20th Anniversary of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Blog Part 1 of 4
The year 1992 is probably remembered by most people as the year Bill Clinton took the oval office but for a small group of vocal fans, 1992 was the year that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me hit the big screen. I was already a huge Twin Peaks fan. So much so that I had devoted an entire wall to my Twin Peaks collection. This is something I still do today. You would have thought I would have lost the fan boy in me after 20 years, or so my wife wishes, as Laura still hangs over my computer station along with my complete collection of Twin Peaks gold box DVD postcards. I was so excited that new Twin Peaks was coming to my town. I could not believe that after the way ABC had dumped Twin Peaks that we would ever find out what happened to Cooper once BOB took him over. Jokes on me since we never did. David Lynch was much too smart to give us something that we could imagine on our own. So, he gave us a story about a character that we already thought we knew everything about, Laura Palmer. What we learned from the movie was that we knew nothing about her; wasn't that exactly what Twin Peaks was about in the first place? The Homecoming Queen with the drug habit. The angel with the devil's behavior that no one really knew. Had Lynch picked up the story right where we left off, I doubt we would still be deciphering it 20 years later.
And so I begin a four-part blog that will continue over 2012 about Fire Walk With Me (FWWM). The movie based on the great television show by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Most movies that are 20 years old feel 30 or 40 years old. FWWM needed 20 years just for people to catch up to it. On a weekly basis, Josh and I discuss how advanced television has become with shows challenging our comfort in narrative, character and morals. When you watch FWWM today, it shows you that story telling is still back in the 50's (just like the clothes and cars in Twin Peaks.) No one has ever moved story telling as forward as David Lynch did with a movie that was universally panned all around the world. In a future blog, I am going to discuss the critical aspect of the movie but today I focus on my favorite part which is the music of Twin Peaks.
Angelo Badalamenti changed television history with his score of Twin Peaks. It is like a tipping point or a line in the sand on the television landscape. Before Angelo music was just thrown up on the screen and reused week after week. After him, shows began actually creating themes and using music as a character on a weekly basis. This is something that Bernard Herrmann did back in the 60's with Hitchcock movie scores and it took over 20 years for someone to bring it to television. I think the casual viewer thinks that the long-term effect of Twin Peaks is coffee and donuts but to me its the music. As an ironic aside, I am eating a donut and drinking coffee as I write this but still I submit the music is what matters. David and Angelo began their collaboration during the film Blue Velvet. I have always viewed that score as a prequel to the greatness that was to come. If you have the chance to watch Angelo talk about their writing experiences on the Twin Peaks gold box set, I strongly suggest it. It's amazing. For about 17 years or so Twin Peaks music fans had to be satisfied with just two soundtracks. One from season 1 and the other from FWWM. But in 2007 a season two soundtrack was released. It contained some of the themes that I had been waiting for since the 90's. The Hook Rug Dance, Half a Heart and Laura's Dark Boogie. For awhile, I was very satisfied. But there was still so much missing and even worse it proved to me that the tracks existed. We all know fan boys are never happy until their collection is complete. Then came the David Lynch Music company. In 2011, David Lynch opened a website that would release mp3 tracks, about one a week, for a low price of 99 cents a track. All of them never before released and all of them like cherry pie to Agent Cooper.
I found out about the releases from the greatest site for David Lynch information that I know of, Dugpa.com Honestly, I didn't really believe it. A site that was going to release the background music for songs that were never on any of the official soundtrack's? Come on? That is using the internet for good. We all know there is a lawyer out there stopping things like that from happening. There I was listening to the Deer Meadow Shuffle for a mere 99 cents. My good friend at the Twin Peaks Archive would tweet an announcement each time that a new song came out and I would dutifully download another gem. Listen to our 2 part interview with The Twin Peaks Archive here and here. Then I discovered that some one was making MP3 art to put on each track. So, I visited the site a day after a release and would get a beautiful icon to put on each of my songs. This is how the internet and commerce are supposed to co-exist in the new millennium. I have money to spend, you put something out I want, and I buy it. You don't charge me $5.00 a song instead you charge me 99 cents. In return, I don't try to steal them for free from another site and we are all happy. If you are a fan of this great music, I strongly suggest that you head over and pick up some tunes. I have listed my top 10 favorite releases that have come out so far.
