As many of our regular readers know, I love music. I also love a movie or television show that introduces me to awesome music, most likely by bands I have never been exposed to before. One of the first shows that hooked me on new music was USA Network’s La Femme Nikita. (You can check out the music here: http://tinyurl.com/3a8of46). Chuck is also a show like that for me. I maintain a playlist in my iTunes for Chuck that has 78 songs and counting. I have also shared ideas of what I would use based on various scenarios I’d like to see play out on screen, which I’ve probably bored you with a little too often 🙂 . This article is a celebration of my top 3 favorite songs, and top 3 music moments on the show. My co-bloggers and I will regale you with our choices after the break!
Ok, my top three favorite songs (and I’m actually using the iTunes counter to validate my choice-yeah, I’m a nerd) used on Chuck are:
#3, with 109 plays:, “Backwards Walk” by Frightened Rabbit. I remember when it came on during Pink Slip, it caught me instantly as perfect for the scene. I remember batting around who the artist was until I was able to look it up and subsequently download it.
#2, with 117 plays: “God and Suicide” by Blitzen Trapper. It was played in the beginning of Lethal Weapon, while Chuck lay next to Sarah in bed, cocooning himself in blankets as a man overwhelmed by her proximity and afraid of his own desires. I loved the harmonies and still remember thinking, “poor Chuck!”
and my #1 choice, with a staggering 256 plays (and counting): “The Twist” by Frightened Rabbit. I honestly don’t recall exactly where it played (I know “Keep Yourself Warm” is another fave by Frightened Rabbit, used in scenes with Jill). The song sticks with me, the piano methodically playing on, the drum picking up the beat. I love it!
I kind of double dipped on songs/scenes, so I guess I’ll do a few more as honorable mentions.
#3, “Challengers” by The New Pornographers. It played during the scenes of Bryce’s funeral in Helicopter. I think the lead singer’s voice is amazing and the lyric set the stage for the funeral.
#2, “Sleep Driving” by Grand Archives. It played at the end of Tom Sawyer as Chuck and Sarah discussed his Stanford diploma and making a wish as the Air Force bounced Morimoto’s satellite off the atmosphere. The scene has stuck with me all this time.
and #1, which probably won’t be a surprise to anyone, is my choice of “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone at the end of Honeymooners.
“Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel
Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don’t you know
Butterflies all havin’ fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done
That’s what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
Pick my three favorite musical moments from Chuck? Tougher, and more permanent, but do-able. Frightened Rabbit’s “Keep Yourself Warm” at the end of Chuck Versus The Fat Lady, The National’s “Slow Show” at the end of Chuck Versus The Tango and The Shin’s “A Comet Appears” at the end of Chuck Versus The Intersect with two must mention honorable mentions for Toto’s “Africa” at the end of Chuck Versus The Best Friend and Slow Club’s “Christmas TV” for the second wedding in Chuck Versus The Ring. Oddly I wasn’t much of a Toto fan back in the day.
The impossible part is this. I’d given up on looking for good new music. It used to be a hobby, an obsession at times. My vinyl collection still tops 400 not counting my father’s collection. I still have multiple working turntables. I can play ’78’s for gods sake! (Those of you scratching your heads don’t worry, crazy Uncle Ernie’s just “bringing grumpy back”) But at some point as friends stopped exchanging new bands or we just settled into a comfortable nostalgia and the “classic rock” station I just quit looking. Until Chuck. There is so much new music I’ve discovered through Chuck, whether it was on the show or not, that narrowing down what I like about the music, be it the new bands, the musical moments, the single songs, or the places those discoveries lead me is downright impossible.
Dave’s an Odd Duck
I rarely weigh in on music. Strange. I really am a bit of a music fanatic. Most days, I’ll listen to 150 or so songs on my iPod (and its hard drive is almost full with 12000 songs), its almost always running. I’ve had people say I have the most eclectic taste of anyone they know (I normally say they don’t know my wife very well). From Beatles to Bach to Glenn Miller to Michelle Tumes. And I really like a lot of the music on Chuck. But very little of it has made its way into my library.
