Doctor Who Series 7 Soundtrack Review

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Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull gives his verdict on Murray Gold’s score to Series 7.

doctor-whos-series-7-soundtrackThe music of Doctor Who is an essential component of the show: without Murray Gold’s virtuosic score the action would be dull and rather uninteresting (what would the rousing motorcycle journey over Westminster Bridge be without Bah Bah Biker belting out in the background?), the characters lacking vigour and where would the delightful theme tune be? Murray Gold’s songs are crucial to Doctor Who – where would we be without them?

After months of drumming our fingers, whiling away the time by writing Mickey and Martha divorce fan-fiction, the soundtrack to the last year’s worth of Doctor Who finally hits the shelves. I’m certain that as the show’s budget gets more inflated; the quality of the music rises too. I first noticed the better score in The Bells of Saint John and since then my ears have been attuned (that’s a pah pah pah pun) to the harmonious melodies of Murray Gold and the hugely talented BBC National Orchestra of Wales and their sonic baton-wielding conductor, Ben Foster.

Now, as is the fashion these days, I’m going to countdown my top ten favourite tracks that have accompanied the recent string of episodes and oh my giddy aunt, they’re good.

The Terrible Truth (Asylum of the Daleks).

A tragic piece about Amy’s painful secret, The Terrible Truth breaks your heart again and again at each listen. Recall the scene whilst it’s playing and you’ll really feel the emotional magnitude of it. Undoubtedly one of the most haunting, slow-burners the show has ever produced.

Take A Ride On Tricey (Dinosaurs On A Spaceship).

If you tune into this track and ignore Tricey’s fate then Take A Ride On Tricey is really upbeat, befitting Dinosaur On A Spaceship’s jocular mood (although, in its defence, it’s not without it’s dark side). There’s a wonderful beat to it and if you close your eyes you can feel yourself jostling up and down on the triceratops’ back. It’s not like I did that or anything.

Cubes (The Power of Three).

With the recent string of episodes promised to be “blockbuster”-esque, Cubes starts off as something you’d hear in one of the confusing action sequences in a said blockbuster. But, like the Doctor, it’s quirky, rising to an unexpected crescendo where it breaks off with a light tinkling noise that sounds rather like a bell.

Monking About (The Bells of Saint John).

When the Doctor barges into the TARDIS, stripping off layer after layer of his Cumbrian habit, a wonderful tune plays in the background, something that I feel is so suited to the character’s eleventh persona. It’s endearing, warm and builds up to the reveal that the Doctor keeps his bowtie tucked away in a special box. Well he would, wouldn’t he?

Spoonheads (The Bells of Saint John).

Another one from The Bells of Saint John – the second of many tunes from that particular episode – Spoonheads splices the Eleventh Doctor’s theme with a tense ditty that was there in the background when the Doctor desperately tried to save Clara from the vicious clutches of Miss Kizlet and one of her ‘servers’.

A Turbulent Flight (The Bells of Saint John).

A Turbulent Flight delivers exactly what it says on the tin: a song that takes its listener on a journey that takes many a-turning, starting off slow and steady before erupting into a beautiful flurry of booms and twangs. You can almost picture the Doctor and Clara racing down that plane, sonic and tea in hand.

Bah Bah Biker (The Bells of Saint John).

The greatest musical accomplishment in Doctor Who since Ron Grainer listened to Delia Derbyshire’s electronic rendition of the show’s theme tune and asked, awestruck, “Did I really write this?” I’m joking, Bah Bah Biker isn’t that good, it’s just shy of extraordinary. Would you believe it’s so good it’s even developed it’s own cult following.

Something Awesome (The Rings of Akhaten).

Moving onto Neil Cross’ music-heavy The Rings of Akhaten, Something Awesome is the immortal words spoken by Clara when the Doctor asks her what she wants to see. Given The Rings of Akhaten’s reputation it’s hard to tell whether it’s really awesome but the decision is down to you; I, for one, am a fan. Something Awesome builds up to a musical climax that’s soothing to the ears, it’s certainly a tune you should stick on repeat when you’re in need of an adrenaline kick.

Market Day (The Rings of Akhaten).

Seeing as The Rings of Akhaten was an epic episode, it needed an epic tune and Market Day is just that song. When I saw The Rings of Akhaten live and the Doctor and Clara pitched down in the Akhaten marketplace I instantly felt I was there: the strange-smelling foodstuffs on-sale, the bizarre creatures brushing past the characters’ shoulders, all because of this magnificent tune.

Cyber Army (Nightmare in Silver).

Cyber Army (not Cyber Amy – it’s okay, they didn’t get her too) is, perhaps, plagiarism. Murray Gold has echoed music from the classic series (particularly from The Tomb of the Cybermen and other Cybermen stories) so well that I almost thought he’d ripped the whole thing off the Radiophonic Workshop. It also parrots bits of the Cybermen’s theme from way back in 2006 so, essentially, it’s one big homage.

Those aforesaid ten tracks are just a few of the gorgeous ditties available; the whole thing is absolutely superb. Be it the sombre harmonies of Asylum of the Daleks or the soft gramophonic beats showcased in The Crimson Horror, Series Seven had a wonderful array of different tracks, each and every one of them, a masterpiece in themselves. If you have to pick up any album this year, this decade, then make sure it’s this one. Really, music has never been better.

Verdict: 10/10

The Official Series 7 Soundtrack is released 9 September 2013.