Playlist: The Musical Legacy of Twin Peaks

Earlier this week, a series of elusive teaser trailers for the third season of Twin Peaks made an appearance online, sending fans old and new into weeping messes over a television show originally axed due to poor ratings 26 years ago. With the third season (finally) due in May, we explore the music that owes itself to David Lynch’s ingenious creation.

The music of Twin Peaks forms as much of the show’s legacy as the story itself (a brief Google search showcases countless citations of the series as an influence) and largely contributes to the argument of the show as one big piece of art.

For those unfamiliar with Twin Peaks, the show focuses on the death of a girl named Laura Palmer and FBI agent Dale Cooper’s investigation into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the finding of her body. From here, Lynch runs wild with mystery and eeriness as nothing within the town appears to be totally ‘normal’ before drawing in dream worlds and the supernatural as the show progresses. At times, a terrifying watch awash with jump scares alongside black humour and depictions of high school love, all wrapped up in total bizarreness.

Combine the show with its startlingly unsettling, now legendary, OST and it becomes clear why the it is deemed so inspirational within the world of music and songwriting. Though the musical direction of the new series is still under wraps, the show has left its mark on popular music in a manner that no other television series has been able to replicate. Roll on season three…

Sky Ferreira: Night Time, My Time

Perhaps the show’s most notable musical fan, Sky Ferreira has been linked to the show on a handful of occasions now, most recently after cropping up on the lengthy (and pretty weird) cast list for the third season. Ferreira’s debut record, Night Time, My Time, took its name from Laura Palmer’s short yet notable line in Fire Walk With Me, the 1992 feature-length continuation of the series with the title track seeming to answer Donna Hayward’s posed question, “Falling in space, will I slow down? Or go faster and faster?” In the same manner as Palmer’s response. “”I wouldn’t feel anything / When we burst into dust forever / And no angels will help us out / ‘Cause they’ve all gone away.”

Night Time, My Time would fail to seem out of place in the town’s Road House bar, nor raise any eyebrows if Ferreira ends up taking the lead for the new season’s soundtrack. Her live cover of Julee Cruize’s Falling with Angelo Badalamenti is further proof that we’d be rather happy if this were the case.

Bastille: Laura Palmer

With the contradiction between the show’s protagonist also acting as one of the most mysterious characters of the bunch, it’s no surprise that Laura Palmer’s haunting presence has managed to feed its way into numerous lyrical references across the years. Dan Smith of Bastille turned his storytelling songwriting style to evoke Palmer’s complex, uncatagorisable personality amid epic instrumentation. Not as effective as, say, Ferreira’s similar approach but a direct reference nonetheless.

Surfer Blood: Twin Peaks

Surfer Blood churn out wonderfully chilled-out surfer rock. Hardly very Twin Peaks on first listen, yet the quartet’s first record featured a track, aptly titled Twin Peaks, dedicated to watching David Lynch shows on the couch and referencing ghosts and Blue Velvet along the way. The atmosphere of the track reflects the general oddness of the series, showing how far across the board Twin Peaks has managed to spread inspiration.

Xiu Xiu: Falling

Xiu Xiu make for a tricky listen at the best of times. When the Californian art rock group delivered an entire covers album of the original Twin Peaks soundtrack, they were met with “hard to measure or digest” responses given its overtly experimental, sometimes painfully eerie approach to the now-iconic OST that is equally a testing listen as their own back catalogue.

This difficulty in digesting or understanding works in Xiu Xiu’s favour, matching the nature of the show and managing to parallel the original music and Lynch’s work. The reinterpretation of Falling, Julee Cruise cover and arguably most recognisable Twin Peaks track, somehow manages to clearly reflect the show whilst simultaneously sounding as far off from the show as possible.

Moby: Go

Possibly the most well-known of the lot, Moby’s top ten single Go took a direct sample of the synths from Laura Palmer’s Theme. Though released within the same year as the first season, it set the tone for countless nods to Twin Peaks as inspiration and use of the show for samples right through to present.

Mount Eerie: Between Two Mysteries

Between Two Mysteries strikes up an eeriness that can only be associated with Twin Peaks, partly down to the interpolating of elements of Angelo Badalamenti’s “Love Theme from Twin Peaks.” The lyrics even discuss a town that “rests in the valley beneath Twin Peaks / Buried in space,” all whilst stirring the similar haunting atmosphere that the original soundtrack evoked so well.

Twin Peaks: I Don’t Wanna Miss You

A fairly obvious one here. Whilst the Chicago indie five-piece insist that they chose the band name on the basis that the two words sounded nice together and has nothing to do with the show, it raises the question of why has it taken so long for the ‘Twin Peaks’ band name to be snatched up? Whether the story behind their name is farce or real, the ambiguity and mystery of the show itself makes for a nice tie in.

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