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Any Major Music from ‘The Sopranos’ Vol. 2

February 28th, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

 

This is the second mix of songs featured in The Sopranos, a show that helped pioneer the use of eclectic song selections to help drive the plot, sometimes by featuring as part of the story, or to create an atmosphere in the way of a traditional score, or to narrate the story (the first mix lives here).

The music tells us about the characters. Think of Tony Soprano singing along to classic rock tracks like Smoke On The Water or, featured here, Steely Dan’s Dirty Work when he is driving, much as you or I might. Of course, Tony Soprano is not, I hope, like you or me. And yet, he isn’t all that different from you or me.

Songs narrate the state of mind of characters. As Chris Moltisanti is shooting up at the fair, Fred Neil’s The Dolphins plays: “This old world may never change the way it’s been, and all the ways of war, can’t change it back again” And when Tony is strung out after having killed Chris, Lucinda Williams follows him with the question Are You Alright?, which M. Ward soon answers: Outta My Head.

The producers mess with us through music. Van Morrison’s cheery and optimistic Glad Tidings plays as Tony Soprano drives to the farm where his cousin Tony B is hiding. Van sends “glad tidings from New York” as Tony-Uncle-Johnny blows off the face of Tony-Uncle-Al. The song makes a return later when Tony runs through the snow to escape the raid on Johnny Sack’s house. Glad tidings indeed.

That surprise. La, la, la, la la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

 

As mentioned in the notes for Volume 1, the producers played that contradiction-trick a few times on us. Often acts of uncomfortable violence are accompanied by music that provides a stark contrast. An example of that is the Eagles’ gentle Tequila Sunset scoring the scene in which Tony beats up his old schoolfriend Davey, the gambling-addicted outdoors goods store owner. An added piquance in that choice is that the two men might well have listened to the Eagles together when they were youths.

Some of the tracks clearly were chosen for their own background story. It cannot be a coincidence that the song playing when Tony kills his would-be assassin in the final episode of Season 1, It’s Bad You Know, is sung by a man who served jail time for killing a man, R.L. Burnside.

The same episode closes with Tony and family finding refuge from the rainstorm in Artie Bucco’s new restaurant. Tony tells the family to “enjoy the little moments that were good” – words he repeats in the final scene of the final episode. A guitar begins strumming as the scene fades to the credits. It’s Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 song State Trooper: “License, registration, I ain’t got none. But I got a clear conscience about the things that I done.”

And then there is that final song from that final scene, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, from 1981 (preceded by Little Feat’s All That You Dream). Producer David Chase has said that whatever song was going to play, it would be something Tony would have listened to when he was younger – a time when he still had the chance to take an alternative path in life. The choice of Don’t Stop Believin’ was inspired. Clearly Tony has long stopped believing. The last words we hear (and which, perhaps, Tony hears) are “Don’t stop”. Then it stops.

Tony picks the final number.

 

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-ratted covers. PW in comments

1. Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Bop Hop (1994)
2. R.L. Burnside – It’s Bad You Know (1998)
3. Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper (1982)
4. Fred Neil – The Dolphins (1966)
5. Steely Dan – Dirty Work (1972)
6. Little Feat – All That You Dream (1978)
7. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man (1973)
8. Eagles – Tequila Sunrise (1973)
9. Lucinda Williams – Are You Alright (2007)
10. Gretchen Wilson – He Ain’t Even Cold Yet (2005)
11. Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home (1996)
12. M. Ward – Outta My Head (2003)
13. The Shins – New Slang (2004)
14. Van M – Glad Tidings (1970)
15. Santana – Jingo (1969)
16. Rubén Gonzalez – Chanchullo (2000)
17. Weezer – Island In The Sun (2001)
18. Creeper Lagoon – Wonderful Love (1998)
19. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

GET IT!

Previous Music from TV shows:
The Sopranos Vol. 1
The Deuce
Freaks & Geeks
The Wonder Years
Soul Train
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 1 (full versions of TV themes)
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 2
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 3
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 4
Any Major TV Themes (as featured in the titles)

More CD-Mixes

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  1. halfhearteddude
    February 28th, 2019 at 12:41 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Ice X
    March 2nd, 2019 at 04:48 | #2

    I know that someone bemoaned the lack of the Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” on Vol. 1, but the real crime is the absence of their “Living on a Thin Line” on either collection! It was “this close” to being the theme song for the entire series until they decided on “Woke Up This Morning”. Love Live the Kinks!

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