STEEZ YOU CAN HEAR VOL.37: HBO’S WATCHMEN

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THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST IS INSPIRED BY HBO’S WATCHMEN TELEVISION SERIES.  I’M A HUGE FAN OF THE ORIGINAL COMIC FROM 1985 AND THE HBO SERIES MORE THAN MET MY EXPECTATIONS.  THE MUSIC  IMPLEMENTED IN THE SHOW IS OUTSTANDING AND ADDS AN EXTRA LAYER FOR THE AUDIENCE TO THINK ABOUT.  CHECK OUT THE PLAYLIST BELOW AND MY WRITE UP UNDERNEATH TO SEE EXACTLY HOW CERTAIN SONGS PLAY INTO THE PLOT AND GIVE THE SERIES AN EXTRA DIMENSION.  EACH SONG IS IN ITSELF A “THERMODYNAMIC MIRACLE”

PLAYLIST FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 30, 2019:

  1. Crushed Up by Future: The series’ first scene in the present day puts us in an electric pickup truck driven by a white supremacist bumping this track by Future while getting pulled over by a black cop in a mask.  It sets the tone for the series and lets the audience in on what they should expect.
  2. Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today) by The Temptations: “fear in the air, tension everywhere” perfectly summarizes the first few episodes of the season.  The cops are on high alert and the clock is ticking…
  3. Symphony No.29 in A by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Enter: Ozymandias
  4. Nothing Fades Like the Light by Orville Peck: I’d put this song on another “steez” playlist completely forgetting that I had heard it on Watchmen.  It’s a haunting track that fits perfectly with the tone and theme of the show.
  5. Egg Man by Beastie Boys: Incredibly cognizant pick by whoever chose the music for this series (as you’ll see below).  It’s crazy how spoiler’s can be hidden in music as literal easter eggs so early in the season.  This track caught my ear at the time but it wasn’t until the final credits rolled on Episode 9 when I finally understood its significance.
  6. Israelites by Desmond Dekker: I love this choice because it shows how much the showrunners paid attention to the original source material.  In the original comic, Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias talks about listening to a new form of Reggae and Electronic music called “dub.”  In the show, we see Ozy bumping this track in his mansion while we slowly learn more about him and his plight.
  7. Islands in the Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers: Who would’ve thought a TV show would get me to listen to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers?  Now that’s a thermodynamic miracle. 
  8. You’re My Thrill by Billie Holiday: Yet another example of respect being shown to the original comic. This song is “played” when Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II decide to don their costumes once again in the comic and save civilians from a tenement fire.  In the show it’s played with Laurie Blake (Silk Spectre II) riding in the car with Angela and Petey in a kind of awkward moment of self introspection.
  9. Time is on my Side by Irma Thomas: “tick tock, tick tock”… as the show goes on, the clock keeps ticking towards doomsday.
  10. Theme from New York, New York by Frank Sinatra: November 2, 1985: A giant squid is dropped on New York City…
  11. Some Enchanted Evening by Frank Sinatra: The inclusion of back to back Frank Sinatra songs in the show gives the episode an air of classic appeal and brings you back to the time period of the original comic. We finally see the giant squid dropped on New York (after the movie robbed us of that image) and having Frank sing over those images of a destroyed New York is beautiful and terrifying simultaneously.  It helps to put us on the scene at ground level.
  12. Careless Whisper by Nataly Dawn: Aside from Deadpool, I’ve never heard a more perfect inclusion of “Careless Whisper” in a soundtrack.
  13. The Way it Used to Be by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: In the flashback episode: “This Extraordinary Being”, Watchmen drops all the way back into the 1930’s/’40’s and the music follows suit.  An entire episode of flashbacks was a bold move on the part of the show and it pays off in a huge way as the Hooded Justice reveal changes the whole trajectory of the series (and the Watchmen universe as a whole).
  14. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Eartha Kitt: “When your heart’s on fire, you must realize// Smoke gets in your eyes”.  The music remains relative to the time period.
  15. Living in America by James Brown: This song is unbelievably catchy and it’s placement within the episode is pretty outrageous: Vietnam, right before Angela’s parents are blown up by a suicide bomber… At this point in the show, Angela’s arc is nearly fleshed out in full as we dive deeper into her personal history.
  16. Everytime you Go Away by Daryl Hall & John Oates: “and everytime you go away// you take a piece of me with you”… this track is a heart wrenching inclusion to the episode as Angela finally gains part of her family back only to lose it again instantly. It also sets the scene for….
  17. Life on Mars? by David Bowie: spoiler alert: DR. MANHATTAN IS ON EARTH!…. I decided to keep Bowie’s original track on this playlist if only because the show’s cover (also great) made me listen to this song on repeat over and over again after I heard it in the episode “An Almost Religious Awe.”
  18. Mr. Blue by The Fleetwoods: “Our guardian star lost all his glow// the day that I lost you.”  This is probably my favorite song from the show and it’s a perfect addition to the show in the way it humanizes Doc Manhattan.  Also, another great bit of foreshadowing in the lyrics…
  19. I Am the Walrus by The Beatles: And finally, we come back to the egg… I mentioned above that “Egg Man” by the Beastie Boys was a tremendous bit of foreshadowing and this is where it comes to fruition. I won’t spoil anything but leaving this easter egg cliffhanger was a crazy flex by the show and also a tremendous and triumphant conclusion to a fantastic show. After all, “you can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs”…

 

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