Doctor Who Series 5 Soundtrack Review – Part 1

Doctor Who Seres 5The Doctor Who: Series 5 Soundtrack is the only Doctor Who soundtrack I own, and to be honest it will probably be the only one I ever own – but not because it’s a total let–down and a waste of money. Quite the opposite, in fact. The series 5 soundtrack is so stunning, so fantastic, that I feel the other soundtracks just won’t live up to it. Having not listened to many of the others, I can’t say whether or not that’s true, and what I have heard as been very good – but, I feel, not as good as Series 5!

I feel that this soundtrack really adds to the episodes, and when you listen to it you can work out exactly which piece is from each episode – without looking at the track listing! One thing I really like about the soundtrack is how every piece incorporates the Doctor Who theme, whether it’s just as an undertone that may only be noticeable to a practiced ear, or a full on orchestral theme. It just makes it so unique to anything else I have on my iPod, so even if I have it on shuffle and don’t look at the screen at all, I can still automatically say “That’s from Doctor Who!” – it’s just so recognisable, and possibly one of the most recognisable themes there is!

So onto the music itself. The opening track is, of course, Doctor Who XI and is the theme of the 11th Doctor. It’s probably the most recognisable piece from this soundtrack, alongside I Am The Doctor and although it’s short, it certainly packs a punch! To me, it’s a really excellent piece of music – and it leads very well into the second piece, Down To Earth. This is the piece played when the Doctor’s TARDIS is on its way to landing in the garden of Amelia Pond, and I feel it’s really fitting. It starts of quietly, but gradually builds up to a crescendo and you can just picture the TARDIS flying around madly when you listen to – it’s great! Then we have Little Amy. This is the first track on the album where THAT voice comes in. It’s so haunting, but so beautiful at the same time. As with the previous piece, you can just picture what’s going on in the scene; it starts off slow and haunting with the voice as Amy is sitting in her room, but then you hear the sound of something that doesn’t belong. Something that sounds like it doesn’t really belong in the piece – and definitely doesn’t belong in the bedroom of Amelia Pond!

We then go from a piece that sounds, as I said, haunting and melodic, to something that’s definitely a lot cheerier! Somehow, Murray Gold has managed to get Fish Custard to sound – of all things – curious! How can a piece sound curious? you may ask. Well, listen to this piece and you’ll soon understand! From the curiosity of the Doctor looking for food, you then get the fast–pace that really makes you think he’s found the food he’s after – just to discover that the beans are away down the sink, and he’s on the hunt again! This piece really captures the element of a strange Doctor, as you can practically hear him running around Amy’s kitchen, and the final few bars are just excellent because FINALLY! The Doctor’s found his new delicacy – Fish Fingers and Custard. Not something I’d try myself… If Fish Custard was a relatively cheery and kooky sounding piece, Can I Come With You takes that atmosphere and throws it to the wind as it brings back the voice that seems a pretty common feature in themes for Amy. It’s a piece that really tugs on your heartstrings, because of course we know what the Doctor is like, and how time is for him – poor Amy ends up waiting a lot longer than she bargained for – and to be honest, the melody of this piece is just absolutely fantastic. I love it.

Little Amy – The Apple is another track that I love, and I feel that it leads on very well from the previous one. Both contain The Voice (I’m going to start capitalising that now, it needs personified!) and the melody is somewhat similar, but at the same time it’s easy to discern between pieces. At first you think it’s quite a sad piece, and to an extent you’d be right, but there is definitely an element of hope in there which is something that makes it a lovely piece of music in my opinion. Track 7 is another comically named piece – but The Sun’s Gone Wibbly has none of the comic-y element that you found in Fish Custard. This piece is another quite fast–paced one, after the slow beginning, and you can hear that there’s definitely something urgent that needs a little help from the Doctor! At one point, there’s the noise of something a lot like alarms in the background, however it’s pretty quiet so you’d need to be listening carefully for it! About halfway through the piece, we get new Voices in, a mix of male and female chorus this time, and it gives me chills every time! And then comes the Doctor Who theme we know and love, before ending on a bang – quite literally! Zero is a piece that I at first overlooked as nothing really special, and whilst I’m still not a huge fan of it, I do appreciate the musicality of it. It’s definitely repetitive for a while, but that just adds to the effect, rather than make it dull and boring. Definitely a nice piece, just not my favourite from the album.

Talking of favourites… I Am The Doctor. This is, I think, the longest (or at least one of the longest) pieces on the album, and it’s just great. I adore it. It’s a mix of the 11th Doctor’s Theme, and the main Doctor Who theme, but then there’s a whole new theme thrown into it too. That description may make it sound rather messy, but in fact it’s the opposite – it’s very organised, and sounds amazing. It’s the type of piece that, when listening to it, you can feel yourself nodding your head or tapping a foot in time to it because it just makes you want to MOVE. In fact, just to try and show what I mean, I’ll leave the link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D-QPDGhCtM and I’ll urge you to listen to it – go, now! – and just try and see if you can stop yourself from tapping your foot along!

