BySean Gallen, writer at
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Sean Gallen

Everyone's favorite demented soap opera Twin Peaks is coming back to TV next spring and the cast list has a lot of familiar faces in addition some surprising new ones — notably, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. Last week, Vedder premiered a song called "Out Of Sand" that will apparently feature on the soundtrack for the new series. The song sounds more like Pearl Jam than David Lynch's taste for surreal music but it features some lyrics that would suggest Lynch was definitely whispering in Vedder's ear as he wrote it: “Offered the hand of a disembodied man."

Check out a fan video of the performance below:

Music has always been central to understanding the characters in Lynch's films and TV shows, so it will be interesting to see how "Out Of Sand" offers us a potential window into the new series. We're going to take a look at the original series and explore the different ways David Lynch uses music to help us understand the world of Twin Peaks.

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The Iconic Theme Song

Welcome to Twin Peaks / ABC
Welcome to Twin Peaks / ABC

Theme songs are important for establishing the tone and setting up expectations for what's to come next. The famous theme song is deceptively simple but lures the viewer into Lynch's mad vision. The director has always been obsessed with creating dream worlds; a place that warps reality and hides the darkest desires, hopes and fears of the characters.

The theme song, which is called "Falling," is slow, meandering and plays over images of a sleepy town under a pink haze. Lynch's lullaby is meant to lull the audience into a false sense of comfort and to set the tone for the rest of the show. The audience is never sure if the surreal events that follow — whether a plot twist or exaggerated acting — is supposed to be real or if it's all a twisted dream.

Music Helps Us Understand Laura Palmer

Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer in 'Twin Peaks' /ABC
Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer in 'Twin Peaks' /ABC

The original series centered around the murder of a young high school girl named Laura Palmer and the many secrets she kept. She is the enigma at the heart of the show that everyone in the town is trying to unravel as she had different connections with different characters. Lynch and Badalamenti came up with a theme song just for her that would play almost every time she was fondly remembered by her family, friends and lovers.

Check out Angelo Badalamenti discuss "Laura's theme":

Lynch wanted to put the viewer into Laura's shoes through music, lost in the woods, torn between the life of an innocent high school student and the dark desires she has to keep secret. The theme song changes drastically from the brooding minor ballad to the ecstatic, bitter sweet joy of a major chord, highlighting the contradictory personality of Laura.

Characters Using Music As Therapy

Bill Pullman playing the sax to stay sane in 'Lost Highway' / Asymmetrical
Bill Pullman playing the sax to stay sane in 'Lost Highway' / Asymmetrical

It's very common for characters in Lynch's world to use music as an outlet for their deepest, most confusing emotions. In Lost Highway, Fred Madison needs to play the saxophone to stay sane, while in Mulholland Drive, the protagonists understand how truly lost they are when they witness a performance in club Silencio. In the Twin Peaks scene below, James Harley performs a song he wrote with Donna and Maddy, two friends that he has become romantically entangled with while trying to get over his murdered lover, Laura Palmer.

The three characters were completely confused and unaware of their feelings for each other up until this moment, but — through singing James's lyrics — everything became clear. Shortly after this song, the two girls reject James and he slowly tries to leave the town after coming to this realization. The characters' motives are contradictory and well hidden, but music grants the audience and the characters alike a window into their darkest, unspoken desires.

Check out the promo clip for the new season below:

New Town, New Music?

The new Twin Peaks series is set to air in spring 2017 and it looks like the soundtrack will be completely updated. Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails is included in the cast and, as he's worked with Lynch in the past, it'll be great to see what he contributes to the soundtrack. The important question we need answered though is whether or not we'll hear the iconic intro music again or if it will be replaced.

What was your favorite musical moment in Twin Peaks?