Today I’m reviewing the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Original Soundtrack, produced by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch and released in 1992. A bit late, yeah, but hey…better late than never, right? Season 3 of Twin Peaks is in progress as we speak, so I’m reviewing this soundtrack in honor of its return to television after 25 years!
If you decide to watch the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me for the first time, chances are you will either turn it off quickly out of confusion, frustration, or fear… or you become an obsessed fan like so many devotees of David Lynch and his strange universe of bizarre characters, odd dialogue, sex, violence, and various non sequiturs.
Back in 1992, if you decided to watch the movie Fire Walk With Me, it was probably because you were already a fan of the early 1990’s cult classic television show and were already hooked on the plot, which tends to draw people in a number of ways. The original series left a LOT of questions unanswered, presumably on purpose, thanks to Lynch being a master of suspense and also a master of toying with his audience.
Here is the original international trailer to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
So, anyway, if you are just tuning in, do NOT watch Fire Walk With Me first, because then you’ve already fucked up the order of things and will have spoiled the big reveal of “Who killed Laura Palmer” for yourself. You need to start with the Season One pilot, and go from there. Because, although FWWM is a prequel to the series, you mustn’t watch it first.
Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me Soundtrack Review
Fire Walk With Me is a soundtrack that I’ve personally been listening to for over 20 years now. So I am rather familiar with it and I’ve had a long time to decide what I think about it. After all this time, I’m still a big fan of it. It is the perfect counterpart to the movie of the same name, which is, let’s just say, very dark. The soundtrack is the film’s perfect counterpart, featuring a lot of jazzy numbers that are all at once beautiful, sad, and haunting. A lot of this music is the kind of jazz that you hear after hours at some hole in the wall club – the kind of club where you’re liable to get knifed. Anywho, each song goes in a different emotional direction and gives the listener a lot of contrasts, musically speaking. I’m not going to go through the soundtrack strictly in order here, so be warned.
Take a song like “The Black Dog Runs At Night”. I always thought this song was really creepy with its super low bass notes and the sound of the wind blowing, but also it kind of makes me laugh once in a while. I doubt this is anyone’s favorite song in the world, but for some reason, I find it very entertaining. I want to leave this song on someone’s answering machine just to freak them out. Angelo Badalamenti provides vocals, and would you agree they’re pretty damn creepy? I’d pay for someone to play this song during a wedding reception, just to see peoples’ faces turn to terror.
Let’s look at another song – “Questions In A World of Blue”. By now, I’ve had plenty of time to get used to the sound of Julee Cruise’s beautiful voice, but it never ceases to amaze me. I have all her albums (Lynch-related and not), and I really hope that on Season 3, she comes back somewhere along the line. But see, to me, this particular song is a bit corny, mainly because of its lyrics. However, because the arrangement of the song is so refined and the instruments are played with such impeccable subtelty, I can’t help but be moved by it. At the same time, Twin Peaks is a series that plays a lot with clichés, and so it makes sense that a sort of warped soap opera has songs that are appropriately schmaltzy.
“The Pink Room”, which is credited musically to David Lynch and not Angelo, is one of my major favorites on this album. I’ve always loved the vibe of the song and me and my friend used to jam on it in our old band. I always loved the drum beat. The song is classic Lynch, in that it seems to reflect his taste in music and it is suitably dark enough for this film, playing a key role, in fact. I love this scene in the movie, and the music for it is perfect. I can’t help but think of the scene when I hear the song. But, even without thinking about how it fits into FWWM (which is damn near impossible), I just love this track to death. It’s just such a sexy, dark, sleazy track that really kicks ass and makes for a great extended live-sounding jam. I bet they had fun playing this one.
“Sycamore Trees”, with a powerful vocal by legendary jazz singer Jimmy Scott, basically catches the listener (or at least this listener) off guard with a voice that is both androgynous and beautiful, and also filled to the brim with sadness. I never really knew what to think of this song, to be honest, but there’s no denying that it is well arranged and put together. I think that I like it, but, like Fire Walk With Me, it might be an acquired taste and you need to be in the right mood for a song like this. What mood is that? I have no idea. The song is just sad and spooky, and the guys’ voice is just disarming in some way. Perfect music for this psychodrama, which frequently deals with tragedy.
“The Voice of Love” is yet another heart-string-tugging instrumental that I sometimes confuse with the Julee Cruise song from her second album of the same name. Like all the instrumentals on this album, “The Voice of Love” is perfect for this kind of perfectly bizarro soap opera of a series that Twin Peaks is. Since Fire Walk With Me is a real cavalcade of fractured emotional trauma, songs like this just mesh perfectly. There are no words, but none are needed. At once cheesy but also dripping with real emotion, I feel like this final track on the album is just another tearjerker that Badalamenti seems so adept at creating.
Ok, one more track and then I’ll leave it up to you to listen to the rest. “A Real Indication” is another Badalamenti song where he gets involved vocally, and creates a strange character for the song that seems to fit into the Twin Peaks world. I always got a kick of this song, because it was just so unorthodox lyrically and also vocally. It is very entertaining, and almost worthy of a laugh or two because it is just so zany. I love it. I also enjoy how it is credited to Angelo and the Thought Gang. Who or what is the “Thought Gang”? I don’t know, I never figured it out. I just assumed that they were made up to go along with this song, because it is fairly distinct on the album with this weird guy talking like a kind of crazy person, making pretty much no sense (but I guess perfect sense according to Twin Peaks logic).
Without referencing the FWWM film, the soundtrack does stand on its own as a work of art, and Angelo Badalamenti deserves much of the credit here for crafting some of the slinkiest, sexiest, saddest, most disturbing, and most tragically romantic music ever put to wax. Speaking of wax, there is a new vinyl reissue of this album that just came out that people should check out.
With Season 3 of Twin Peaks in full swing and Evil Coop and Dougie Coop both on the loose, you know that fans of the series are having a grand old time reading into the various mysteries and cliffhangers that the show presents. The amount of fan reaction videos that keep coming out is unbelievable! Fire Walk With Me, while it wasn’t a blockbuster hit and certainly did not rake in millions at the box office upon its release, stands the test of time as a bizarre cult film that made it into the popular culture and probably traumatized a lot of regular people, and drove the fans of the show wild. The soundtrack just added to the allure of the movie and the series overall, and it’s a must-hear for Twin Peaks fans if they don’t already know it note for note.
So, if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere at night sometime, THIS is your soundtrack. 5 cups of deep black joe out of 5!