“There’s always music in the air”: 5 Twin Peaks Music Covers You Shouldn’t Miss
“Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song and there’s always music in the air”. This is one of the cryptic messages spoken by The Man From Another Place (or The Arm, if you prefer) during one of the most iconic moments from the first season of Twin Peaks. The red-suited spirit then starts to dance clumsily and eerily, as a baffled Agent Cooper stares at him. The music The Arm dances to is “Dance of the Dream Man” and is just one selection out of the monumental score composed by Angelo Badalamenti specifically for Twin Peaks.
David Lynch had previously collaborated with Badalamenti on Blue Velvet, so he knew what he could expect from him. The duo joined forces (and talents) again and went on to create what is probably the most recognizable soundtrack in TV history. Whether it’s the popular “Falling” theme from the opening credits or the haunting “Laura Palmer’s Theme”, there’s no doubt that part of the success of Twin Peaks is derived from its score. The music is sometimes chilling, sometimes suspenseful and other times even cheerful, but whatever the case it helps shape Twin Peaks’ surreal atmospheres in ways worldwide audiences are not accustomed to.
Dream pop often meets industrial soundscapes; jazzy saxophones blend in with dark ambient; the sultry, thinner-than-air voice of Julee Cruise alternates with Jimmy Scott’s raw and scratchy vocals… and, ultimately, indeed “there’s always music in the air”. The music of Twin Peaks has spawned four albums so far. Both Soundtrack From Twin Peaks (1990) and Twin Peaks Music: Season Two Music And More (2007) include pieces from the TV series, whereas Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) contains music from the movie. Furthermore, starting in 2011, The Twin Peaks Archive was made available for digital download from the defunct DavidLynch.com: the archive comprehended 211 unused tracks and never-before-released pieces and variations.
Music has never ceased to be in the air. The juxtaposition of different styles and the dreamlike images conveyed by the score have contributed to reinforce Twin Peaks’ legendary legacy, becoming a source of inspiration for several artists. And now that Badalamenti is back in the new series and two new soundtrack albums are due to release on September 8th – Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Soundtrack) will contain new pieces by Badalamenti and Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series) will include the songs performed at the Roadhouse – the time has come to see how Twin Peaks music has influenced artists and songwriters over the past 25 years. Here are some of the covers you should not miss.
1- Xiu Xiu Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks – Xiu Xiu – 2016
In 2015, Australia’s Gallery Of Modern Art commissioned experimental American band Xiu Xiu to revisit the music from Twin Peaks for the David Lynch: Between Two Worlds exhibit. In 2016, their work has been issued on a concept tribute album, containing 12 of the most famous pieces from the score, all presented in new avant-garde arrangements.
2- Sycamore Trees – Niitch – 2016
Belgian band Niitch has given an underground reinterpretation of “Sycamore Trees”, one of the only 8 non-instrumental songs penned by Lynch/Badalamenti for Twin Peaks (the other 7 being “Falling”, “The Nightingale”, “Into The Night”, “A Real Indication”, “Questions In A World Of Blue”, “The Black Dog Runs At Night” and “Just You”). The track is accompanied by a Log-Lady-in-Glanstonbury-Grove inspired music video.
3- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – Fantomas – 2001
In 2001, American metal band Fantomas released The Director’s Cut, a collection of cover versions of themes from popular movies. Track 15 is dedicated to Fire Walk With Me. The movie’s main theme is played, as Mike Patton sings: “Memory fade to gray / My smile, your name / Roof leaks, dim lights / Low rent, high tide / Boxsprings, spare change / Your scent, my ways / Your breath, my air / Fog lifts, I stare / You’re gone, but I’m there / I’m gone but you’re there”.
4- Just You – Ringo Deathstarr – 2014
Indie band Ringo Deathstarr gives a haunting performance of the (in)famous “Just You” for their EP Shadow. You can almost picture it being performed live at the Roadhouse!
5- Falling – Chrysta Bell – 2017
Texan singer and David Lynch’s own favorite muse Chrysta Bell (a.k.a. Special FBI Agent Tamara Preston in the new series) follows Julee Cruise’s footsteps and gives her rendition of “Falling”, Twin Peaks’ famous opening theme song. Bell is unstoppable: not only is she playing Agent Preston, but she’s also touring the world promoting her brand new album We Dissolve, featuring music by David Lynch himself. It’s definitely worth a listen!
So, as you can see, Twin Peaks music has proven to be able to stand the test of time. Never old-fashioned, it hasn’t aged at all, but always “come back in style”. Like The Arm we mentioned above, it’s grown into a wonderful tree, whose branches have been touching the soul and creativity of new generations of performers… and, like The Arm, music has been evolving: some re-sample it, some remix it and some create new pieces evoking the original, defining the essence of reinvention. What do you think about Twin Peaks music? Do you have any other covers to suggest? Feel free to leave a comment, like or share.