many fans trying to solve all types of riddles and problems that the producers created within the show. Fans will argue that this show has everything: drama, suspense, humor, action, etc. Once again, J.J. Abrams proved to critics and viewers around the world that he could create an innovative new TV show that would be critically acclaimed. Not surprisingly, he chose Michael Giacchino to do the music. Even though hardcore fans of LOST will defend everything related to this show, Michael Giacchino’s first season score is a disappointing effort.
As expected, J.J Abrams, the producer of Lost, decided to compose the main title himself. Well, I don’t know if that can be called composing; it’s just sixteen seconds of an evolving pad — one that could easily be found in one of the thousand sample libraries out there.
“The Eyeland” is an eerie piece with the usual tremolos and crescendos that establishes the mood for the rest of the score and the show. Of course, don’t expect to hear melodies or any thematic material within this track — or on most of the other tracks in the score for that matter. Nonetheless, as an atmospheric piece, it works well with the imagery. “Run like, um…hell?” starts as a solid chase/action sequence with the usual ostinatos and timpani; however, towards the end, this piece dissolves into nothing more than a motionless sonic pad with no interesting harmonies supporting it.
Tracks like “Hollywood and Vines” and “Departing Sun” offer short glimpses of Giacchino’s better mastery of string arrangements. Unfortunately, these phrases are very short and never evolve into something that one could enjoy for more than one minute.
In more than a few tracks of the score, you’ll hear that a piece will spend 90% of the time with creepy atmospheric sounds or some slow progression of orchestral instruments, but towards the end, it’ll incorporate dissonant strings and the obligated brass crescendo. This gets too repetitive and annoying. Sure, a piece needs a buildup towards a particular “hit-point,” but there are other ways of doing this. More importantly, it seems like Giacchino becomes too dependent on the pads to fill the sonic space, which allows him to use very few supporting sounds and instruments within each individual track.
“Win One for The Reaper” is a very disappointing piano cue that is weak, simple, and boring. A little motif is introduced with the usual I, vi, I, IV, V, I progression in the key of B flat Major, but not a single modulation into another key is made. Composers in the Hollywood realm should at least try to create a piece that doesn’t look as if an 8-year old had done it. Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on your appreciation of music — this motif will appear in other parts of the score, like “Charlie Hangs Around” and “Life and Death”. Interestingly, in the first part of “Charlie Hangs Around”, we hear some of Henry Manfredini’s influence on Giacchino’s suspenseful string writing. But, it’s “Proper Motivation” that sounds almost identical to those wonderful chase sequences Manfredini scored for the Crystal Lake Camp residents .These lines have to be amongst the only commendable musical moments of the score.
“Getting Ethan” begins as a promising piece — I was even ready to call it my favorite piece of this CD — unfortunately, it quickly fades into an obscure piece with no musical substance holding it together. In fact, many of the pieces suffer from this very same problem. They all have the potential of becoming interesting pieces that could work well both on-screen and off-screen, but ultimately fail to achieve the latter. Nevertheless, there is one track that works well off-screen: “I’ve Got a Plane to Catch.” This is, undeniably, the most entertaining track on this CD. This piece has an engaging rhythm and instrumentation that most people will appreciate and enjoy. Too bad I cannot say the same thing for most of the other tracks on the album.
Overall, the album is nothing more than a collection of atmospheric tracks with very few interesting musical phrases, melodies, and harmonies. Giacchino’s nine-note piano theme used throughout the score is way too simple to be considered a great leitmotif. I’m sure many people will like its simplicity, but I still think Giacchino could’ve done much better. This is a wasted opportunity for Giacchino. He had the opportunity to create powerful themes that viewers could instantly associate with the TV Show. In the end, he relies too heavily on atmospheric sounds that are very difficult to appreciate as musical pieces — only hardcore fans of the show could argue otherwise.