During the '90s, Twin Peaks was unlike anything else on television, and its evocative, bittersweet, impossibly stylish music was a huge part of its appeal. Twin Peaks: Music from the Limited Event Series, a collection of songs from the show's long-awaited third season, celebrates its enduring musical impact and comments on this season's focus on dualities and nostalgia. Even if one the season's main themes was how painful it is to dwell on the past, Angelo Badalamenti's dreamily iconic "Twin Peaks Theme (Main Titles)" instantly throws listeners back to when they first heard it. Meanwhile, Julee Cruise's "The World Spins" -- which first appeared on the Fire Walk with Me soundtrack -- is its mirror twin, closing the album on a beautifully ambivalent note while underscoring how important that film was to the third season's events and mood. Between these bookends, the soundtrack acknowledges how much Twin Peaks' music influenced generations of artists following the show's 1991 cancellation. This is particularly true of the musicians picked by David Lynch to perform in the Roadhouse; aside from an encore performance of James Marshall's endearingly awkward "Just You," they build on Lynch and Badalamenti's aesthetic instead of trying to re-create it. Chromatics' "Shadow" is one of season three's best updates of Twin Peaks' innocence and darkness, a hyper-romantic blur of atmospheric synths, twangy guitars, little girl lost vocals, and simple yet mysterious imagery that embodies what a 2010's version of Twin Peaks should sound like. Elsewhere, the very dark side of this universe is expertly represented by "the" Nine Inch Nails' glowering "She's Gone Away," which would be memorable even if it hadn't appeared in one of the most innovative television episodes ever, and by Trouble's snarling "Snake Eyes," a descendant of the grinding tracks by Badalamenti that also keeps it in the Twin Peaks family (the band features Lynch's son Riley and sound designer Dean Hurley). Outside of the Roadhouse, the show's music is just as expressive. Shawn Colvin's hazy cover of "Viva Las Vegas" captures the strangeness of the Sin City plotline, while Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You" defines one of the most joyous moments in the Twin Peaks universe. Lynch's use of vintage pop in other projects has always been inspired, and songs such as the Platters' "My Prayer" and Booker T. & the MG's "Green Onions" now have new dimensions to their legendary status thanks to their inclusion in the show. And just as season three touched on the director's entire body of work as well as Twin Peaks, so does its music. "No Stars" by Rebekah Del Rio echoes her heartbreaking interpretation of Roy Orbison's "Crying" in Mulholland Drive, and there's even a bit of This Mortal Coil's "Song to the Siren" from Lost Highway in her throaty but effortless delivery. While trying to recapture the past is fruitless, Twin Peaks: Music from the Limited Event Series is a stunning update to one of pop culture's most distinctive works.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares