A Golden Era – Part 7: Top 75 Murray Gold Tracks (19-10)
David Selby continues counting down the very best of Murray Gold’s music.
Catch-up on other articles in this series:
- A Golden Era – Part 1
- A Golden Era – Part 2
- A Golden Era – Part 3
- A Golden Era – Part 4
- A Golden Era – Part 5
- A Golden Era – Part 6
Last week it was announced that there would be several new soundtrack releases for the 50th Anniversary, and I’m absolutely ecstatic. Recently I’ve been helping to compile an album of ‘New Who’s unreleased music, and there’s copious amounts of it. Series One and Two, for instance, had enough material for a double-disk release, and some of the best music was missed out. Now, it feels like everything is coming back together. Unreleased music is getting clearer and clearer, songs are being heard at the Proms or found from long-lost sources, and now it’s finally being officially released – all in time for the big day.
I’m also pleased to say that, after Number 17 (which really milks it), I’m going to stop making ‘tied’ choices. So now everything stands on its own, in pride of place…
19. Amy’s Theme/The Life and Death of Amy Pond
Dreamlike and innocent, Amy’s Theme is probably the most ‘fairy-tale-ish’ of the companion themes. Although it technically goes against my own rules, I’d love to nominate the Proms variation, not just because of its extra layers but also because of how beautifully it transitions into The Life and Death of Amy Pond, one of the best pieces of the Moffat era. The final few moments of The Life and Death of Amy Pond are some of the most haunting from the whole series, as the universe starts to die out. The Pandorica Opens: what an episode.
18. I am the Doctor/Up the Shard
Originally, these two stood alone, but I think they suit each other. I am the Doctor and its finest variation.
Some might say I am the Doctor is overused – and it is. But it’s still a wonderful (at times, wonderfully simplistic) composition that’s perfect for the Twelfth incarnation of our favourite Time Lord (see what I did there?). It’s full of hope, wonder, excitement and magic.
There are a lot of variations that deserve a mention (The Sun’s Gone Wibbly, A Useful Strike, Words Win Wars, All For One, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, My Husband’s Home, I Might Change My Mind, Some Wednesday – that’s saved me a load of honourable mentions), but I think that the finest of them all is undoubtedly Up the Shard. To give you a bit of musical background, the first (and most recognised) half uses the same chords as The Majestic Tale, except it changes the Bb to a standard B, giving the song what I’d reluctantly describe as a ‘badass’ effect. If you listen to the song directly after a poignant piece (say The Dream of a Normal Death), you’ll get these really ‘cool’ vibes because of how it’s structured. The second half is also brutally underrated; illustrating Miss Kizlet’s ingenious downfall. Up the Shard is arguably even better than its origins, I am the Doctor.
17. Doomsday/[The Impossible Planet/]Rose’s Theme/The Lone Dalek
You’re probably wondering what the hell I’ve done here.
This list has been compiled to select what I believe is the greatest Murray Gold track, but had the premise been different – had I aimed to select the best single use of music – it would be this medley. Therefore, as the final multiple selection, I believe each deserves to be mentioned.
Doomsday is great; powerful and moving, and it’s one of those songs you love more and more each time you hear it. I’ve included The Impossible Planet, despite mentioning it earlier, to make sure the medley is accurate. Rose’s Theme is my favourite companion theme; nostalgic and close to divine. The Lone Dalek is a long piece that was cut down for its use in Doomsday, but it’s easily the most effective use of music in anything ever. That moment the Doctor fades away, and a tear flows down his cheek, as he realises he’ll never be able to say his last goodbye to Rose Tyler, is ten times more powerful with that spectacular choice of music. It’s funny to think that the last three tracks of the medley had all been used before, yet they were so well-utilised that it doesn’t matter at all.
Other picks: show
16. The Time Lords’ Last Stand
Other than This is Gallifrey, The Time Lords’ last stand is the track I most want to see return for Day of the Doctor. It perfectly depicts the heartrending climax to The Waters of Mars, especially the powerful strings at 2:23, and I think it would suit the apocalyptic events of the Time War to a tee.
15. Flying Home for Christmas
A really varied track that includes variations of I am the Doctor, The Doctor’s Theme Series Four and Martha’s Quest, Flying Home for Christmas is generally considered the best track from the divisive 2011 Christmas Special. You’ll recognise the first couple of bits from Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (one of over four tracks that the episode ‘borrowed’), but the rest must only be listened to at Christmas by strict instructions of me.
14. A Lonely Decision
This one took a while to grow on me. I wasn’t enamoured the first time in The Beast Below, but by my second viewing of The Angels Take Manhattan, I was practically in love with it. It’s happy and sad at the same time, and that’s quite sad. And happy.
13. The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble
I got to this one on the list and it suddenly got really hard. I hate having to do this; position one of my favourites away from the Top 10. The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble felt like something out of a Western tragedy yet it was in a sci-fi thriller – and for the fact that it wholeheartedly worked, it gets my vote. Each strum hits you right in the heart.
12. A Special Sort of Bus
Despite the fact that it made very little logical sense, the climax to Planet of the Dead was an astonishingly uplifting moment, and A Special Sort of Bus has always been a particular favourite of mine; especially the latter part which, to me, rings only bells of hope and joy.
11. The Long Song
Despite the fact that The Rings of Akhaten was a very divisive episode, the music got a very positive response from the majority. The Long Song had an element of Song of Freedom about it; it was hopeful, representing liberation, and it’s beautiful listening – especially thanks to the wonderful Emilia Jones. We also love Infinite Potential.
10. You’re Fired
Into the Top 10, and a track you may be surprised to see is You’re Fired from the Christmas Specials soundtrack. The first half is one of the most stirring things ever; a magnificent take on The Doctor’s Theme Series Four. The latter half, a variation of I am the Doctor played one key below the usual, was used throughout Series Seven. I’m not sure ‘thrilling’ even covers it. It’s heavy, atmospheric and fast-paced with an electrifying ambiance.
Honourable Mentions on page 2…