I’ve long searched for a single track that’s exemplary of my love for film scores. Over the weekend, we screened JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for the boys to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek. Ten minutes into the movie and the perfect track presented itself.
The opening scene in the movie serves as James T. Kirk’s origin story for Abrams’ alternate timeline. Jim is born while his father dies fighting to save everyone on the ship, including his mother.
The track entitled Labor of Love is the soundtrack for George Kirk’s heroic, final moments. With the battle raging silently on screen, the only sound you hear comes from the orchestra and the dialogue.
“Tiberius, are you kidding me? No, that’s the worst[…] we can call him Jim.”
I first heard the score on May 8th, 2009—not quite one year after our oldest was born. It was date night. The Architect and I sat in the dark theater, and held hands as we cried all the tears. Hell, we still choked up this past weekend as Kirk’s mother remarks “George, you should be here”.
The music is classic Giacchino. Melodic and soft—almost quiet at first—before it sweeps you away with emotion. The power comes from the middle of the orchestra. Cellos, French Horns, and Euphoniums. Their sound is rich, like velvet in your ears.
When I’m sad—or when I miss my family—I’ll cue this track and turn the volume loud. By the 1:27 mark the sound invades my mind, but it is fleeting. At 2:21, the melody is already saying goodbye and twenty seconds later, nothing remains but a shadow. It lasts for only a moment—a brief reminder—and I move on.
Film scores are memories frozen in time. Not just the memory of a film, but the memory of how you felt when you saw it. The opening to Star Trek packed a particular punch because the emotion of child birth was still fresh in my mind.
These are the little treasures that can be unlocked by a soundtrack. If I hear Labor of Love it will transport me back to the theater in 2009—still hand-in-hand with my wife.
I can remember the fear and emotion of being a new parent.
The entire score from Star Trek is amazing; one of my favorites. I have the Deluxe Edition double album which is no longer available1. But that isn’t the only great music associated with the movie—both trailers featured exquisite soundtracks of their own.
The music from the first trailer is composed and performed by Two Steps from Hell and can be found on their 2010 album, Invincible2. The music for the second trailer was a lot harder to figure out. As best I could find, the track was recorded specifically for the trailer, and performed by Two Steps from Hell. Sadly, it isn’t available anywhere that I’ve found.