Sunday, June 16, 2013

Music and Television: My 10 Most Memorable Musical Moments in Television

I’ve been researching a lot of music recently and discovered that there predominantly I am exposed to new music through my television viewing rather than the radio (unless it’s local music).

Music in television has a powerful affect on the viewer and often makes a scene that could have been good absolutely brilliant.

I’ve put together a list of my 10 favourite musical moments in shows that I love. Some of these moments have been hugely emotional in their respective shows and changed the course of the plot and certainly the character development moving forward. Some are lighter moments or include credit sequences that set the mood of the show and make you excited to watch.

Many of these shows have really great musical soundtracks in case you are keen for some new music!

10. Being Human – Fred Astaire - Puttin’ on the Ritz (The Last Broadcast)

In the final episode of Being Human Hal dances to and sings Puttin’ on the Ritz in quite a grotesque setting; covered in blood and surrounded by newly awaking vampires. It was stuck in my head for weeks afterwards and worked fantastically at bringing in the dark comedy of the show into that particular scene. That final episode had a lot of fantastic music; Doomsday by Nero as Tom and Hal are fighting each other and Tom Odell's Can't Pretend as the trio are walking through abandoned and blood-soaked streets. The show as a whole has some gems if you are willing to dig through and find them.

9. Chuck – Cake – Short Skirt, Long Jacket (All)

Chuck might not have been very big on music but the opening credit sequence was to Cake’s Short Skirt, Long Jacket is just far too good to leave off the list! It gives you a very good sense of what you are in for; goofy espionage that is slick on some occasions and cheesy on others.

8. Skins – Skins Cast – Wild World (Original by Cat Stevens)(Season 1 Last Episode Everyone) & Foals – Hummer (Skin's Party Extra)

I have one of the Skin’s soundtracks and it’s really very good; not the kind of music I would normally listen too either but there are some great songs on it. If you are really interested in finding out more about the music on this show it’s quite difficult as a lot of the music used in the original airing is different to the music used on the DVD release and only a fraction are on the soundtracks that exist! Two of my favourites though are the big cast sign-a-long to Cat Stevens’ Wild World at the end of season one and the Foals song Hummer used in a DVD special of a Skins Party. Great songs both and really well used. Wild World, especially with the cast singing along, is indicative of the struggle that the season has been and culminates in a shocking development that affects season two. The DVD extra on the other hand was part of some really clever promotional material; Skins became renowned for the associated Skin's Parties that started in tribute and the song really gives a flavour to the mayhem that is possible.

7. Misfits – The Rapture – Echoes (All)

Misfits is another goldmine for new music that I could talk about for ages, but how can you go past the opening credits? Echoes by The Rapture plays over a funky series of cartoon characters and the cast displaying hints as to their powers. It’s awesome and has definitely becomes associated with the show. If you want more check out the season one finale where Nathan, Kelly and Simon arm themselves with iPod’s to go after a Christian with the power to brainwash.

6. Game of Thrones – The Hold Steady - The Bear and the Maiden Fair (The Punishers)

Who would argue that Game of Thrones doesn’t have one of the most magnificent opening title sequence compositions of all time? I don’t think many people are going to take that bet! But also in recent seasons viewers have been treated to original songs from the book that have been fully realised into wonderful tunes that we can enjoy at home. The Rains of Castamere is ominously played in the show and appears on the second season soundtrack but I think my favourite thus far has been the bawdy anthem The Bear and the Maiden Fair. Many characters sing this while riding through the woods or making women fight bears but I particularly loved the brash transition to it at the end of the episode The Punishers performed by The Hold Steady. Perfect.

5. Fringe – Yazoo – Only You (Transilience Thought Unifier Model – 11) 

In a post apocalyptic moment, in an abandoned car, Walter Bishop finds a CD and plays it; crying over what humanity has lost. The song is Only You by Yazoo and it’s a devastating moment in the show. Fringe doesn’t have a lot of these musical moments, but when it does the songs that are picked are raw and beautiful and speak right to what the characters are feeling and thinking.

4. Battlestar Galactica – Bear McCreary – All Along the Watchtower (Original by Bob Dylan) (Crossroads Part 2)
Bear McCreary is an out of this world composer who writes music for many fantastic shows. His time on Battlestar Galactica is my favourite because of the intensity his music brought to every scene and every major reveal in that show. My favourite moment however, was his adaptation of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower as a group of sleeper Cylon’s discover who they are at the end of season three. It’s intense, completely unpredictable and a really great version of the song.

3. Veronica Mars – Mike Doughty – I Hear the Bells (Look Who’s Stalking)

This song is magnificent and I still listen to it often. Mike Doughty’s I Hear the Bells is playing in the background when Logan declares his love for Veronica at a party; saying that even though their relationship has been tumultuous in the past, no one writes songs about the ones that come easy. It’s such a great and memorable scene and such a fantastic song. I have been meaning to get more of his work. Veronica Mars had a great soundtrack making it a new music goldmine if that’s what you are looking for.

2. Doctor Who – Athlete – Chances (Vincent and The Doctor)

Murray Gold’s score for the new Doctor Who series is amazing and Doctor Who rarely uses songs from beyond his writing. If you haven't checked out some of the Doctor Who proms where all of the seasons music is played live by an orchestra then please do yourself a massive favour and track it down! Occasionally, Who does use a song outside of Gold's original score and in the episode Vincent and The Doctor when Vincent Van Gogh is shown who he will be in the future Chances by Athlete plays and it’s an exquisite moment. Brought many a wet eye.

1. Supernatural – Queenscrye – Silent Lucidity (Heart)

Supernatural, at least for the first few seasons, had an amazing 80’s rock soundtrack and although I really enjoyed hearing classics I also really enjoyed all of the new music I was exposed to through the show. Music was used to great effect throughout the series to engage viewers with the plot and to get them into the atmosphere of the episode. The season opener often had a clip show to an awesome song with the season finale opening every year with Carry on My Wayward Son by Kansas. The most moving moment accompanied by music was in the season two episode Heart in which Sam has to kill a girl that he likes because she is a Werewolf while Dean looks on. Queenscrye’s Silent Lucidity was a beautifully haunting musical choice.

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