Composed by: Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin
Distributed by: La-La Land Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
We all fell in love with the first season of the sci-fi / comic book superhero adventure that was Heroes. Save the cheerleader, save the world! That was the one thought that was a recurring theme during that first season and became the tagline for an epic adventure that spanned timelines and locales, creating heroes of some of the most unlikely individuals and forcing them to unite against a common foe in an effort to prevent the world’s annihilation. What a terrific concept – an exciting and new adventure that plays out as if it were a comic book but with more drama and packing an even greater action punch. But would Heroes have been as popular were it not for the brilliant soundtrack accompanying it?
Although we don’t exactly have a soundtrack running while we go about our daily routines, the fact of the matter is that music shapes our lives. We may not hear it playing constantly, but I’m sure that if you were asked what the theme song of your life would be, you would answer rather quickly with a song that perfectly describes your life at the moment. Now imagine that you have to come up with a soundtrack for ten of your closest friends…and no fair using songs that already exist. Not so easy, is it? This was the challenge put to Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin. Those of you old enough to remember will recognize those names from Prince and The Revolution, a band fronted by Prince…or the Artist…or whatever he’s calling himself now. In the early 1980s, the band produced albums such as Purple Rain, Parade and Under the Cherry Moon.
After the Revolution dissolved, Lisa and Wendy moved on to record as a duo, but by the mid-1990s, the two began working as a team creating soundtracks for both the film and television genres. Examples of their work can be found in the soundtracks of Dangerous Minds, Foolish, Snoops, The Third Wheel, Crossing Jordan, Carnivále and Bionic Woman. The brilliance of their work has earned them an ASCAP award for Composers of the Year.
For the Heroes Soundtrack, Lisa and Wendy watched filmed episodes of the show to come up with ideas and sounds that would fit the various lead characters of the show. They also had to come up with music that would fit in during specific scenes. Most television series contain approximately 15 minutes of music, but Heroes is heavily reliant on music, containing approximately 35 minutes of music per episode. I discovered that the dynamic duo were definitely up to the challenge as soon as I popped the Heroes Soundtrack into my CD player.
The fact that the characters in the show come from a variety of backgrounds lends to a soundtrack with many different sounds and themes. This soundtrack is set up to reflect upon each theme separately just as we see them throughout the first season – people who were seemingly normal until special powers began to develop and take hold of their lives. Peter’s theme reflects the yearning for something more in his life and the internal struggles he faces in chasing after his dream. Claire’s theme is somewhat soft and reflects the youthfulness of the cheerleader who discovers that she isn’t like everyone else. With Hiro and Mohinder’s themes, Lisa and Wendy were able to create more exotic pieces. Instruments and styles native to Hiro’s homeland of Japan and Mohinder’s homeland of India create something very unique and very recognizable for both characters. The split personalities of Niki are reflected perfectly in her theme as is the detachment from reality as Niki begins to believe that she is crazy once her true powers begin to develop. The use of the ticking clock in the background of Sylar’s theme and the way the music becomes an intertwined and tumultuous cacophony of noise toward the end, signifying Sylar’s break with reality is simply brilliant.
The ending of the first season brings all of the characters together, fighting as one to attain a common goal – saving the world. The soundtrack is set up in the same way. We meet the characters separately and are introduced to each character’s theme. At the end of the soundtrack, the characters unite and we experience that through the tracks Kirby Plaza and Fire and Regeneration.
I enjoyed this soundtrack from first track to last. The music created for the Heroes Soundtrack was truly unique and very effective in defining each character. The duo of Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin was the perfect choice to compose and perform the music needed to accentuate the story of Heroes. This is a soundtrack that no fan of the television series is going to want to miss.