A Golden Era – Part 2: Top 75 Murray Gold Tracks (75-60)
David Selby begins a new countdown with the best of Murray Gold’s music.
Seventy-five. Seventy-five. Wow. Just… wow.
You’re probably thinking that I’m a very sad and lonely person whose main aim in life is to cover every single piece of music from Doctor Who and you’re half-right. Lately my aspirations have been somewhat… musical. Nonetheless, I am a relatively busy person – busy doing mundane tasks like writing essays and finding new ways to curse my wireless connection. And when I first started compiling this impossible list, I only aimed for about twenty tracks. But Murray Gold’s music is just so varied and constantly brilliant that I never felt it was quite enough. Seventy-five – I settled, after much deliberating, for seventy-five with a pile of ‘Honourable Mentions’ in case people mauled me for not including Bah Bah Biker.
But I love music. I could spend hours waffling about why I love music so much, but the fact of the matter is that there’s only one thing you need to know: I can appreciate a good composition. I study music, write music and play music and there’s nothing I love more than a really complex musical score to ruminate over. Murray Gold is the true musical genius of the 21st Century and even now I can’t look at everything. You’ll be hearing the words ‘Murray Gold’ and ‘genius’ a lot over the next few weeks.
[NB: Proms music has been excluded just for the sake of simplicity]
75. Westminster Bridge
This choice would be higher up had the soundtrack encompassed all the weird and wonderful variations – or even the main version used in Rose, rather than cutting it down to something quite unmemorable. Essentially, each series has a particular leitmotif that gives it ‘identity’: Series Six, for instance, had Melody Pond; Series Three Martha’s Theme – and Series One had Westminster Bridge in its many forms.
Westminster Bridge is the first song you hear in the revived series, as we pan into Earth and experience a day in the humdrum life of Rose Tyler. For that reason, it’s a nostalgic track; if you listen to the unreleased cue of the vocal-heavy variation, you’ll see the Doctor and Rose running over Westminster Bridge; if you listen to the second half of the released version, your mind will be clouded with imagines of Rose hanging off the Doctor flying down a lift shaft. That may not be a good thing.
[It’s a tragedy that Bah Bah Biker was what it was, actually; Westminster Bridge was made for that scene.]
Baubles is quite an ingenious track in that it juxtaposes Christmas magic and wonder with the sinister and mysterious Androzani forest. “I’m sorry, Lily, I really am, but there is something very wrong in this forest. And your brother’s right in the middle of it.” It’s a really chilling moment worth waiting for all year round (if you’re like me and only watch Christmas episodes during the festivity).
73. I Can’t Save Her
Haunting and poignant, I Can’t Save Her is one of the definite highlights of the A Christmas Carol soundtrack. Whilst mainly simplistic and quiet, there are some more complex, whimsical parts of the music that remind us that we’re still in the Whoniverse.
72. Just Scarecrows to War
In my last article I mentioned how the music from Human Nature/The Family of Blood had an almost antiquated feel that suited the story itself and I don’t think there’s a better example. Just Scarecrows to war typifies the ‘march’-like nature of the episode, as both the boys and the scarecrows march into what could potentially be their final battle. Will they thank the man who taught them was glorifious?
71. Come Along Pond
Come Along Pond is one of my favourite I am the Doctor variations. It’s fast-paced and a little bit proud of itself, and, being a Christmas track, it’s nostalgic (mostly for being used in the trailer for The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe).
70. Song For Ten
It’s quite a rare thing for Murray Gold to ever compose a ‘sung song’ himself and this was the first one he ever did. Going from a one-off Christmas romp to a recurring tune, Song For Ten was one of the defining musical aspects of the Tenth Doctor’s era.
69. My Angel put the Devil in Me
Probably Murray Gold’s most seductive track, My Angel put the Devil in Me made two ‘appearances’; the first to Tallulah’s recital in Daleks in Manhattan and the second when her record, which hasn’t been heard since it was first performed, cropped up in some Star Wars space-bar years later. How bizarre.
It was the choice of instruments and even lyrics which made me fall in love with this song; it seemed to really suit the era in an almost slightly naughty fashion.
68. The Carrionites Swarm
The Carrionites Swarm brings a smile to my face simply because I can’t listen to it without imagining it in a Harry Potter film. Yes, Murray Gold took notice of the ‘witchcraft’ aspects of the episode and effectively embedded them into this gorgeous – sadly often overlooked – composition.
67. After the Chase
Especially due to the scenes it was used in, I think After the Chase should have been called Donna’s Theme; it’s distant and dreamy, it warms your heart – and ultimately, it’s a little bit tragic.
66. Cassandra’s Waltz
I’ve often commented how the post-title scene of The End of the World feels like you’re being transported millions of years into the future, and some of that affect is really thanks to Murray Gold and his use of sound effects that are even reminiscent of Delia Derbyshire’s original experiments. I think it’s safe to say that Murray Gold’s waltzes are pretty sexy pieces of music.
65. The March of the Cybermen
Conundrum: you’re feeling sad and want to listen to something that will bring a grin to that miserable little face. [Answer: The March of the Cybermen! It’s fun, crazy and just really ‘grand’. If aforesaid treatment doesn’t work, revert to using Brian’s Log.]
An eerie, slightly disturbing bit of background music that crops up all over the Whoniverse. The best bit of Midnight is at about 1:38 when it reaches some spine-chilling vibrating strings and makes something unconditionally terrifying.
63. Love Don’t Roam
Well, you took me in, you stole my heart,
I cannot roam no more.
Because love, it stays within you,
It does not wash up on a shore.
But a fighting man forgets each cut
Each knock, each bruise, each fall,
But a fighting man cannot forget
Why his love don’t roam no more.
So telling of the Doctor’s current status; Murray Gold’s attention to detail is really beautiful. It’s a satisfying, enjoyable piece of music with a deeper meaning.
62. A Dazzling End
A fan-favourite, A Dazzling End is one of the more memorable tracks of Series Four; it was both uplifting and heart-breaking at the same times – and, as I said above, there’s nothing I appreciate more than emotional contrast, and Gold pulls it off with ease.
61. The Runaway Bride
With such a generic title, you could be in for anything, but The Runaway Bride really is a rollercoaster ride. It’s a fast-paced action piece with some lovely jazzy riffs to reinforce the Christmas excitement – yet you can love it all year round.
60. 5:02 PM
It’s grand, pompous and completely wonderful – admittedly – and I am loathed to praise it – like the opening to The Wedding of River Song. It depicts the bizarreness and general brilliance of the impossible world we’re introduced to and makes for one of the most memorable pieces from the episode.
Next Time: What is the ultimate Murray Gold track? The countdown continues as I delve into some of the more emotional tracks