It goes without saying that action and suspense are key elements to the popularity of Breaking Bad. However, the show’s complexities propel the show beyond the simple confines of a Friday night nail biter . Whether it be the symbolism found in the ricin kept in the White household, the parallelism of both Gus Frain and Walter’s downfall, or the show’s constant reliance on foreshadowing, the minds behind Breaking Bad ensure that you’re getting more than just a cheap thrill. One of the elements that is often overlooked is the show’s use of music. While Dave Porter’s intense background symphonies punctuate the drama, I often find the pop songs used to be even more revealing. As a result, I decided to create a list of my top ten songs of the show.
This isn’t a list of my favorite musical moments, so you won’t be hearing about Gale’s karaoke video nor Jesse’s old band, Twauthammer (although “Falacies” was a bad ass song). This also isn’t a list of the songs I enjoy the most from the show, so you won’t be seeing any mention of The Walkmen, John Coltraine, or Thee Oh Sees. This is a list of the tunes that had the most impact on the series, the songs that both set the mood for key scenes and also added depth and complexity to the story through their lyrics. Rather than rank them in some type of top 10 list, I opted to reveal them chronologically to show how they helped shape the transformation of Walter White into Heisenberg.
It’s that time again – time to look back on all the great albums released this past year. 2012 has been filled with fantastic albums, and as a result, I’ve come up with a doozy of a list. You’ll find a variety of genres here ranging from rap to folk to metal to punk. No matter what type of music you enjoy (minus country) you’ll find something on here that you’ve either already been enjoying or music you should be enjoying. Whatever the case, enjoy!
The Amazing “Gentle Stream”
Bison B.C. “Lovelessness”
Crystal Castles “(III)”
The Evens “The Odds”
Lambchop “Mr. M”
Mind Spiders “Meltdown”
Pilgrim “Misery Wizard”
Lee Renaldo “Between the Times & the Tides”
Twin Shadow “Confess”
Over the past couple weeks, both political parties gave us their vision for Amerca’s future at their respective conventions, and the difference couldn’t have been starker. At the Republican National Convention, conservatives took to the stage to wax ecstatic about the America that once existed before the evil Obama came along and ruined it all. Jon Stewart said it best, “The message of this convention is that apparently up until about November of 2008, Americans lived in a utopian ideal born of our own gumption and individual hard work.” The Democrats, on the other hand, presented a vision for the future, begging Americans to give Barrack Obama another four years to make it happen. Basically, one party looks to the past while another aims for the future.
In Dan Deacon’s latest opus “America,” this same clash of views can be found in his blend of classic orchestration and in your face futuristic electronic blips and hisses. But this dichotomy of sound goes beyond the political landscape – it forces these two beasts to face off – an audio battle royale where the grand American landscape goes nine rounds with the technological progress that dares to spit into the wind. It’s Cowboys vs. Indians, North vs. South, Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, all wrapped into one ambitiously, epic album.
I should probably call this the “Video Clip of the Month” since it has been so long since I’ve posted anything. I also intended to post this video on Friday as a 4th of July themed post (Callahan is playing “America!”) but again, I didn’t get it posted. I apologize for this. Without Wi-Fi in my current location, my opportunities to post is varied, so bear with me the next few weeks.
Enough groveling; here’s a clip I filmed of Bill Callahan performing “America!” in Iowa City last week. He put on a great performance, but even more impressive was the work of his guitarist. With what looked to be 30 pedals at his feet, he created one strange guitar sound after another.