La canzone giusta al momento giusto nel momento clou del tuo telefilm preferito può davvero rendere il momento memorabile. Ma se la tua canzone speciale fosse usata in una scena montata e recitata in maniera banale, o addirittura pessima?
Via: The Guardian.
The final act sequence, in which the characters of a TV show put their houses in order or simply have a good old think about what they’ve done, has become part of the vocabulary of US television. Pretty much all big dramas do it at one time or another, from Breaking Bad to True Blood. These montages, usually dialogue-free, are scored not with the show’s usual soundtrack but with a song chosen specifically to deliver emotional shorthand.
When Peter Gabriel’s 1980 single Games Without Frontiers played out the final moments of cold-war spy thriller The Americans, it was yet another example of that show nailing its soundtrack. Throughout its first season, The Americans has employed music exceedingly well, from opening with a wonderful extended cut of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk to the surprise appearance of Echo & The Bunnymen’s Pictures On My Wall(“Can you hear it? The sound of something burning. Something changing”) a few weeks later. But the Gabriel song really did hit all the right notes: it’s of the 80s, it’s not so famous that it drags the viewer out of the drama, and the lyrics are relevant to the story. It was so perfect, in fact, that it was almost as if the song had been the original inspiration and the makers had worked backwards from it.
Often, the closing-credits song does much of the dramatic heavy-lifting. Sometimes the choices can be at odds with what’s on-screen: Boardwalk Empire uses jaunty, prohibition-era flapper tunes, the contrast only emphasising the plot’s brutality and bloodshed. Even without lyrics, a tune can provide what dialogue cannot, such as the use of the instrumental passage from Mew’s Comforting Sounds to cap an episode of Easbound & Down where it made the horrible Kenny Powers seem almost noble, and his life more epic and optimistic.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles managed a perfect mix of song and images when they used Johnny Cash’s apocalyptic The Man Comes Around to score a stunning action finale as a SWAT team foolishly took on a terminator. To this day, whenever I hear it, it’s hard not to think of dead SWAT officers tumbling into a motel swimming pool.
Shows can also take ownership of songs, using them as not just a signing-off but a signature. Justified does this with the hugely appropriate Brad Paisley track You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive. They’ve used versions of this to end three of their four season finales.
By contrast, a bad choice can ruin everything. An episode of the post-apocalyptic drama Defiance climaxed with a dreary cover of Nirvana’s Come As You Are. Rather than paying attention to the no doubt significant events unfurling onscreen, my mind was occupied with wondering why they didn’t use the original (either it’s a future where there is no longer any Nirvana records or a present where the rights are too expensive). There are times when a selection can be too obvious, too: The Newsroom, hardly a subtle show at the best of times, showed zero imagination when employing the vague sentimentality of Coldplay’s Fix You, smearing it all over the final act. My interest in the show plummeted.