Five Year Mission: Top 10 Songs
You might know the story by now. Five talented musicians create a band with one goal in mind: write one song for every episode of Star Trek’s original series (plus a few extras!). And in doing so, they’ve done the near impossible: adding a unique perspective to the Star Trek oeuvre by giving Trek (and music) fans a different way to enjoy episodes they’ve seen multiple times (or not at all).
To be clear, this is not a parody band. This is a creative group of songwriters and musicians putting together songs that are at once serious, fun, boisterous, melodic, atmospheric – choose any or all of the preceding. The lyrics are respectful and smart. The music is vibrant and varied. The presentation is smooth and professional.
Based in the Indianapolis sector of the USA quadrant, this quintet has burned through six albums and 81 songs since forming back in 2010. They still have more than 30 episodes to go, but for now, here is a quick look at the Top 10 songs beaming into your quarters up to this point!
Happy Birthday, George Takei
A piece of inspired brilliance, it's possibly their most well-known song (even earning a shout out from the man himself). It might as well be every Trekkies official April 20th anthem. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: "So whether you quote Shakespeare or you don a green beret; Coming out or staying in, Five Year Mission just wants to say..."
The Trouble with Tribbles
Who wants to dance? Anyone listening to this song, that’s who! A hooky, catchy masterpiece that will make you forget the campiness of the episode. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: "You can press a button, and you can see him walk, remote control, remote control Spock."
Where No Man Has Gone Before
The band describes hearing this song as the moment where they knew everyone was going to need to up their game and we know just what they mean. It’s a powerhouse rock ballad that captures the menace of an all powerful Gary Mitchell perfectly. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “Me and this girl, we got so high; A flash of silver shining in our eyes.”
Whether you love or hate the episode, you can’t deny that it is fun. And that fun is captured with style to spare in this breezy, pop classic. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “What have you been up to, have you been drinking again? Lazy good-for-nothing, I demand to know where you’ve been.”
Colder in Russia
I’ve got an idea! Let’s do a song about the most obscure moment in Spock’s Brain: Chekov hanging out in the cold on the surface of Sigma Draconis VI with a couple of red shirts! Well, great idea! Because the pace and fury of this song, and the double-edged vocal reverb that closes it out, shoots right through you. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “Primitive men walk around, afraid of what is underground; Atmosphere's alright to breathe, maximum 40 degrees...”
It makes perfect sense that the band’s first song would be among its very best. From the opening Alexander Courage riff to the clever lyrical representation of the Talosians, this rock ‘n’ roll song will burrow in your head. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “She seems to be real by the way she makes you feel; She’s the only constant thing in a million different dreams; Sometimes she’s green.”
Many 5YM songs recap episodes in their entirety, but none do it with the incredible verve of Shore Leave. If you haven’t seen the episode, don’t worry about it! Just listen to this six-and-a-half-minute opus. It’s that good. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “Ruth appears from nowhere and she hasn’t aged a day, I think she might be a salt vampire; She might also have the Venus drug ‘cause Kirk can’t seem to think, he’s so distracted by her.”
The Naked Time
Vulcans don’t cry? You bet they do. There’s no denying this Cure-influenced ditty and how it captures Spock’s emotional struggles with an upbeat, toe-tapping beat, but it’s the memorable outro that provides a game-changing cold restart. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “The ships in trouble, I’ve got to get back to my post; there’s an antidote being administered by Bones. Engines imploding, ship saving action by a theory at most; Time travel backward, that might prove useful in a future episode.”
Could this be the most musically dense song in the Five Year Mission catalog? It just might be. The complex guitar solo perfectly encapsulates Korob’s breaking heart as he realizes he’s lost Sylvia. A song that impressively builds upon an episode that is, frankly, pretty bad. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “What the hell? Now another's under your spell, I guess I wasn’t all that special; Well, I see you starting to make a mess; I tried to help him, but I got crushed in the process.”
Errand of Mercy
It’s impossible to not turn the volume up as this punk verse accelerates at breakneck speed through its never-repeating and all-too-short 2-minutes-and-52-seconds. It’s a brilliant piece of songwriting and this listener will never forget what Organia has done for me. Listen.
Stellar Lyric: “Organia will not sit by and let you destroy yourselves; We’ll put an end to all of this war before it becomes hell.”
No catalog this deep could be limited to just 10 songs, so here are the next few gems on the list (and it is hardly conclusive).
The Trouble with Tribbles (Andy Fark): intense and unrelenting with many a clever turn of phrase. Lyric: “Priority One distress call, from K-7. Who has the gall?”
The Apple (Noah Butler): Green Day-esque ballad that soars. Lyric: “And this could be the start of all my heresy.”
Journey to Babel (Noah Butler): sneaks up on you. Lyric: "Well don’t you bring up Coridan now; disputing, debating it out."
The Immunity Syndrome (Noah Butler): an awesome crescendo song. Gotta love a big crescendo! Lyric: “I-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y.”
The Changeling (Patrick O'Connor): Nomad killed the red-shirt star. Lyric: “Sterilize all imperfections.”
The Doomsday Machine (Mike Rittenhouse): another power-punk gem. Lyric: "We're stronger with you than without you."
Mirror, Mirror (Chris Spurgin): haunting & poignant. Lyric: “No need to yield; Protected by power, the Tantalus Field.”
The Alternative Factor (Noah Butler): terrible episode, but powerful ballad. Lyric: “We gotta hide ourselves from everyone, as a pair we are so dangerous.”
And so many more.
Five Year Mission are:
Noah Butler – Guitar/Bass/Keys/Vocals/Songwriter
Andy Fark – Percussion/Songwriter
Patrick O’Connor – Guitar/Bass/Keys/Vocals/Songwriter
Mike Rittenhouse – Guitar/Bass/Keys/Vocals/Songwriter
Chris Spurgin – Guitar/Bass/Keys/Vocals/Songwriter
Year One (2010)
Year Two (2011)
The Trouble with Tribbles (2012)
Year Three (2013)
Spock's Brain (2015)
Year Four (2018)