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Section Header
Star Trek: Enterprise
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Dennis McCarthy

Song Composed by:
Diane Warren

Song Vocals by:
Russell Watson

Decca Records

Release Date:
May 14th, 2002

Also See:
Star Trek: Generations
The Best of Star Trek: Volume One
The Best of Star Trek: Volume Two

Audio Clips:
4. Enterprise First Flight (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

7. Phaser Fight (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

14. Archer's Theme (0:32):
WMA (206K)  MP3 (256K)
Real Audio (159K)

15. Where My Heart Will Take Me (0:32):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

Regular U.S. release.

  Nominated for an Emmy Award.

Star Trek: Enterprise
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Buy it... if you are among the minority of devoted "Star Trek" fanatics who managed to appreciate the use of a pop song over the opening credits and Dennis McCarthy's extremely tired orchestral formulas thereafter.

Avoid it... if you seek the best music from the show on this 2002 album, a product that was released before the most ambitious material for "Enterprise" had been written.

Star Trek: Enterprise: (Dennis McCarthy) While changing its direction in 2001, the "Star Trek" franchise still had hopes of running strong, maintaining the momentum that its three television series and four feature films of the 1990's had carried. The last of the 24th Century shows, "Star Trek: Voyager," ended just in time for Paramount to take the series back into the past for a total rebooting of the concept with new faces and sounds. Some fans of the seemingly ageless franchise, despite a looming feature film that was a year late in production (Star Trek: Nemesis), lost interest in the subject when "Enterprise" was given the reigns in late 2001. With only the one show sustaining the franchise in the absence of a strong film series at the time, however, "Enterprise" (which attempted to drop "Star Trek" from its title for no good apparent reason) was all there existed for fans of Gene Roddenberry's concepts. The show initially garnered critical success, with reasonable fan response as well, though "Enterprise" became the first "Star Trek" series since the 1960's original to be prematurely cancelled before the standard seven-year run of its peers. Like the other shows, though, an album of the pilot music for the 2001 series was released right away, taking advantage of one of the more controversial aspects of the production. The legacy of the music of "Star Trek" understandably caused a demanding standard of quality for that music, even in the television shows. While Jerry Goldsmith's Emmy Award-winning theme for "Voyager" remained popular long after the end of the show, the music for "Enterprise" did not enjoy the same level of acclaim at any time in its shortened run. Much news was generated by the decision of "Enterprise"'s producers to attract a more pop-oriented audience for the show by dumping the usual orchestral title theme. Despite those producers' continuous attempts to explain their reasons for the use of the pop song in a traditionally orchestral setting, a flight from the norm that underscores a larger reason for irritation with score collectors in general since the mid-1990's, many hardcore fans of the series immediately rejected the song.

At the launching of "Enterprise" in 2001, the song was even a mockery in some circles, with fans claiming to hit the mute button on their television whenever the credits for the show began. The song itself wasn't really new, of course, which was part of the problem. Its writer, Diane Warren, while having proven herself capable of creating several successful movie songs, had her own habitual detractors, and although British tenor Russell Watson had been well received in other genres at the time, his performance of the song here won him no significantly greater popularity either. In short, the use of "Where My Heart Will Take Me" for a "Star Trek" show simply didn't work for most fans, for several reasons. First, tradition exists for a reason, and unless a really good song had been chosen, perhaps with both pop and orchestral instrumentation, the idea was a difficult prospect to begin with. Second, the song (despite its lyrics) doesn't embody any of the characters. When you watch a few episodes of the show, you don't get the impression of arrogance or confidence that the tone of the song would seem to suggest. Third, the scores of the episodes have nothing to do with the tone of song, which is a considerable problem. The title piece simply can't stand alone without reference, regardless of whatever half-hearted attempts were made to integrate the melody into the orchestral narrative. Fourth, the primary composer for the series, Dennis McCarthy, uses a completely different musical identity for all other parts of the show. Overall, the song was nothing less than a flop, and despite some talk that the producers would eventually change it out in subsequent seasons, that action was never taken. This stubborn position by the producers was especially disappointing given that other shows, including "Andromeda" in its second season, had already corrected their own title music problems. Some listeners have argued through the years that "Where My Heart Will Take Me" is nowhere nearly as terrible as it could have been, and that is a valid point. For many in the mainstream, the song will be quite attractive. But it's simply not a viable match for the circumstances of this particular franchise.

