A Totally Necessary and Completely Serious Dissection of the Sounds in the 'Lost' Intro


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It's TV Anniversary Week at The Wire, and we're taking a special look at the inordinately prestigious crop of shows celebrating milestone anniversaries this fall. Today, we're looking at ABC's Lost, which premiered Sept. 22, 2004.

On Sept. 22, 2004, a passenger flight bound for Los Angeles leaves Sydney and crash lands on a mysterious island. A man wakes up in the middle of a bamboo forest. He runs toward the explosions. Fade to black.


Yeah, Lost's intro music theme sounds were fairly earsplitting. But in honor of the 10th anniversary of its debut, we're deciphering it for you. Why? Because maybe, just maybe, more clues were embedded in those 12 seconds of noise than we knew! Maybe they revealed who shot at Sawyer & Co. in the outrigger! Maybe they told us why Allison Janney signed on for that one episode in Season 6! We can dream. [Cue flashback "whooooosh" effect.] Below, the results of our investigation:

0:00-0:03: The opening is meant to distract you from the chaos to come. It sounds kind of like a wind tunnel machine not turned all the way on crossed with Dory's whale sounds from Finding Nemo. This is incredibly apt in Lost lore, because Oceanic Flight 815 broke into pieces over the Indian Ocean which touches Australia, and Finding Nemo takes Marlin and Dory on a heartwarming journey to Sydney, Australia, where the plane took off. We see what you're doing, J.J. Abrams.

0:04-0:07: We're now three more seconds in, and the title card's gone from this:

...to this:

Amazing. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! We think given the nearly 90 degree tilt from the beginning to this middle section, the writers of Lost were trying to tell us about change and how planes have to tilt to fly off the ground, and how life can sometimes be lopsided, and how there's more to The Island than you would expect, and how hell is other people.

Oh, sorry, we were talking about sounds! So, okay, those middle three seconds start featuring a weird feedback screech of some sort. The kind that happens when you put a walkie-talkie too close to another walkie-talkie, for example? This was clearly foreshadowing for the pilot, in which Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Charlie, Boone, Shannon, and Sayid find the transceiver, and then Sayid worries about how long the battery will last. The end of the screeching points to the ending of the lives of all batteries Sayid encounters: transceivers, radios, the phone on the freighter Desmond uses in season 4 to call Penny (*sniff*). Moving right along...

0:08-0:11: Oof, this one's harder. This is the distinct "oooeeeoooeee" part (or, as some Losties like to call it, the "eeeoooeeeeooo" portion, which is absolutely wrong). Notice how we end up in the middle of the letters O and S...

...which is clearly a shoutout by J.J. Abrams to his Mac's operating system, the one he used to put together the title sequence.

Or — and please take this "or" with a grain of salt — the O and the S stand for the Others, again foreshadowing the show. If you look closely enough, the letters T, H, E, and R are there in the middle. And by "look closely enough," we mean "use your imagination." ("LOTHERST" would look too weird, okay?)

As for the sound, the combination of discordant ooo's and eee's vaguely resembles the harrowing cry delivered by Michael in the season 1 finale. Seriously, "oooeeeoooeee" = "woooeeeooooeee" = "WAAAAAAAAALT." Look, if we've learned anything from geometry class, the transitive property states that if A equals B and B equals C, then A must equal C as well. Therefore, "oooeeeoooeee" is just Michael's cry, but abridged and higher pitched.

Hear that? Definitely the same thing.

0:12: The sequence cuts to black. Much like how death cuts life to black. Which happened to countless characters on the show. More foreshadowing.

Look at that: Those 12 seconds packed in a ton of information, and if only we had watched closely enough, we could have been warned of the calamities to come!

... Or, and bear with us here, it was just 12 seconds of cacophony J.J. Abrams put together because the show needed a title sequence. Your pick, Losties! Happy 10th anniversary.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.