A Golden Era – Part 5: Top 75 Murray Gold Tracks (39-30)
David Selby continues counting down the very best of Murray Gold’s music.
Catch-up on other articles in this series:
One of the most frequently-raised topics within the comments (yes, I do read them) on my previous articles was the usual Russell T. Davies vs Moffat debate. This time though, I’ve seen a surprising number of people in favour of Davies’ era, when talking about music. Normally, I’d be delighted. Speaking musically, I think both have something unique to offer.
Russell T. Davies’ era has some very nostalgic music; also some of the indubitable ‘classics’: The Doctor’s Theme, Rose’s Theme, The Cybermen – some of which have found their way into the Moffat era and been rejuvenated, and that’s exactly what the Moffat era’s soundtrack is; a complete rejuvenation. I am the Doctor and The Mad Man With a Box, for instance, are tracks that are completely unique to this epoch of Who, and that’s exactly why each era stands out alone; it has its own identity.
And it’s fitting that I’ve said this today; on a day where the stakes are higher than before and where the tracks are very evidently a mix of both eras. So let the countdown continue…
39. I Remember You/A River of Tears
The latter is essentially one sequence from the former but elongated, which is why I’ve chosen to group the two tracks together. They’re mysterious and haunting, thanks to the oscillating sound created by a reversed piano sequence. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang was a fun – albeit slightly flawed – two-parter, and looking back on it reminds me of the good old days.
38. Impossible Choice
By more than a little bit of luck, this Series Five bonus track was always used during impossible decisions: from the macabre truth about Starship UK to Rory Pond’s near-death experience (or one of them), among many others (perhaps most significantly, Amy’s Choice). There’s something I love about it, and as I’ve written these lists, I’ve continuously moved this up and up the ranks because I feel just a bit guilty letting it sit so low.
37. Forgiven/The Wedding of River Song
Here we hark back to A River of Tears; a tune which represented the continual mystery of River Song’s character. And here it’s revealed to us: she’s the Doctor’s wife and, maybe more importantly, the woman who kills him. As this happens, we also get revealed more of her theme tune; the melody (if you’ll pardon the pun) beginning to emerge in Forgiven. In The Wedding of River Song, it’s complete: the story is, to all intents and purposes, done. And it’s beautiful.
36. The Doctor Who Opening/Closing Theme Series Four
When I first heard this at the start of Voyage of the Damned, I was delighted. What a fun, powerful and actually “badass” take on Derbyshire’s classic. For me, this is the best Doctor Who theme, and it even saw the return of the middle eight (although this did also feature in some variations of the previous theme); something popular among fans. I also love the 2005-2007 version of the theme, but for its sheer power, I’m sticking to my choice.
35. Martha’s Theme
The vocals are great. They sound different to the series’ other vocal chords; whether it’s down to the singer or the editing, I’m unsure, but they convey Martha’s refreshing brilliance from the words “Your box is made of wood”. Definitely one of the strongest companion themes.
34. The Cybermen (and variations)
If the BBC got a pound for every time the Cybus-leitmotif was played – oh, wait; they do.
Not even a bit funny?
Often criticised for its repetition, I’m actually really fond of The Cybermen. As well as utilising the facilities to create a more impressive, orchestral theme, it borrows eerie cues from the classic series. Of its numerous variations, my favourite is Cyber Army. It feels more classic-influenced and almost like Murray Gold’s idea of pop music (taking an old song and turning it into something really funky. Thankfully, his work hasn’t gone downhill lately, unlike the aforementioned genre).
33. The World Waits
Starting off with a calming combination of strings and piano, The World Waits is one of those ‘calm-before-the-storm’ tracks that I always look forward to on the soundtrack. It develops into something quite catchy and unforgettable, but I think I prefer the first segment.
32. Remember Me
A delicate, poignant piece of music, used for each of Clara’s respective deaths. It borrows cues from Clara’s Theme and fades out with some quiet string/brass chords, until it suddenly throws in a brand new re-working of I am the Doctor which moves up a note at the end just to take you aback.
31. Beneath Stonehenge
For a background track, Beneath Stonehenge is surprisingly nostalgic. But you’ll recall from my first article, I think that The Pandorica Opens is a musical masterpiece. You’ll even pick up some The Cybermen cues here and there.
30. Clara in the TARDIS/Amy in the TARDIS
I spent a long time deliberating over which deserved to succeed the other, and in the end I had to treat them as equals. Both illustrate the ‘fairy-tale’ nature of their respective companion’s entrances; Clara in the TARDIS being my preferred variation of Clara’s Theme for the Dickensian setting, depicting the otherworldly atmosphere of the cloud, and Amy in the TARDIS being a fantastic bit of piano music. I couldn’t choose.
Honourable Mentions on page 2…