| Sputnikmusic
 

Last night, ABC aired the penultimate episode for the TV drama Lost and with the finale coming up this Sunday, May 23, I thought it would be a great time to commemorate a show that was excellent in all fields, not just direction, acting, and writing, but also in music. Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy winner (just a Tony short of an EGOT) Michael Giacchino composed and arranged all the music for the show and his extensive use of leitmotifs helps shape the emotional backbone of the show: the character relations. A criticism shared by fans and critics is that the writing these nuanced relationships tend to be neglected among the madness and bliss of exploring time travel and reincarnations. As a result the grounding and moving effect provided by the scoring has needed to be that much more masterful. Looking at any individual character’s theme music confirms and cements character progressions that the show has developed over the past six years and maybe reveals secrets as to how character storylines will resolve in the final episode.

Warning: Spoilers

John Locke

Locke

When we first meet John Locke he is a mysterious figure, sporting a collection of knives and an understanding of stalking and killing boar, but as we delve into his past we see him as an emotionally fractured and physically crippled man yearning for love, normalcy, and redemption. This duality is given two distinct leitmotifs.

Locke’s mystery theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Locke’s yearning theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On the Island, Locke is defined by his ardent and sometimes blind faith. The foundation of this faith is that John, a cripple off the Island recovers his ability to walk. His belief that the Island is a special place is amplified when he encounters the smoke monster, an experience he describes to Jack in a strange but moving scene. Locke says “I looked into the eye of the Island, and what I saw…was beautiful.” This faith is tested (his trials in the hatch and battling with Ben), but ultimately Locke ascends as leader of The Others, which is purportedly Locke’s purpose, to protect the Island. At this point his mystery theme prevails over his yearning theme, and is harmonized with the ominously powerful (and Egyptian-evoking) I harmony with a bVI embellishment.

Fulfillment of Locke’s mysterious purpose and faith

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

However, as Locke’s story unfolds we realize he is really just a foil in a larger plan by an unnamed evil force (the Man in Black / smoke monster) of the Island. The Man in Black inhabits Locke’s body and uses his image to manipulate other characters. Fittingly, The Man in Black also appropriates Locke’s leader theme music. When we catch references to the real Locke, who is dead, his yearning theme is transformed into a broken, confused battle between delicate strings and a darker orchestral motif.

Locke post-mortem

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

As we approach the series finale, Locke’s tortured and confused yet admirable path doesn’t have an easy resolution. He hasn’t fulfilled some larger purpose as he fervently believed during his lifetime, but his unwavering belief is a guiding light for Jack’s transformation and inheritance of a larger title, that of candidate. If anything is to be learned from Locke’s flash sideways motif, his yearning side is an admirable if tragic part of his multivalent personality.

Locke, sideways

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Jack Shephard

Jack

Lost opens with an image of Jack Shepard’s dilated eye as he wakes up in a bamboo forest after a plane crash. After a few minutes of disorientation, Jack sprints to the beach and helps save a number of the crash victims, establishing himself as a leader and savior. Jack’s extreme dedication is the foundation of his capability as a leader, but is also his undoing. Off the Island, we see that overcommitment unravels Jack’s relationships with his father and wife, and on the Island it disables him from recognizing his fated role in the Island’s complex and faith-based mythology.

Despite the ensemble cast and multifaceted focus, Lost is often the story of Jack, so he has no one dedicated theme that evolves throughout. However, as Jack plays different roles – leader, rescuer, despondent, believer – he is accompanied by a variety of musical leitmotifs that are integrated into the larger score.

During Jack’s stay as the leader and savior of the castaways he is expeditious and pragmatic, but optimistic that he can lead his people to safety. Whenever Jack incites his followers to execute one of his plans we hear a capable, deterministic canon. When he leads them to the brink of being saved by the freighter we hear a hopeful but exasperated ascending theme.

Expedition theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Rescued theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Jack’s flashbacks (and flashforwards) reveal him as vulnerable and obsessive, culminating in the Season 3 finale where Jack staggers through the episode delirious on oxycodone and lamenting his role as savior.

Jack’s soft underbelly

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Jack despondent

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Jack’s redemption comes after his complete breakdown off-Island. He resolves himself to return to the island and acknowledge his role as another gear in the Island’s clockworks. A leader by spiritual persistence rather than pigheaded dedication, Jack’s music is now beautiful and unburdened, imbuing his character with an honest wisdom. Fittingly, the opening harmony is the same E minor that open’s Jacob’s theme.

