There’s no more music in the air – “Twin Peaks” mourns the loss of Julee Cruise

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There's no more music in the air - "Twin Peaks" mourns the loss of Julee Cruise

If “Twin Peaks” is the sound of sawing wood, then Julee Cruise is the sound of a heart breaking.

For many years he worked with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti to create the signature sound and overall tone of the original series, which debuted in 1990, as well as the 1992 prequel film Fire Walk With Me and the cinematic return to Twin Peaks. on Showtime in 2017, Cruise’s voice is as compelling an ingredient as the owls and plane trees themselves. Twin Peaks” and creators like Lynch, who knew Cruise as the rare talent, deeply for their loss. If the town the show is set in was real and not just a mishmash of locations in and around Snoqualmie, Washington, news of Cruise’s death would have shut down the Packard Sawmill. Hell, Catherine Martell might have pulled the lever herself; to silence the rattling of the gears, to silence the saws, until the only sound that remained was the distant chirping of a bird outside and the melody of a song that now exists only as a recording or a memory.

“I just found out that the great Julee Cruise has passed away,” David Lynch said in a memorial service on YouTube. “Very sad news. Maybe it’s a good time to appreciate all the good music she made and remember her as a great musician, great singer, great human being.”

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Lynch first met Cruise in the mid-’80s and had her sing on a song called “Mysteries of Love,” which he and longtime friend and composer Badalamenti wrote for the film Blue Velvet. The trio worked together on many other projects over the years, and while Lynch had always held Cruise in high esteem, their relationship wasn’t without its ups and downs. While working with Lynch on Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017, Cruise felt mistreated and expressed intense disappointment that her contribution to the show’s third season was just a small performance at the end of Part 17, in which she performed the Twin Peaks classic The World Spins.

“I’m done and could care less about TP,” Cruise said in a post on Facebook. “My subconscious never lies…I now have my answer as to what I’m going to do with the rest of my life!”

In the resulting comments on her post, fans questioned why Lynch gave her so little screen time and why it played under the credits, to which Cruise replied, “He did it to punch me in the face. The singer went on to say she felt like she was “treated like garbage” during the taping of the episode she was appearing in, and concluded by commenting, “Now I can finally get off the grid, listen to music, dogs dance with me make my home our home and dreams like this in my life right now are wonderful really I don’t feel ready for this I don’t like the way I’m being treated.


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As a lifelong music lover, Lynch knows that film and television fall flat without an appropriate soundscape.

Regardless of what transpired between Cruise and Lynch, it’s apparent that he valued their creative output enough to use them as often as he did in the projects he’s best known for. As a lifelong music lover, Lynch knows that film and television fall flat without an appropriate soundscape.

When I interviewed Lynch for the NY Post in 2013 ahead of the release of his album The Big Dream, he spoke at length about the importance of music in a visual medium like television and film.

“It’s important to listen to many, many different types of music,” Lynch said. “You never know what’s going to come out. A character can emerge from the music, a mood, a way things look with the light, a whole scene can flow out.”

The story of “Twin Peaks” revolves around Laura Palmer, a high school student played by Sheryl Lee. We get to know Laura Palmer through the eyes of Lynch and Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost, as we follow her through her sexual awakening, careful handling of her relationship with her best friend Donna Hayward, played by Lara Flynn Boyle Show and Moira Kelly in “Fire Walk with Me” and the sexual abuse and murder at the hands of her father, Leland Palmer, played by the great Ray Wise. And throughout the highest heights and the darkest diversity of their depths there is music. Badalamenti may have given Laura her theme, but Cruise ignited the fire in her with “Falling” and then quenched it with “Questions in a World of Blue.”

“Once this type of fire starts, it’s very difficult to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all that is good is in peril,” the Log Lady, played by the late great Catherine E. Coulson, told Laura in a key scene in Fire Walk with Me. . As she spoke those words, Cruise could be heard singing in the background, shifting the scene’s emotions from melancholy to sadness.

When I learned of Cruise’s death, the news came late at night. The first thing I wanted to do when I woke up the next morning was to hear their music. I brought up my favorite clip from “Twin Peaks,” which takes place during a scene at The Roadhouse (and pox on you if you call this place the Bang Bang Bar). James (James Marshall) and Donna are sitting together at a table. Behind are Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and The Log Lady. There is danger in the air and sadness. And on stage, as she often was in moments like this, Julee Cruise sings:

Tell your heart you make me cry
Tell your heart don’t let me die
I want you
Rock back into my heart

When I heard this song the other day, I felt myself reaching for each note like I was holding on to one end of a rope that is burning the other. We won’t get anything like that from Cruise again, but we’ll always have what we have and it’s such a beautiful song.

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