January 8, 2012

My Top 20 Twin Peaks Tracks

While we wait for the Archive releases to resume (hopefully this week), I thought I'd put up a top twenty list of my personal favorite tracks. Whittling down all of the amazing tracks to just 20 is pretty hard, but I gave it a whack anyway. I was inspired by the redroom podcast blog, who put together their own list of Archive tracks (see it here). Thanks for the mention, guys. 
Anyway, here goes...

1. Twin Peaks 
(Season One) (Original Soundtrack)
The track that introduced us all to the world of Twin Peaks. I still remember seeing those opening credits of the Pilot way back in 1990. Badalamenti's music taking us into a new world. TV would never be the same. This was also the very first track to be officially released. A cassette single (remember those?) was released even before the original soundtrack. Featuring the vocal version on side A (which was already available on Julee Cruise's "Floating Into The Night" album), and the instrumental version on side B. I listened to mine on a continuous loop for a while.

2. Laura Palmer's Theme 
(Season One) (Original Soundtrack)
Even more than the "Twin Peaks" Theme, this track perfectly represents Twin Peaks. All the haunting beauty, loss and sadness is here. The darker more atmospheric synth passages mixed with the more melodramatic piano passages. It is the soul of the series, and of Laura herself. As a bit of trivia, the original soundtrack was the first CD I ever bought.

3. Fire Walk With Me 
(FWWM) (FWWM Soundtrack)
The soundtrack for FWWM was released before the film came out, and I had already played it continuously before seeing the movie. There were many highlights (including the premiere of Jimmy Scott's "Sycamore Trees" from the final episode of the series). But for me, the best track was the FWWM Theme. Just as "Laura Palmer's Theme" had done for the series, the FWWM Theme was able to capture the mood, feeling, and emotion of the film in one theme. Dark, sad, noir. This is FWWM.

4. Annie And Cooper
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
From the moment I saw this scene when the original episode first aired, I wanted this track. One of my favorite scenes from the series and one of my favorite tracks. I remember when Badalamenti first announced that a second season soundtrack would be released, he asked for requests on his Myspace page. This was my number one hope, and I was really bummed it was left off the release. Thank god for the TP Archive! Essentially a jazzier rendition of "Audrey's Prayer", it will forever remind me of Cooper & Annie's sweet romance. One that I am in the minority in in loving.

5. New Shoes 
(Season Two) (Season Two Soundtrack)
Certainly one of the best tracks to come out of the series, and one that most probably grew into the FWWM Theme. Dark, melancholy, jazzy and brilliant. Going back and reviewing the series, you see that this theme actually popped up quite a bit after it was introduced in episode 14. But for me it was most memorable in Cooper's interrogation by Agent Hardy, and in the Nadine scene in the final episode. Essential Twin Peaks.

6. Audrey's Prayer 
(Season Two) (Season Two Soundtrack)
The heart and soul of season two. One of the most beautiful tracks to come out of the series, and helped to elevate each scene in which it was heard. I always thought the most unfortunate thing about the original soundtrack was that since it was released before the second season, this gem was missing from it. Well, we only had to wait 17 more years for its release.

7. Hook Rug Dance 
(Season Two) (Season Two Soundtrack)
This song featured in two extremely memorable scenes (and two others). The Horne boys remember Louise Dembrowski, and being a fan of Cooper & Annie's romance, one of my favorite, feel-good scenes of the series- when Cooper tells Annie the penguin joke. It just makes you smile. One of the highlights of season two that deservedly found a place on the second season soundtrack.

8. Twin Peaks (Solo Rhodes) 
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
Aside form "Annie And Cooper", this was the other track that I was hoping would show up on the second season soundtrack. I still remember seeing the MT Wentz scene with Norma and her mother for the first time and thinking what a very cool version of the theme this was.

9. Dark Mood Woods (Studio Version) 
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
The final episode of the series was amazing and special for many reasons. And certainly a part of that was due to this new composition that appears nowhere else in the series. It's dark, droning atmosphere creates a new mood that is so unique and mesmerizing. The original version is amazing as well, but of the two, the Studio Version takes the edge for me. And its release was probably the biggest surprise of the TP Archive.

10. Harold's Theme (The Living Novel) 
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
Harold Smith was a unique and memorable presence in the Twin Peaks storyline. One that I wish would have been explored even more. Harold got his own haunting theme as well. The alternate, shorter version appeared on the second soundtrack. But this version was used much more and was one of my biggest hopefuls for release from the Archive. The slow version (released as "Harold's Theme (Josie's Past)" is fantastic as well.

11. Laura Palmer's Theme (Ethereal Pad Version) 
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
I was surprised when this ethereal version of the synth sections of "Laura Palmer's Theme" was not included on the second soundtrack. Especially considering its prominence in episode 23 where it becomes the soundtrack for Josie's unravelling situation. Perhaps its simplicity and short running time kept it off the release. Thankfully we have the TP Archive!

12. Shelly 
(Season Two) (Season Two Soundtrack)
Sweet little track that plays in the memorable scene where Shelly tells Norma she needs to quit her job in episode 14, and as part of the Nadine scene in the final episode. One of many tracks I had recorded the audio (dialogue and all) off my VHS tapes in the years before it was eventually released on the second soundtrack.

13. Josie And Truman 
(Season Two) (Season Two Soundtrack)
Lovely jazzy atmosphere to drown your sorrows in. Perfectly showcased in episode 24 when Truman mourns Josie. Sort of a melding of the Great Northern piano tracks (of which there is a version of this track) with the more jazzier tracks. Love Is Hell.

