Last week, two official Twin Peaks soundtracks were released and I shared my favorite tracks from Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Soundtrack). This week I am sharing my favorite tracks from its partner album, Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series) which includes songs that appeared throughout the eighteen episodes that made up The Return. These are mostly the songs played at The Roadhouse at the end of many episodes, but several other tracks are included such as “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG’s, which played over the riveting floor sweeping scene.
Choosing which tracks to pick out from this album was exceptionally tough. There were very few I didn’t like at all and nearly half of the tracks I considered to be exceptional. Still, with a lot of difficulties, I managed to whittle my selection down to six of the original twenty.
1. Twin Peaks Main Theme (Edit) – Angelo Badalamenti
2. Shadow – Chromatics
3. Mississippi – The Cactus Blossoms
4. Lark – Au Revoir Simone
5. I Am – Blunted Beatz
6. I Love How You Love Me – The Paris Sisters
7. Snake Eyes – Trouble
8. Tarifa (Roadhouse Mix) – Sharon Van Etten
9. She’s Gone Away – Nine Inch Nails
10. My Prayer – The Platters
11. No Stars – Rebekah Del Rio
12. Viva Las Vegas – Shawn Colvin
13. Just You – James Marshall
14. Green Onions – Booker T. & The M.G.’s
15. Wild West (Roadhouse Mix) – Lissie
16. Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top
17. Axolotl (Roadhouse Mix) – The Veils
18. Out Of Sand – Eddie Vedder
19. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Live From Monterey Pop) – Otis Redding
20. The World Spins – Julee Cruise
Mississippi – The Cactus Blossoms
One of the first songs to end an episode at The Roadhouse, The Cactus Blossoms sound as if they belong in another era entirely. The harmonious vocals and gentle rhythms of “Mississippi” sound as if it were a newly discovered lost track by The Everly Brothers and indeed The Cactus Blossoms are brothers too. This song instantly reminded me of the laid-back 1950s vibe that permeated the original two seasons of Twin Peaks which is why I decided it had to make the cut.
I Love How You Love Me – The Paris Sisters
This swaying 1960s track played over the scene in which Becky, flying high on a wave of drug-fueled euphoria, leaned back and grinned as she enjoyed the sun and the wind in her husband’s convertible. It was a strange, utterly Lynchian scene as the camera lingered on a close-up of Becky’s face, staring into the sky with a disturbingly wide grin, for a full 50 seconds. It’s also worth noting that this song was produced by Phil Spector, who would later go on to be convicted of murder, thus adding a dark edge to this pretty and innocent song in true Twin Peaks style.
Snake Eyes – Trouble
One of few instrumental songs to be played at The Roadhouse, this is also by far one of the most upbeat songs on the soundtrack. Trouble is something of a fictitious band who, according to their record label, enjoy a “continued existence in a parallel cinematic universe.” The band is made up of show creator David Lynch’s son Riley, Twin Peaks music supervisor Dean Hurley, and Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches.
“Snake Eyes” has been described as noir R&B. The song plays over the introduction of Richard Horne, a character for whom both the terms “snake eyes” and “trouble” resonate deeply. It is the kind of music that would fit well into a Tarantino film and one that showcases the seedier, dirty side of Twin Peaks after dark, much like “The Pink Room” on the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me score.
My Prayer – The Platters
Of all the songs featured in The Return, this may well be the one that sticks with viewers the most. “My Prayer” was featured twice, both times during stomach-churningly uncomfortable, often frightening scenes. Its first appearance came during Part Eight when we heard it play out over the radio in a 1950s town before one of the Woodsmen invaded the station and murdered the crew, repeatedly croaking out “got a light?”
The song was reprised during the season finale when it provided the soundtrack to the awkward sex scene between Cooper and Diane. Or was that Richard and Linda? Either way, after Diane’s recounting to Gordon of her last sexual encounter with “Cooper,” this scene is no less disturbing than the station murders and the song is used to link to two events which may have more in common than we yet realize.
No Stars – Rebekah Del Rio
This slow and beautiful number contains some of the most stunning vocals ever heard on Twin Peaks. The song played at The Roadhouse over the end credits of Part 10 with Moby cameoing on guitar and singer Rebekah Del Rio sporting a dress that could hint at a connection between The Roadhouse and The Black Lodge.
Aside from its sad beauty, it is also worth noting some of the lyrics to this song, originally released by Rebekah in 2011, that bear an uncanny resemblance to events in the season finale: “My dream is to go, To that place, You know the one, Where it all began, On a starry night.”
The World Spins – Julee Cruise
If I had to pick the one musical artist associated most strongly with Twin Peaks, it would have to be Julee Cruise. Cruise sang “Falling,” the song whose instrumental version would become the theme to Twin Peaks, made several appearances at The Roadhouse in the first season of the show, and also appeared in the spin-off film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. It was inevitable that she would make an appearance at The Roadhouse during The Return but Lynch made us wait until Part 17 – the final Roadhouse performance – to see her.
The performance was well worth the wait though, as she gave us a stunning rendition of “The World Spins” from her 1989 debut album. The lyrics imploring us to come back and stay forever feel hugely relevant to the show, and hearing Cruise brokenly whisper “please stay” on the night our beloved show was once again leaving us was a bittersweet pill to swallow.
(Dis?)Honorable Mention: Just You – James Marshall
You didn’t think I was planning to ignore this, did you? “Just You” has been the focus of much derision among Twin Peaks fans ever since James sang it to Donna and Maddie back in season two, opening the door for endless ridicule of what is, honestly, a truly awful song. So it feels perfect that Lynch would choose to re-introduce James by having him once again sing his terrible song and in doing so, force us all to listen to it again. Of all the songs that played at The Roadhouse during The Return, this is by far the song that caused the most conversation in fan groups. Sure Lynch was knowingly trolling his entire fan base by including it, but we loved him for doing it and the opening notes probably caused the biggest laugh across all 18 episodes.
No sample available.