The role of composer Dennis McCarthy in the history of the franchise was a vital one. In addition to his (underachieving) composition of the score for the seventh feature film, Star Trek: Generations, McCarthy was a staple in the recording of scores for both "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine" series. Ironically, his work for "Enterprise" was less restrained than any of his previous television scores for the franchise. At a time when the title song of the show was taking the concept further from its roots, McCarthy was finally allowed to make much more extensive use of thematic material in the actual episodic music (formerly a taboo in the previous shows). His theme for Captain Archer is an adequate adaptation of the Warren melody, if not faintly elegant in a down-to-earth kind of way. The references to this theme throughout the first dozen episodes alone created a better consistency in the orchestral material than in the beginning of the previous shows. McCarthy does a few other things that could be considered positive or negative, depending on your opinion of his work. He uses an often subdued, passive, and wishy-washy string and brass style that never quite explodes with the same level of intensity as a feature film score. He continues to use a harmonica, which rightfully drives some people up a wall (something he had been doing since early "The Next Generation" episodes). His anonymous, slightly dissonant material for the purpose of tension (as in "Temporal Battle") is underwhelming at best, and it is this kind of mundane personality that diminishes his music greatly. He has a method of changing key to signify scene changes (heard extensively in "Deep Space Nine"), and that procedural tactic was beginning to wear thin in its lack of originality. His own pop-informed version of the title theme for the captain in "Archer's Theme" seems a bit token. On the other hand, to his credit, McCarthy interprets both a fragment of Alexander Courage's "Original Series" theme and his own theme from Star Trek: Generations into the "New Horizons" cue, and he also inserts some of the grinding, synthesized sounds from Goldsmith's original movie score into the Klingon chase scene at the start of the pilot episode.

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On the whole, the music for "Enterprise" takes a few small steps forward, but also some giant leaps backwards for the franchise. There are a handful of action cues (led by "Phaser Fight," which references Goldsmith, too) that reach beyond his usual tepid scoring for these episodes; this may or may not be due to the fact that score was recorded midday on September 11th, 2001. But the fact remains that despite all the hype about going in a new direction with the music, the title song fails to set a strong, popular standard, and the orchestral underscores are still all too familiar to be considered refreshingly new. Perhaps the orchestral scores should have been dumped all together and replaced with the intended, popified coolness of the song, inserting pre-recorded performances by Watson at regular intervals. As it would stand, though, the music for "Enterprise" is one giant contradiction that has failed in what the producers set out to accomplish. Other composers (including some from the mainstream) produced much finer scores for this series in later years. The 2002 album includes, like those that came out for the many series before it, the score for the pilot episode and a few versions of the title song. With Watson's involvement, the label switches from the familiar, though sputtering (and actually dying) GNP Crescendo to the more mainstream and thriving Decca/Universal. Despite a whole year of episodes long finished, the packaging of the album is still restrained to the extremely uninteresting early promo shots of the principle actors standing around in those silly blue jumpsuits. Sound quality is also a major concern. The remix of the title song for the first track features spectacular resonance in sound, but all of the score and the actual television-version of the song at the end of the product suffer from a muted quality that is significantly detrimental to the listening experience. The ninth track, "Grappled," is especially muffled. This has been a problem with these episodic albums in the past, but one would think that 2002 mixing techniques (and the resources at Universal available for an album presentation remix) could make McCarthy's undersized orchestra sound considerably better than it does on this product. As it stands, the song is out of place, the score is contradictory, and the sound quality is questionable. What were they thinking? ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.28 Stars
Smart Average: 2.45 Stars*
***** 81 
**** 65 
*** 138 
** 204 
* 287 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Pop ?
  FrancisLila32 -- 12/29/11 (3:46 p.m.)
   Pop ?
  JR -- 11/2/06 (11:11 a.m.)
   An average sci-fi soundtrack
  Sheridan -- 8/28/06 (8:00 a.m.)
   buy it?
  jacopo italy -- 10/30/05 (8:44 a.m.)
   More "Get With It People" ......
  atom -- 8/5/05 (9:55 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 49:28

• 1. Where My Heart Will Take Me - performed by Russell Watson (Album Version) (4:14)
• 2. New Enterprise (1:42)
• 3. Klingon Chase-Shotgunned (2:05)
• 4. Enterprise First Flight (2:52)
• 5. Klang-Napped (2:12)
• 6. Morpho-O-Mama/Suli-Nabbed (2:47)
• 7. Phaser Fight (5:54)
• 8. Breakthrough (2:02)
• 9. Grappled (4:11)
• 10. The Rescue (6:41)
• 11. Temporal Battle (8:07)
• 12. Blood Work (2:12)
• 13. New Horizons (1:27)
• 14. Archer's Theme (1:27)
• 15. Where My Heart Will Take Me - performed by Russell Watson (TV Version) (1:27)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes bland artwork, but also a note from the composer about recording the score on September 11th, 2001.

  All artwork and sound clips from Star Trek: Enterprise are Copyright © 2002, Decca Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/6/02 and last updated 2/28/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2002-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.