14. Wheeler's Theme 
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
The Audrey/Wheeler romance might not be a fan favorite, but I guess I like it more than most fans, and this little tune added a lot to making those scenes more likable. A track I was really waiting for, it's fantastic to finally have it. This twangy and warm little guitar track is really unlike anything else in the TP cannon, and instantly gave a different identity and voice to the character of Jack.

15. The Bookhouse Boys (Full) 
(Season One) (Twin Peaks Archive)
Originally released as part of a montage track on the original soundtrack (along with "Dance Of The Dream Man (Solo Sax)", "Solo Percussion 2" and "Sneaky Audrey"), we finally got the full version in all its glory from the Archive. The soundtrack montage version is actually nice as well, but I prefer the full original track.

16. Dance Of The Dream Man 
(Season One) (Original Soundtrack)
All the tracks on the original soundtrack will probably forever remain memorable because that soundtrack was so popular. And because it was all we, as fans, had for so long. "Dance Of The Dream Man" is essential Twin Peaks. Its finger-snapping, playful jazz sound became instantly recognizable. And its connection with Cooper and his dream, one of the most talked about, iconic and memorable scenes in the entire series only makes it more essential.

17. Freshly Squeezed (Full) 
(Season One) (Twin Peaks Archive)
The Twin Peaks sound is probably known for two things, the more atmospheric synth stuff, and something that was (and remains) pretty unique in the TV soundtrack world: jazz. The finger-snapping jazz sound of many of Twin Peaks' tracks became forever linked to how people remember the show. Often showcasing its playful side and definitely adding to Twin Peaks' unique feel. "Freshly Squeezed" in its many different versions was the most used. It's been great getting this track in its different versions from the Archive. All of the versions are great, but I'm sticking with the original for this list. The version on the original soundtrack was edited, and we finally saw the full version released from the TP Archive.

18. Owl Cave 
(Season Two) (Twin Peaks Archive)
Wonderfully atmospheric track introduced in season two that became linked to the more mysterious and supernatural aspects of the show.

19. The Pink Room 
(FWWM) (FWWM Soundtrack)
The lone non-Badalamenti track on this list. Lynch actually created this track with the musicians of Fox Bat Strategy. One of the most powerful and memorable scenes in the movie, especially in theaters with its blaring sound mix. Unfortunately, the DVD release completely botched the delicate sound mix in this scene, taking away some of its impact. The track itself though is fantastic, along with its counterpart, "Blue Frank" which was released on the second season soundtrack. Both should be played LOUD.

20. Birds In Hell 
(FWWM) (Twin Peaks Archive)
We round out the list with one more FWWM track. One of the real revelations of the Archive releases was the sublime full version of "Birds In Hell", which was released as part of a montage on the FWWM soundtrack. The full version is truly beautiful.

So that's my personal best. And who knows, perhaps something yet to come will eventually make this list?

So what are your favorite tracks?


  1. Scott From the Red Room Podcast. love your list. I didn't think of ranking the ones from the CD. I think we have a similar love for the same tracks. I have said often, I love the music more than the show, and I love the show alot!!! www.redroompodcast.com

  2. My list would be much different. Dark Mood Woods in my number one. And I can't imagine such list without Mister Snooty. But I'll wait with my list until we'll get all TPA tracks ;-)

  3. I was going to wait as well, but who knows how long it will take to get all the tracks at the current rate. By then my list will probably have changed. So hard to narrow it down as I love all the music.

  4. Hey Ross,

    Since it is hard to choose when we don't have all the tracks yet (but we do have over 150 TP tracks, can you believe it??), here are my top 5:

    1. Night Bells (intensely surreal & atmospheric, especially with the lights off, so gorgeous)

    2. The Voice of Love - FWWM Instrumental (beyond beautiful, even after hearing hundreds of times, never gets old)

    3. New Shoes (like you said, essential TP - I think of it as "Cooper's Theme" for the second season)

    4. Birds In Hell - Full Version (it took my breath away to hear this in it's entirety - compliments The Voice Of Love so nicely on my complete soundtrack FWWM collection)

    5. Josie & Truman (another gorgeous track - the Cooper & Wheeler in front of the fireplace scene always stands out because of this lush piece of music)

    - Jallen

    1. Nice list Jallen! I love Night Bells too. Just missed my list- its so hard to narrow them all down. I actually think the version released isn't the same as the version heard in the show. It has added elements, much like "Shelly", "Audrey", "James & Evelyn", & "Packard's Vibration" all were altered with added elements for the CD release.

  5. Thanks! I agree that Badalamenti seems to have "spruced up" the selections for the Second Season CD release. Imagine if he could work on a boxed set of all of the dl.com tracks, with his own edits, mixes and running track order. I would buy it (needless to say)!

    - Jallen

  6. in no particular order, but I love #1,3,4 and 12 with very special love :)

    1. Laura Palmer's Theme (Piano & Rhodes)
    2. Nightsea Wind
    3. Dark Mood Woods Studio Version
    4. Voice of Love (instrumental)
    5. Audrey's Prayer (Clarinet & Synth)
    6. Owl Cave
    7. Slow Speed Orchestra 1 (24 Hours)
    8. Half Speed Orchestra 7
    9. Dance of the Dream Man (Solo Sax)
    10. The Bookhouse Boys (Original OST version)
    11. Laura Palmer's Theme (Clarinet Strings Bridge)
    12. Sneaky Audrey (Audrey's Investigation)
    13. Love Theme Farewell
    14. The Nightingale
    15. Blue Frank
    16. Shelly
    17. I'm Hurt Bad
    18. Fire Walk With Me Theme
    19. Laura Palmer's Theme (Dark Synth)
    20. The Culmination