After that masterpiece, we have The Mad Man With A Box (I can’t listen to this without saying, either aloud or in my head, “I am definitely a mad man with a box”.) which once again features The Voice, but it’s different to the usual “Ooh-ooh oh” kind of thing, and is more “Da-da-da-da-da-duuuu” but obviously slightly more musical, and slightly, well… better than I’ve typed it! Once The Voice has left, we get a hammering theme which just adds to how “mad” a man the Doctor is, and it ends on some really lovely, singular notes that sound very sinister indeed! Amy In The TARDIS is reminiscent of some of her other themes, but at the same time it’s something new. It’s the kind of piece that when you’re listening to it and trying to guess what comes next, you assume it’s all the same, but then you suddenly go from the nice, relatively repetitive pattern to the Doctor Who theme, and you realise it’s not at all like you first thought – a bit like the TARDIS, really! When you look at it like that, Murray Gold did a pretty good job in making a piece of music take after the TARDIS! The Beast Below is another piece that I’m not too keen on. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just not a piece that I feel I could put on and manage to listen through the whole thing without wanting to skip it. I do like the middle of it, but as I said… not my favourite, I’m afraid.

And then we have Amy’s Theme. We know it’s an Amy theme, as The Voice is there, sounding very melancholy (in fact, I don’t think this Voice ever manages to sound truly happy) and there’s the underlying melody that I tend to associate with the Amy pieces. I’m a little bit on the fence about this piece; I don’t dislike it, and I don’t love it. I think that, because it’s so like some of the other pieces for Amy, it just seems a bit same-y and there’s nothing too special about it – but that doesn’t stop me listening to it. A Lonely Decision is up next, and it’s another sad sounding one, featuring The Voice. If Fish Custard makes you feel all cheery, and I Am The Doctor makes you want to move about, A Lonely Decision makes you feel just that – all alone. Goodness me, 14 tracks into the album, and most of them have either been sinister sounding, or something sad and melancholy! A Tyrannical Menace is another piece that Murray Gold has managed to make do exactly as it says on the tin. And boy, is the undertone of this piece menacing – the first few bars are enough to have you wanting somewhere to hide! But then comes the part that is basically saying to you “Don’t worry, the Doctor is coming”, and everything is alright again!

Well, it’s alright until… Victory Of The Daleks. This piece is another favourite, partially because after the opening few bars, the music reminds me of a mix between Elmer Bernstein’s The Great Escape and the finale of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. And then the music that makes it really recognisable as Doctor Who starts, and oh it’s wonderful! To me, it’s just a really great piece of music. Then the Battle In The Sky begins (not literally, fortunately, just musically!) and that is another very good piece, some of which reminds me of a piece, Robin Hood, that I learnt on piano years and years ago – this is a really good track, because as well as bringing me back to my past, it manages at the same time to hold me in my present (and hopefully future, if the episodes pick up…) of Doctor Who! A very good piece in that respect, although I’m not sure that’s how Murray Gold was expecting it to affect people! River’s Path is the next track on the album, and it’s another very good piece. Right from the beginning, you can tell that something bad is either happening or is about to happen – and as if to reinforce this point, along comes the very quick sequence of music that very much reminds me of someone trying to get the hell away from whatever is chasing them! You can definitely hear the suspense in this, and it is the kind of music you would expect to hear in a film if you were watching someone run away from some form of monster thing.

The Time Of Angels is up next, and I feel that it captures the essence of the angels very well indeed. The opening bars very much make me picture someone trapped with the angels, trying desperately not to look away from them… and trying not to blink. That sequence continues throughout the piece, although there’s usually a softer or haunting melody separating it. Then, when you least expect it, there’s the very LOUD note that makes you – well, made me at least – jump every time because you’re not expecting it – and you just know that someone’s blinked! So this piece definitely captures the angels very well. The 20th piece on the album, I Offer You My Daughter, is one that never fails to amuse me, as my friends and I have an inside joke with the title. But that’s not relevant to the piece, which is yet another excellent piece. It’s from the episode The Vampires Of Venice and when you listen to it, it certainly makes you think of Italy, and most importantly Venice. But not the beautiful Venice of today; oh no, this makes you think of the Venice that the Doctor, Amy and Rory visited – a Venice infested with vampires that are set to take over the entire city. It’s a very beautiful piece, and it certainly emphasises the sorrow with which Guido hands over his daughter, Isabella, to Rosanna and her ‘school’. Towards the end of the piece, it gets a lot more sinister and even if you can’t remember the episode, or haven’t even seen it, you can just tell something bad has happened to Isabella. Chicken Casanova (Murray Gold does like naming pieces after food…) is the piece after that, and is from the same episode. It’s a lot less sorrowful than the previous piece, but it’s definitely not what I would call happy or cheerful. There is one bar in it, towards the end and just before the slightly slower version of the Doctor’s theme comes in, that I just adore because it’s absolutely beautiful.

And that’s the first 21 tracks from the Doctor Who: Series 5 soundtrack reviewed – successfully, I hope! The next 21 should hopefully appear within the next few days 🙂

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