No matter how hard you try, evading the seismic influence of David Lynch’s gigantic TV series Twin Peaks is impossible. Despite airing in 1990, the show continues to be considered one of the greatest ever made and most certainly takes the title of ‘most inspirational’. But while one can see flecks of Lynch’s vision within his feature films, as well as in the wider cinematic circle, there are undoubted splatters of eerie darkness throughout television that wouldn’t be possible without this Lynchian masterpiece. With all that said, the TV show that follows Agent Cooper’s attempts to apprehend Laura Palmer’s killer has also affected some of music’s greatest, too.
The project was one of the first TV shows to truly adopt the idea of a soundtrack. While others used chintzy pop songs to make their point, Lynch joined Angelo Badalamenti to create a soundscape that few have ever come close to replicating. Lynch even took control of the lyrics for some of the songs on the record, proving that he was always across every single detail within the show. He was always at hand to enact his vision, and, judging by the songs below, he absolutely nailed it.
It’s part of what many artists feel so inspired about when watching a Lynch production — his complete commitment to the project. From Eraserhead to the most recent incarnation of Twin Peaks, it’s easy to tell that Lynch has had a hand in every single decision made. It means that what is produced comes not from a committee but Lynch’s very own mind’s eye, and boy, is it an inspiring vision to witness.
There have been plenty of musical references to Twin Peaks throughout the years. As well as a Twin Peaks soundtrack covers album, a seriously good garage rock band by the same name, as well as a song directly named after the landmark series, the curious thing is that it seems to have affected the entire scope of the music industry. From indie clangers to dancefloor bangers, it would appear the influence of David Lynch’s television show is vast beyond measurement.
Below, we’ve picked out our favourite songs inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks
Songs inspired by Twin Peaks:
‘Night Time, My Time’ – Sky Ferreira
It’s hard to ignore the connection indie darling Sky Ferreira has with Twin Peaks. As well as taking a role in The Return, albeit a small one, Ferreira also released one song that was intently inspired by Fire Walk With Me, the brilliant ‘Night Time, My Time’ which may well be one of her best efforts.
“Falling in space / Will I slow down / Or go faster and faster,” alongside “And no angels will help us out / ‘Cause they’ve all gone away” are lyrics from the song borrowed directly from Laura Palmer’s conversation with Donna in Fire Walk With Me, as is the song’s title. Add to that the sonic atmosphere Ferreira creates with her moody tone and malicious intent, and you have yourself a Twin Peaks tribute as you’ve never heard before.
‘Laura’ – Bat For Lashes
The jury may well be out on this Bat For Lashes banger being directly inspired by Twin Peaks but, given the song’s title and the ambient darkness surrounding it, we’d say it was a pretty good shout. Lyrical references and imagery paint a picture we’ve become all too used to seeing in the town of Twin Peaks, one where everything feels just out of reach.
Laura may well make everyone love her, but it is the relationship between Laura and our singer that really shines. “Smile is so wide, and her heels are so high,” sings Natasha Khan, effortlessly channelling the smoky haze of Lynch’s landmark series. Released as part of the band’s third album The Haunted Man one could argue the song fits within the motif of the LP. However, there’s something decidedly Lynchian about the song.
‘Laura Palmer’ – Bastille
So this was a pretty obvious pick. The former indie darlings and now mainstream chart-toppers, Bastille, have always found inspiration in the most curious places, but there is no prize for guessing the subject of this track. The band’s lead singer, Dan Smith, is a huge fan of the show, and so perhaps a song about the series’ focal character was inevitable.
“All the people of the town / Cast their eyes right to the ground,” sings Smith in an obvious reference to the show and a reflection of Palmer’s disappearance and downfall. It doesn’t end there, as the band also sing: “What terrifying final sights / Put out your beating heart” in reference to Palmer’s final night in the train car as well as the song’s refrain, “The night was all you had” ringing out loud and clear for the show’s fans as a poignant line. All in all, the song does a good job of capturing the entire mood of the series within one indie-pop banger.
‘Diane’ – Breakfast
The easiest way to evoke the countless mood points within Twin Peaks is to go all ’80s, crack out the synth and begin cranking out new wave anthems. It’s exactly the tactic that Breakfast picked up in 2015. Paying homage to ‘Diane, a character who is integral to the running of Twin Peaks, the song is drenched in reverb and feels like it was plucked straight from the rolling hills that surround the fictional town.
“I don’t talk to him until then / Saying fire walk with me,” they sing with an obviously pointed reference to the show. As well as more references to “love and murder” and a man who is “six feet tall and kind of shy” the accompanying video feels akin to another Lynchian masterpiece in Mulholland Drive. All in all, it’s a song that was not only inspired by Twin Peaks but should probably be included on their soundtrack.
‘Silver Soul’ – Beach House
Beach House are a band destined to feature on our list. Let us go through the checklist: Synth-driven ambient soundscapes? Check. A complete adoration for the indie narrative and the expression of avant-garde themes? Check. An audience who have probably all watched Twin Peaks 20 times and have David Lynch tattoos on their behinds? Well, probably, check. That assumption is compounded on their track ‘Silver Soul’.
“We gather medicine for heartache/So we can act a fool/It’s incomplete without you,” sings the band’s vocalist Victoria Legrand. Although this may not be a direct reference to the show, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the lyrics and the various mysterious characters within the series, such as Laura Palmer herself or in Maddy, the brunette cousin who evades the wrath of Bob. The song, as a whole, is truly transformative and so captures the very essence of Lynch’s show.
‘Between Two Mysteries’ – Mount Eerie
Taken from the 2009 album Wind’s Poem, Mount Eerie make the boldest statement yet of inspiration. The song is a reflection of the character Harold Smith and the precious possession he holds within his grip: Laura’s diary. Sampling the iconic ‘Laura’s Theme’ between droning atmospherics, the band deliver a brooding track built on lightning connections.
Singing of a place that is surrounded by “moss covered stumps” as well as being “buried in more air, buried in space” alongside claiming the town “rests in the valley between twin peaks,” make this one song that is drenched in Lynchian imagery. It’s easily the kind of song we’d expect to hear being played at The Roadhouse.