Jack, candidate

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Jacob’s theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ben Linus

Ben Linus

As leader of The Others, Ben Linus was Lost’s primary antagonist from Seasons 2-5. Ben’s theme music is probably my favorite on the show because it uses Lost’s danger motif as a small chromatic passing tone in an otherwise lonely and emotive piano passage to cast Ben’s fragility as the foundation for his dangerous role as antagonist. Ben, like all of the characters on the show, has a weak, frightened persona under his projected facade, so while he embodies danger and evil on the surface he is equivalently tortured by the burden of his mother’s death and memories of his abusive father.

Danger theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ben’s theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ben’s theme, fully orchestrated as he turns the frozen donkey wheel

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Desmond Hume

Desmond

Desmond plays a pivotal role in Lost’s mythology. He has a place in the plane crash, destroying the hatch, finding Naomi, contacting the freighter, and even now has the new role of failsafe. Though Desmond as an Island role-player is complicated and intriguing, it’s his love for Penelope Widmore that renders him a worthwhile three-dimensional character and one of my favorites on the show. His love for Penny is surprisingly authentic and moving despite the cloying or goofy approach Lost usually takes with love plots. Desmond’s unabashedly melodic and romantic motif is the emotional anchor that drives him, even as he attempts to do something crazy like collapse a parallel universe or tap into the Island’s “light” source using his electromagnetic immunity.

Desmond’s theme

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Desmond’s theme, orchestrated

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Desmond, sideways

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Lost closes with a two and a half hour finale on Sunday, May 23.





Mordecai.
05.19.10
very interesting. I used to be so into this show, but it just got too fucking confusing

JWT155
05.19.10
Mighty fine read brother.

sniper
05.19.10
Fucking brilliant blog post.

DBlitz
05.19.10
lmao

DBlitz
05.19.10
"excellent in all fields, not just direction, acting, and writing" looooooooooooooooooooooool

Yotimi
05.19.10
It's funny cuz it's true

robin
05.19.10
haha this is awesome

thebhoy
05.19.10
lol nice.

Satellite
05.19.10
Wow, this is awesome.

Satellite
05.19.10
The Desmond sideways theme rules.

I thought last night's episode had an amazing score.

Tits McGee
05.19.10
I liked lost for the first 2 seasons, but shit got crazy after that. I want to watch the finale though because I have a feeling the whole thing is going to be a retarded kid's daydream.

theacademy
05.19.10
love shannon singing "La Mer" in season 1

robin
05.19.10
no way ruins they discredited that idea in season 2

OR DID THEY?

Tits McGee
05.19.10
I think some St. Elsewhere lite shit is about to go down

robin
05.19.10
hahaha oh god

ninjuice
05.19.10
" I used to be so into this show, but it just got too fucking stupid and/or ridiculous"
Fixed

therayder
05.19.10
Pretty awesome post

Mordecai.
05.19.10
thanks for your correction ninjuice

Niceinvader
05.20.10
fucking ace

Omaha
05.21.10
I love Sputnik, and I love Lost. This was a great read- thank you for putting the time into this, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

liledman
05.21.10
interesting stuff dude. final ep is going to be ridiculous.

mmfarva
05.21.10
Lost is amazing.

HugCrewLoveRoll
05.22.10
One of the worst shows ever.

ant4tbc
05.23.10
One of the best shows ever.

dylantheairplane
05.23.10
Series is ending tonight guys..... :[

Zion
05.24.10
Finale was so incredibly lame. But series overall was fun.

DFelon204409
05.24.10
Not that lame...

acorncheese
05.25.10
Finale was amazing

therayder
05.25.10
Finale was amazing [2]

Gyromania
06.24.10
Did anyone else find this show difficult to first get into?

Satellite
06.06.11
bump because this is awesome and i completely forgot about it until now

acorncheese
06.06.11
whoaaaaaaa me too. this show's soundtrack will never be topped imo. not by any film or show.

theacademy
06.06.11
my words

are like a dagger with a jagged edge

Satellite
06.06.11
em's best song? y/y

Satellite
06.06.11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77QfweqNr1I

i find this sorta lulz worthy idk

theacademy
06.06.11
seriously he was such a great character i would totally watch a tv show re-telling seasons' 3-5 from just ben's perspective with an extended period of him and sayid killing fuckers

acorncheese
06.06.11
fuck yeah

Satellite
06.06.11
that would rule. just have ben repeatedly manipulate sayid into killing widmore's associates until it gets to the point where he's killing the janitors and shit.

theacademy
06.06.11
relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vqmILSKfew

Satellite
06.06.11
also relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qnr8ORs_BE

theacademy
06.06.11
yours is so much better

wyankeif1337
06.06.11
fuck, i miss this show so much.

Ire
06.06.11






theacademy
06.06.11











You need to be logged in to post a comment
Login | Register

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy