Monday, 3 February 2014

Doctor Who Series 7 Christmas Episodes Soundtrack Review


One of the most anticipated soundtrack releases so far was the Series 7 Soundtrack, but to the disappointment of many the Christmas episodes were not among them. The reason for this was that these two episodes are getting a separate release.

This album, much like the previous Christmas OST release (A Christmas Carol), moves away from the troubles of only being able to include the best, or the most significant, tracks in a limited space and includes most of the tracks related. In theory, this will work really well for these as they are both new era OSTs. The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe is the start of a series, while The Snowmen is the start of a new companion (alongside a segment of a series) so both of these episodes should be full of exciting new pieces though I found this wasn't always the case. 

Music is definitely a subjective thing and as a fan of the more dramatic tracks, e.g. Majestic Tale, I do have to admit I found the soundtrack not quite as interesting as I thought I would do mostly because, like before, I found a lot of the music to be very much "background music" something which works great in an episode, but not something you would want to listen to on its own.

Regardless of your opinion of the tracks, I find it completely silly to sell this for £9.99 when the Series 7 is the same price. That's half the content and between a quarter and a third of the quality for the same price. Ludicrous! This is definitely an album that a lot of people will buy individual tracks from rather than the full thing.

What was perhaps most depressing about this release was the sheer lack of a couple of tracks (aside from the obvious new theme that was introduced in The Snowmen) from The Snowmen that I would have loved to be included, especially when there's more than enough room left.

As is the norm, here's my top 5 tracks from the album:

  • 1. Geronimo (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe
  • 15. You're Fired (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe
  • 16. Flying Home For Christmas (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe)
  • 20. A Voice In The Snow (From The Snowmen)
  • 32. Whose Enigma (From The Snowmen)


Overall, I would rate this album 6 out of 10.


Breakdown!

1. Geronimo (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 5/5
From right at the start of the episode, one of my favourite tracks with a suspenseful start flowing into an enjoyable rocky I am The Doctor variation. Not too sure on the end though.
2. Dressed In A Hurry (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 2/5
A somewhat fun but calm track that starts off well but it tailors off towards the end and is simply too backgroundy to really get into and enjoy.
3. Bumps (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 2/5
Keeping with the fun theme, this goes somewhat "off the radar" a bit by including some other things as a sort of patchwork piece that doesn't quite fit unless you like lots of sequential random bits.
4. Ditched At Sea (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 4/5
A more dramatic but foreboding piece, this works quite well, especially if you know the context, and establishes the transition from fighting fate to succumbing to it pretty clearly.
5. Madge's Theme (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
A while later and Madge is heartbroken, which can be clearly heard at the start. This piece definitely cycles through the different factors of what Madge feels in the episode, albeit it does it rather quickly.
6. Armchair Waltz (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
Similar to Bumps, but better done.
7. I Know (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
A purposefully confused mix with revelations, this piece did far better in the episode than it does outside of it, but still manages to just work.
8. Quite A Tree (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
Nothing exciting. Nothing dramatic. Nothing heart-wrenching. But it still contains what people call "feels" without sounding like it was a bit rushed in parts.
9. Into the Present (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
The plot is moving onwards and so is the music as the characters enter the mysterious world and discovers its wondrous nature, but also are presented with a sense of danger. This can be heard quite clearly throughout the track although I'm not quite sure what they added to the last few seconds.
10. Baubles (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
We're presented with darker tones here as The Doctor quickly becomes sure that something sinister is going on here. Includes hint of I am The Doctor and progresses into cliffhanger music at the end, which work. There's still some parts of the impossible nature echoing through.
11. The King (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 4/5
Similar to Baubles, but with the hint of action towards the end.
12. The Queen (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 4/5
Similar to The King, but in a slightly different order, a reveal and more action. I'm not a massive fan of the playground swing effect.
13. Interrogation (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 2/5
Contrary to the name, this is actually rather lacking in the middle with very little happening and bits of "action"(?) at the edges.
14. Lifeboat (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
Similar to Quite a Tree. Nothing exciting. Nothing dramatic. Nothing heart-wrenching. But it still contains what people call "feels" without sounding like it was a bit rushed in parts, even if it is quite short.
15. You're Fired (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 5/5
A very nice action piece. This track contains some of my favourite action sequence music (which I actually associate more with The Crimson Horror than this episode), but unfortunately, it is pretty damn short and ends rather suddenly.
16. Flying Home For Christmas (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 5/5
This is easily up there. It contains a bit of everything, be it action, victory, drama or sorrow. Of course, it sounds far better without Madge's orgasm over it.
17. Safe Landing (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 4/5
A somewhat slower shorter orchestral version of A Mad Man in a Box that follows into a slow "victory" theme and works well.
18. Never Alone At Christmas (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 3/5
I find this somewhat akin to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. A sad theme followed by a fairly short I Am The Doctor variation.
19. Friendship (From The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) - 4/5
The Doctor is alive! Yes, we know! But that doesn't mean the music can't still be touching. Contains dashes of Amy's theme too.
20. A Voice In The Snow (From The Snowmen) - 5/5
I actually like this one a lot more than I thought I would. It provokes an excellent sense of a mixture of light and dark dramatic mystery and fits in well with this era's fairytale theme.
21. What's Wrong With Silly (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
Clara meets The Doctor in passing and so begins (again). It's mostly hit (with a smidge of miss) and changes a bit, but it's very much enjoyable. Of course, the hints of Clara's theme help that!
22. Psychotic Potato Dwarf (From The Snowmen) - 3/5
Nothing happens but it's not bad. Perfectly fine to listen to if you are either high or want something a little different.
23. Remember the Worm (From The Snowmen) - 2/5
Very good example of "Background Music". Not something I would choose to listen to on its own.
24. Clara Who (From The Snowmen) - 2/5
For the most part, I'll repeat my previous statement, even if it includes a bit that was dedicated to the GI. It also lacks a lot of the standard Clara sounds.
25. Clara in the Tardis (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
Clara is introduced to the TARDIS for the first time. This track is quite a delight to listen to, with its fairytale effect, although it's not quite "BRILLIANT".
26. Governess Clara (From The Snowmen) - 3/5
Clara becomes the formal governess and this track definitely brings out the delicate nature of that.
27. Hello Mates (From The Snowmen) - 2/5
A track that I originally thought would show Clara's fun side with the kids but it appears to put that to the sides and have this great gap of practically nothing. Not something I would be inclined to listen to on its own either, which is a shame as the ending 40 seconds are quite good.
28. One Word (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
A pretty slow drawn-out start, which is not helped as the quiet sections are too quiet, but it moves into the dramatic music for Clara to show her true value, which is what helps make it worth listening to.
29. Sherlock Who (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
The track that all the Wholocks out there died at. The start is very much enjoyable (although why Strax's sound effect is there, I have no idea!) and although it fades into the background more towards the end, it is still easy to listen to.
30. Antifreeze (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
Somewhat slower-paced (or non-existent) that I would like in stages (that's because it sounds like it has been taken from the scene directly, instead of being in themes) but it does sound awesome as a dramatic action piece.
31. Clara Lives (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
As the internet meme goes; "right in the feels!" This depressing take on Clara's theme really does get to you and works really well. I just don't particularly want to be depressed by listening to it.
32. Whose Enigma (From The Snowmen) - 4/5
If it wasn't for the 2-minute long and slow bridging buildup after Clara Lives, this would be 5 stars. I absolutely love the dramatic reveal music as The Doctor realises that Clara is special and assigns the mission to himself. It also carries a rather happy tone to it.

No comments :