The Day / Time of the Doctor Soundtrack Review (Disc 2)
David Selby gives his verdict on Disc Two of the soundtrack release.
Last we left off, I reviewed Day, an episode criticised for having no new music which in fact turned out to have a whole disc’s worth. Holding back the urge to throw an “I told you so” in there, as I’m sure are many others.
The Time of the Doctor is the same thing. As with Day, there were repeats of old tracks. There were more reuses here than there were brand new variations, but nonetheless there’s enough new music to satisfy.
This episode’s score begins unexpectedly ominously with The Message. I haven’t seen The Time of the Doctor since last Christmas, so with a lot of these it feels like I’m hearing them for the first time. Quickly, things start to get into gear. Handles is a much faster but, perhaps, equally foreboding track with elements of fun between the beats. The Dance of the Naked Doctor is the next Bah Bah Biker. It’s completely overstated, but it was never a scene that could be taken seriously. It’s a naughty track, basically, and it knows it’s naughty. When you get over that, it’s pretty amusing. I can only admire the boldness of not just the composition but the hilariously vulgar title.
Papal Mainframe is a brilliantly powerful track with classic science-fiction brass screaming out excitement. There’s another huge tonal change at this point, as this track transitions into Tasha Lemm, a pulsating track befitting of an ultra-modern environment. It’s as minimalist as the cavernous Papal Mainframe, if a track could ever be described in spatial terms.
Skipping ahead a few tracks, the magic starts at Back To Christmas. This is one of tracks that I could still remember from watching the episode last Christmas. It’s a playful, enchanting piece taking us across the Doctor’s life on Trenzalore. It bears a childlike innocence and evokes some lovely imagery of happy, worry-free days (which is sort of ironic, but does mirror the naïve optimism of the villagers of Trenzalore). Sit back, relax, and remember Christmasses from long ago. Particularly effective in London busses – but don’t ask why, because I haven’t the foggiest.
This Is How It Ends is one of favourite tracks of the lot. It was my most anticipated and didn’t disappoint. It accompanies the Doctor’s final journey to face his fate, and includes all the emotions that you’d associate with such a moment. There’s fear and trepidation – not to mention a daunting sense of scale – plus tragedy, love and ultimately unbridled magic. It’s like nothing Murray Gold has ever composed before. It’s so immensely powerful.
And then we come on to the much-anticipated Never Tell Me The Rules which is an excellent track, even if it does unfairly overshadow This Is How It Ends. It’s a culmination of a lot of recent themes, from The Doctor’s Theme Series Four to This is Gallifrey and Born to Save the Doctor. I prefer This Is How It Ends, but I prefer the scene as well. It comes down to personal preference. Memories are an important ingredient of this soundtrack.
Before the fun, Sherlock-esque Hello Twelve is a reprise of Trenzalore, The Long Song and I am Information (well it’s not, but that’s what it says on the album) which accompanied the Doctor’s regeneration. I’m glad it was included, but in a lot of ways this is the track I resent. I’d hoped for a brand new piece to be used for the regeneration sequence as with Vale Decem, but nothing emerged. Did Gold just get behind? It’s disappointing that the episode’s score did end on that duff note. Otherwise it’s flawless.
Flawless apart from one track which I have to talk about now. I mentioned last time a missing track and it’s the music when Clara begs the Time Lords for help. A mix of The Crack and Clara? that’s eerie and moving. It was my favourite track from the episode, and I’d waited all year for it. It could have tagged along so well at the end of This Is How It Ends, but it didn’t. Why? All those new tracks, and they leave out one of the best ones. It’s baffling.
Three tracks you’ll all recognise:
Never Tell Me The Rules – well you should recognise it. It’s been talked about non-stop since it was first played.
Snow Over Trenzalore – a gentler variation of Song For Four with slightly altered instrumentation. Played during the sunset scene.
This Is How It Ends – Murray Gold must have liked it, because he reused it in Deep Breath and Death in Heaven. You’ll recognise this one from the final scene of Series Eight.
My personal favourites from this disc:
- Back to Christmas
- This Is How It Ends
- Never Tell Me The Rules
- Beginning of the End
Disc Two Verdict: 9/10
If you’re reading this review to see whether the soundtrack is worth your money then yes, it undoubtedly is. It’s my second favourite to An Adventure in Space and Time’s soundtrack and has even more variety. It’s as immortal as the episodes themselves are, and it’d be a crime to let this one sit on the shelf.
Soundtrack Verdict: 9/10
Roll on Series Eight!