Monday, July 25, 2011

30 Days of Genre - What Is the Best Fan Soundtrack?

Okay, I know, it has been a while, but no one said that the 30 Days of Genre had to be 30 consecutive days.

The truth is, this one stumped me for quite a while. Before I started on this meme I had no idea what a fan soundtrack was, let alone that this sort of thing even existed. And, as usual, I'm probably going to take a huge left turn away from what was intended when this question was added to the meme. Because I'm not going to pick a single soundtrack. I'm going to pick an entire band:

Five Year Mission

Left to right: P.J. O'Connor, Mike Rittenhouse, Andy Fark, Chris Spurgin, and Noah Butler
Based in Indianapolis, this quintet is on a mission (hence the name) to write and record a song for each of the original Star Trek episodes, plus the original pilot The Cage. That will be eighty songs in total split up over five full length CDs. Thus far, they've released one CD covering the first sixteen episodes running from The Cage through Shore Leave, with a second projected to be ready for release this fall. They are recording the songs in the order the episodes originally aired (well, except for The Cage, which didn't air until well after the end of the run of the original series). They have a website called Five Year Mission where you can keep up with their releases and shows and get their CDs or band-related paraphernalia.

And each song is, in it own way, brilliant. They range from the silly, such as The Corbomite Maneuver and Miri, to the tragic and sad like The Menagerie, Part I and Balance of Terror. Some songs focus on a single element of the episode, some songs, are extended narratives that describe the events of that particular show - Shore Leave is an excellent example of this. Each song somehow seems to capture the essence of the episode it related to, usually highlighting the goofy sincerity of the show by poking playful fun at things like the seeming insanity of trusting previously unknown aliens who can read your thoughts to provide a place for recreation, or by highlighting the pathos of hunting down war criminals who happen to be close friends as well. Each song hits just the right emotional chord while delivering a great musical performance as well.

And if that wasn't enough, they make videos to go with their songs. They haven't made videos for all of the songs on their first CD, but they have made several brilliant ones. Here's the one for Miri, which builds upon the chorus "Bonk, bonk/Bonk, bonk on the head/Blah, blah, blah" to discuss the story of three hundred year old children with no parental supervision:

Or the video for the song The Naked Time, with its repeated refrain of "Vulcans don't cry", eventually leading to the observation that "Ship saving action/Based on a theory at most/Time travel backwards/That might prove useful in a future episode."

I love this band. I love their music. I'm planning on starting reviews of the classic Star Trek episodes on this blog, and I intend to include their videos with the episodes when I can, or to link audio files of the appropriate songs if there is no video available. If you love the original Star Trek, then you will almost certainly love these guys.

Go to Day 7: What Is Your Favorite Couple in a Genre Novel?
Go to Day 8: What Is the Saddest Scene in a Genre Novel?


  1. Love. It. One of my favorite episodes too!

  2. @Julia: Their plan is to cover all the original episodes. Their first CD is out now and is excellent. I'm going to order to second as soon as it is available. I think they are recording the third one right now.

  3. I LOVE THEM. These guys really rock (pause for laughs) They are witty, fun and just plan good. I listen to them (over and over and over)as I blog: Moxie Magnus: Star Trek Cosmetologist

  4. @Moxie Anne Magnus: I know! I listen to them constantly. I am looking forward to their upcoming CDs so I'll have more to listen to.