Saturday, January 19, 2008
Music and The Wire
Season 4 opening song sequence is performed by "DoMaJe", five Baltimore teens, Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse. Or "B-More" if you're a fan of The Wire. Omar is my favourite character in The Wire, that is him in the jail cell at this trailers opening...getting bound up for protection. I'm trying to find this seasons opening sequence done by Steve Earle, I did find a trailer below with him playing an NA sponsor for Bubbles, another favourite character.
Series co-writer Simon described the second season as "a meditation on the death of work and the betrayal of the American working class.…[I]t is a deliberate argument that unencumbered capitalism is not a substitute for social policy; that on its own, without a social comtract, raw capitalism is destined to serve the few at the expense of the many." He added that season 3 "reflects on the nature of reform and reformers, and whether there is any possibility that political processes, long calcified, can mitigate against the forces currently arrayed against individuals." The third season is also an allegory that draws explicit parallels between the War in Iraq and the national drug prohibition, which in Simon's view has failed in its aims and become a war against America's underclass.
All of the music has to be ambient, meaning it has to be justified by a source within the scene, either a boom box or a stereo or a car radio or a band belting it out in a bar that doesn't even have a stage...
Until those final moments, all of the music must exist within the reality of the scenes. As reality often dictates — life being the stuff that happens while you're busy making other plans, according to John Lennon — nothing should perfectly match.
"If the lyrics are dead-on with what [the story] is trying to say, it's redundant," said Simon. "Instead, we try to speak to mood and tonality, but obliquely, particularly in regard to lyrics." HBO, Behind The Scenes (diegetic sound in film)
Oh here is the opening sequence with Steve Earle singing the Tom Waits song Down In The Hole. Other musicians who have covered this song for the opening sequence montage have been The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tom Waits, and The Neville Brothers.
During season finales, a song is played before the closing scene in a montage showing the major characters' lives continuing in the aftermath of the narrative. The first season montage is played over "Step by Step" by Jesse Winchester, the second "Feel Alright" by Steve Earle, the third "Fast Train" written by Van Morrison and performed by Solomon Burke, and the fourth uses "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" written by Dr. John and performed by Paul Weller. While the songs reflect the mood of the sequence, their lyrics are usually only loosely tied to the visual shots. In the commentary track to episode 37, "Mission Accomplished", executive producer David Simon says: "I hate it when somebody purposely tries to have the lyrics match the visual. It brutalizes the visual in a way to have the lyrics dead on point. ... Yet at the same time it can’t be totally off point. It has to glance at what you're trying to say.