But I can pick three favorite musical moments. These are scenes where the music, imagery, and story are so in synch that they blow me away. They are scenes that are burned into my mind.
1) I’ll be very predictable here and start with “A Comet Appears” from the Pilot. To me this virtually defines the show. Its beautiful and reflective. It almost makes me cry every time I watch, and I’ve watched the Pilot a lot.
2) for the next one I’ll have to mention that yes, I also like the music of Wierd Al Yankovic and Spike Jones, so I plead “no taste” up front. But I do love Jeffster’s take on Mr Roboto, even after they turn into Styx. Has to be the best orchestration of absurdity and violence ever to make broadcast television. Considering “Christmas TV” makes my honorable mentions, “The Ring” is an awesome episode for music.
3) I know I would loose all credibility as a ‘shipper if I didn’t name “Feeling Good” from Honeymooners to the list. To me, its the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen on television, period.
Joe Sings Out
Oh, wow. I didn’t realize I had hired a bunch of music-freaks like me! Great minds, they say…
Deeply personal, it’s impossible to get across in words the images that I have now in my head that stem from the music we’ve heard. They’re not limited to the show, either. Too many times the songs from from iPOD play lists have made their way into real life and wrapped themselves around my wife, my friends, my family… It’s rather magical.
There are songs never heard in Chuck that should have been featured; Arcade Fire’s Ocean of Noise for one. Chuck must have had these words going through his head during most of season 1 and 2.
In an ocean of noise
I first heard your voice
Ringing like a bell
As if I had a choice, oh well!
Left in the morning
While you were fast asleep
Into an ocean of violence
A world of empty streets
You’ve got your reasons
And me I’ve got mine
But all the reasons I gave
Were just lies to buy myself some time
The much more famous Wonderwall by Oasis could have been used for the motel scene in The Colonel. If would have changed the mood completely, but it would have been every bit as passionate. Imagine these lyrics going through – not Chuck’s but Sarah’s head as she strokes Chuck’s hand.
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
But I don’t know how
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You’re my wonderwall
But it’s time to state my picks. I’m going to deliberately pick one from each season. Even then, I want to give honorable mentions to almost everything that was used.
For season one, I agree with Ernie about The Nationals Slow Show (great pick!) and (along with Dave) A Comet Appears by the Shins. Anyone who’s ever felt insubstantial (which is just about everyone) understands that song. Yet nothing affected me more than Blitzen Trapper’s God and Suicide for exactly the reasons that Amy said. Besides, I think I knew that girl, once, years ago.
But I name The Eels Fresh Feeling as my first choice because it exemplifies the entire season for me. You hear it and you know something great is around the corner.
For season two, I have to leave off wonderful songs like Toto’s Africa and Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads, but that’s only because those hits have too many other associations for me from the past. I refuse to leave this without mentioning Around the Bend by Asteroids Galaxy Tour (Chuck walks into Roark Industries), Bloc Party’s Signs, Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and Christmas TV by Slow Club.
When all is said and done, I have to pick Luisa’s Bones by Crooked Fingers as my favorite from season two, and maybe of all time, for all the reasons I’ve tried to give over many posts.
As hard as it was to choose for season 2, it’s become just as difficult for me to decide on one song from season 3. Imogen Heap’s Wait It Out had to be the season’s watch word and theme. And if it wasn’t, Frightened Rabbit’s Backwards Walk was. Then there’s Miike Snow’s San Soleil. “You make it hard.”
It was bitter, how they were talking to us through the music. Then they brought us back, uplifted with Nina Simone’s Feelin’ Good and Temper Trap’s Down River. Gaslight Anthem’s bitter-sweet Here’s Looking at You, Kid demands to be heard.
GakhaK! These are the songs I have to NOT pick! Look at what just happened. Just as soon as I think that nothing could affect me more than the music of season 2, season 3 comes along and does just that! I know. Close my eyes,… “einee, meanee, minee, moe…”
So finally, for my last pick I choose Frightened Rabbit’s Swim Until You Can’t See Land, because it’s personal.
I feel like a parent who’s been forced to choose one of his children as his favorite. It ain’t fair.