My top 10 releases, adding up to 25 minutes of Twin Peaks Music I never thought I would hear.
1. RR Swing - Fire Walk With Me. This is the track I didn't even know I wanted but listen to the most. It has all the swing and movement of true Twin Peaks. This is why I love that these tracks have been released. It wasn't one that I really coveted but as soon as I heard it, I could see Shelley and Laura preparing the meals on wheels at the RR Diner. I get that not all the tracks could be released on disk but in the MP3 world, now it can.
2. Annie and Cooper - Season 2. This has been a track I always wanted to own. When Cooper and Annie dance the night before the Miss Twin Peaks Contest, you feel all the love and longing that Cooper has had for many years. You can make the argument that this romance happened too quickly and is average TV; but in the long run, it makes more sense for Cooper to find love with an adult and not a high school girl.
3. Great Northern Tojamura - Season 2. I am a piano player so these songs speak to me. This song is a great example of how Angelo did not just phone in his score. This piano song plays in the background while different characters eat at the Great Northern. Angelo developed different piano songs that play during the scenes which contain themes from other characters. This is the kind of track that really is the heart of what the show was all about. There is always music in the air.
4. Phillip Jeffries - Fire Walk With Me. Everyone who has seen FWWM knows it's scary. But how cool to have a song that is scary. When I hear this track it makes me turn around to see if anyone is behind me. There were several tracks that were released that are just as scary as this. Josh said it best when he said the secret to solving the movie is within the soundtrack. You can hear BOB, the midget and all of the Black Lodge in this track.
5. Mr. Snooty - Season 2. This song is a song that has haunted me for years. While the artwork that is chosen displays one of the worst characters ever on the show, the scene I remember is Leland standing at the Victrola swaying back and forth getting ready to dance with Donna. The music is so Laurence Welk and the scene is so Stephen King. Music and acting collide as Ray Wise sways back and forth. I even emailed the guy who made the artwork to ask for a Leland icon for this track. No luck yet.
6. Deer Meadow Shuffle - Fire Walk With Me. This was the track that led me to wonder about the release of more songs. I remember sitting there in 1992 comparing the end credits to the CD soundtrack. I saw Deer Meadow Shuffle on the screen. It would take 19 years until I would finally own it. It was worth the wait. The first 20 minutes of FWWM is an alternate universe to Twin Peaks and the feel of this song sums it up perfectly. It's the same yet different.
7. The Norwegians - Season 1. This was the first song that made me notice the music in the pilot. I am sure for most people it was the Laura Palmer Theme but I am a comedian at heart. When this music started and the cuts start between Audrey and the Norwegians started, I could see how much the music helped the scene. I think that is when I started paying attention to the soundtrack and I believe that was in the first 20 minutes of the show.
8. Dark Mood Woods - Season 2. There is many a discussion about the second season of Twin Peaks. To me this track is the heart of the season and the soul of the woods. When this track starts up you feel the unease of the Douglas Firs; you know that something is in the air and you watch on the edge of your seat. There is a mix of this track on the Season 2 CD but this is a release that only has the mood and what a mood it is.
9. Owl's Cave - Season 2. From the very first couple of notes in this track you feel an owl is watching over you. Angelo was amazing at coming up with new themes for other stories. There are many scenes that could have just re-used music at this late date in an already cancelled series but again he didn't just phone it in. There were several scary tracks I could have picked but I went with this one because the owls are not what they seem.
10. Wheeler Theme - Season 2. This was one of the latest releases and one I had wanted desperately. I wasn't overly taken with the Audrey/Justice story but what I like about this theme is that it is like nothing else on the show. That is because he comes from outside of Twin Peaks. When a true artist is at work, he brings an attention to detail that will allow an audience to realize something, even if they don't realize it.
This is part 1 of a 4 part blog about the impact of Fire Walk With Me from Twin Peaks. Special thanks to Twin Peaks Soundtrack Design for the use of his MP3 Icon Art, please check out his site at http://twinpeakssoundtrackdesign.blogspot.com/
Check out Part 2 of this Blog Here About the Lynch legacy.
Part 3 discusses the great Quotes from Twin Peaks
Check out Part 4 here.
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