For "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans who are now five years into withdrawal and have played the soundtrack to the musical episode "Once More, With Feeling" too many times to count, Rounder Records offers up "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Score," a new collection of soundtrack snippets by the show's main composer, Christophe Beck.
Unlike previous "Buffy" soundtracks, which featured alt-rock songs by bands such as Bif Naked and Rasputina that were often featured during the series' six-year run, this album is all orchestral, all cinematic - a moody and haunting string of sweet melodies and tense build-ups from some of the most memorable "Buffy" episodes. That includes the one where Cordelia wishes for a world without Buffy (as played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, above with David Boreanaz), and the one where Buffy dies (temporarily, of course).
Beck has spent his post-"Slayer" years penning mostly forgettable soundtracks for films such as "Fred Clause," "The Pink Panther," and "Just Married," but his "Buffy" score, which won him an Emmy in 1998, represents his best.
Not surprisingly, the most moving of the 29 clips are from the Angel years. Listening to the goth-orchestral swells of "Angel Waits" (from the episode "Passion") and "Moment of Happiness" (from the episode "Innocence,"), you can just see Boreanaz's Angel hiding in the dark, deeply tormented, ready to make sweet fangy love to his always-kicking-and-punching object of affection.
The only hitch is that the album, which is about an hour's worth of music, changes moods too quickly. Just as you're getting used to a soft, synthesized elegy, you're shocked by trumpet-spiked chase music. Only slayers shift gears that fast.