Music From the Original Television Soundtrack
Decca / Universal Classics
As I have said in previous reviews, I enjoy soundtracks and scores from movies and television shows. They give me a chance to visualize some of my favorite moments over and over again, until I get another chance to watch the original. I also enjoy listening to instrumental music while I work, as I am not distracted by singing along (much to the delight of anyone around me). The soundtrack album to the newest Star Trek television series Enterprise succeeds on one of those two counts.
There is nothing particularly stirring or memorable in this collection of music from the two-hour premiere of the show. While the performances are fine, and the compositions by Dennis McCarthy are adequate, nothing really stands out like Jerry Goldsmith•s theme, first seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, that was used throughout the run of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That is what I feel the show is missing musically — a theme. Nowhere is this more evident than in the opening credits with the use of Russell Watson performing “Where My Heart Will Take Me.” I realize this has been debated ad nauseum for almost a year, but as there are two versions of the song on this album (the “opening credits” version, and a longer “album version”), I feel compelled to mention it again. While advocates of the song point out that the lyrics fit the “feel” of the show, I have to contend that an opening monologue/narration by Scott Bakula•s Captain Archer would be fitting and more personal to the show than the use of a song from the Patch Adams soundtrack (as “Faith of the Heart”). I realize that the producers wanted to make this Star Trek show as non-Trek as possible, to lure in potential viewers who may not be Trek fans, hence the pop opening theme and the absence of Star Trek from the title. However, if that was the case, giving the show the most recognizable name in the Trek universe this side of Spock was a big mistake. Everyone I have talked to automatically thinks Star Trek when I say Enterprise. The song itself is sugary radio-pop, performed well for what it is, and will get stuck in your head if you are not careful.
The music was recorded over two days: September 10 & 11, 2001. That•s correct. After recording half of the music on September 10th, Dennis McCarthy awoke to the horror that we all witnessed that day. All of the musicians decided to continue with their session, to move ahead despite the tragic events that were still unfolding. McCarthy dedicates this album to all of those who were lost on 9/11, and to all those who rose to the challenge to show us that the human spirit will prevail no matter what. My admiration is given to these musicians for performing at their best under the stressful conditions everyone was feeling on that day.
Perhaps if some selections from subsequent episodes were included here, there would be more stirring music to choose from. As I recall, some music in the later half of the season was quite effective in conveying tense or exciting moods. As it stands, I have not seen the two-hour premiere, “Broken Bow” since it originally aired, and this album does nothing to remind me of anything that happened in that show. If I am correct, “Archer•s Theme” is the piece that plays over the end credits. In that case, it serves a purpose. But as a signature theme for arguably the most important of the central characters, it does not scream “Jonathan Archer” to me. With an eight-minute song entitled “Temporal Battle,” you would expect it to be fast and frenetic, but it does nothing to stand out from the rest of the tracks. They all seem to blend together.
This is also an enhanced CD. When placed in a computer’s CD-ROM drive, you have the option of watching Russell Watson perform “Where My Heart Will Take Me” live, or reading bios of the cast members. There are also links to Paramount•s and Russell Watson•s Web sites.
If you really enjoyed the score from the Enterprise premiere, then you should pick this up. If you really need a copy of “Where My Heart Will Take Me,” then buy this and have some fine background music to go along with it. Otherwise, this album is a pass.