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If you've ever talked to me (or more likely, if I've ever talked at you) for more than ten minutes or so about Angel, chances are I've mentioned the fact that I quite like the show's music. I'm not talking about the theme tune, although it's certainly a damn fine theme tune; no, I'm talking about the score music, the incidental stuff that nobody apart from me ever seemed to notice. In fact, I'm enough of a geek about this that I can not only talk about how various episodes are enhanced by their respective scores, but I can tell you when and where certain bits of music recur. The tinkling piano music that played over Darla's birth in 'Reunion', for instance, was also used to soundtrack the deeply creepy stalking scenes in 'Billy'--and the mournful chords that marked the end of season three were reprised during the rain of fire in early season four. And I know who wrote it all, or almost all: a guy called Rob Kral.

Wait! Don't run away!

The point of all this is that for quite a while I have rather hoped that an Angel soundtrack CD would be released. For a long time it seemed like a foolish hope. Chris Beck's work on Buffy never saw the light of day, for instance, except as a couple of suites tucked away at the end of the 'Once More, With Feeling' CD. What chance then for the spinoff? It's not like Angel featured enough breakaway pop hits to produce a Radio Sunnydale-like mix, either: any soundtrack would have to be pretty heavy on the Kral.

But it happened. And I've had it for a couple of weeks, and--and I'm not proud of this, but it's true--it's made me a very happy boy.

It's not stingy. There are 25 tracks here; 19 of them are score music, and 18 of them are Rob Kral's work. I could quibble with some of the omissions--the aforementioned stalker music is absent, as is (more criminally, in my view) any of the soundtrack for 'Are You Now of Have You Ever Been'--but by and large everything I could want is here. There's Bethany's theme from 'Untouched'; the gorgeous lament from 'Hero'; the lonely, aching finale from 'Home'; Angel's hero-theme, as used at the end of the pilot and the end of 'Epiphany'...

... and only three of you have any idea what I'm wittering on about, do you? Well, never mind. The rest of you can stop reading any time, you know.

The bulk of the music comes from two story-arcs. There's one chunk, five or six tracks depending on how you count, taken from key Darla episodes: the Boxer Rebellion music from 'Darla' and the score for the closing minutes of 'Lullaby' are the best of these. And there's another half-dozen taken from the much-maligned Pylea arc. This is not as strange as it sounds: for all that Pylea itself was often cliched and tired in appearance, it gave good score. My favourite is 'Through The Looking Glass', from the episode of the same name, which spans the period from Fred meeting Angel through to Fred saving Wesley and Gunn from the Angelbeast. It's quiet, slightly folksy, fairytale stuff, and it works well.

Or so I think. But it occurred to me the other day that I'm actually far too close to this music to judge it fairly. I think I like it for the tone, because it's dark and broody and often haunting and frequently beautiful (in a way) and sometimes epic ... but each track recalls a key emotional moment from a tv show that I love, and can't help but gain weight from that fact. More than that: half of the tracks here recall moments from my real life. Or at least my online life.

To take that Fred soundtrack: it makes me think of specific threads on uk.media.tv.angel, in which I went on and on about how impressed I was by the hand o' blood scene. The soundtrack from the major fight scene in 'Apocalypse, Nowish' makes me remember how much I maligned the same music when it was used in 'Somnambulist' and 'Five by Five'. Bethany's theme from 'Untouched' is all about racing to the JCR on a friday evening in an attempt to commandeer the TV for Buffy and Angel viewing, rather than Friends viewing. The Andy Hallett-sung tracks--for of course, there are two, 'Lady Marmalade' and 'It's Not Easy Being Green' (I'd rather have had 'Superstition', I think)--make me think of Mattia, who used his technological wizadry to do some rough-and-ready rips of music back when I first mentioned my obsession. And the music from 'Lullaby', for some reason that I think it might be better to not examine too closely, just makes me think of Tim.

(And for Christian Kane fans, there's a full, rather good version of 'LA Song', Lindsey's karakoke tune from 'Dead End'. That one just makes me think of, er, 'Dead End'.)

I'm really, really glad this CD got released, and got done properly. Listening to it reminds me of the people I've met over the past five or so years, of how I met them and how I got to know them. So, yeah: here's to Rob Kral for a job well done, but here's also to the power of fandom to bring people together. If you ask me, 'tis a beautiful thing.
Ooh, my little brother may be interested in the cd. He started watching Angel recently and is really liking it; he also definitely notices soundtracks while viewing (unlike me!). I'll let him know about it.
Might be worth waiting until he's got a good way into season 2, otherwise he won't recognise most of it (plus most of the music from s1 is pretty forgettable). Good to know there's at least one other music-fan out there, though. :)
And the music from 'Lullaby', for some reason that I think it might be better to not examine too closely, just makes me think of Tim.


You want to examine it closely, don't you?
I find it puzzling. I thought it was Benediction where you had to go chasing Tim round Oxford to get a copy.

Also there's the fact that you've made a good, thoughtful, post discussing the Angel soundtrack, and what I really want to do is to reduce the comments to a discussion of Tim/Niall slash again.
I thought it was Benediction where you had to go chasing Tim round Oxford to get a copy.

I think it was actually 'Forgiving'. I'm pretty sure I was craving cliffhanger-resolution. That doesn't get us any closer to explaining the 'Lullaby' thing, though. Maybe I watched it with him? Or argued with him about it from outside his window? Who knows!

what I really want to do is to reduce the comments to a discussion of Tim/Niall slash again

I expected no more less of you, Liz. :p
It's because it's the best music evah, and you associate my name with quali-tee.

And yes, it was Forgiving.
That was lovely to read. Can I be cheeky and ask you to post it over on Bitten for me?
Sure. Although, er, I'm not really familiar with the board layout, so where should it go?
Here please!

And if you could add a link like this in there... [url=http://www.bitten.info/thread-view.asp?threadid=4298&posts=1]Angel Soundrack[/url][/b] :-)

You're a star!
Done! At least, I think it's worked ok. And you're welcome. :)
Good to hear it made you happy :-) Slightly distrubed about the Tim reference though. It's like you *want* us to slash up your journal.
Good to hear it made you happy :-)

Sometimes it doesn't take much. :)

It's like you *want* us to slash up your journal.

Nobody's ever going to ever let me forget that I said that, are they? :p
Sometimes it doesn't take much. :)

I don't know whether it's just that this is an Angel post, but TMI dude.
Hey, did I say perfectly happy? No. No, I did not. :p
He's practically inviting us to bring the slash, really.