"It just lies there, going nowhere." That's how another reviewer described the soundtrack to Star Trek Generations (by the same composer) and it applies equally here.
The original Star Trek had scores (pun intended) of strong and memorable melodies. That stupid Vulcan fight music alone is almost impossible to get out of your head once it's stuck there.
This tradition continued into the movies. Goldsmith's score for Trek I was a bit slow and dreamy, but quite good, especially the main theme. Trek II and III had outstanding soundtracks, and IV was quite good also. All four were good enough to motivate me to purchase the soundtrack albums soon after they became available.
Then came Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it totally reversed the trend. They re-used the Goldsmith theme from Trek I, which was great, but all the incidental music seemed flat and lifeless. None of it caught your attention, it just sort of existed on the edge of consciousness, like a fly buzzing around your head. It was passable with a story going on around it, but didn't seem at all worth listening to by itself. When the Farpoint soundtrack album came out, I gave it a miss for once.
Then came Trek V. Awful movie, great score. I bought the soundtrack for it and Trek VI soon after their release. Then came Star Trek Generations. Flat. Dull. Lifeless. Unmemorable. I gave the album a pass and didn't buy it until years later when I picked it up at Half Price Books.
Next came First Contact, with another Goldsmith score which was perhaps his best.
Yesterday I came across the Farpoint album in a used book store. The first thing I noticed was that it had been scored by the same guy who wrote the music for Star Trek Generations. "That explains everything!", I thought. Still, I thought, it was only $3. Why not give it another chance. So, I bought it to listen to on the drive home. Maybe it's better than I remembered.
Uh uh. Worse. The album should have a warning label, telling you not to listen to it while operating heavy machinery. Without the story going on around it, it was even duller than before. The music straggles around in search of a melody without ever finding one. One instrument might hit a note and hold it for 30 seconds or so trying to figure where to go from there. In fact, it sounded more like the orchestra warming up than the orchestra performing.
The final track on the album is McCarthy's unused main theme for Next Generation. This one did have a melody (though darned if I can remember it, despite listening to it twice). It came across as sort of a pale imitation of the Goldsmith theme. It tries very hard to be high and grand, without really succeeding, and sounds more like it should be the theme for something like Jason of Star Command than Star Trek.
The album isn't really bad enough to deserve 1 star. There is a market for toneless New Age music, so there are doubtless people who would enjoy it. And the two tracks with the Goldsmith/Courage theme are quite good. On its own merits, I'd give it 2, maybe 2 and a half stars. But several other reviewers made it clear that they'd rated the album artifically high, simply because it had Star Trek in the title, so I'll rate it artificially low to try to balance things out a bit.