Pop Culture Brunch: When The Music Plays

The P-mag writers were having a discussion about the power of music in movies and on television. Spurred by this A/V Club article, which reminded me of how much I love the song “Tusk” as well as what an amazing job The Americans with said song in the pilot. 

The best available recording on YouTube doesn’t allow embedding, so click right here to hear it.

We brainstormed an entire list of examples of the best and worst of music in pop culture, including songs that have lost their edge because of overuse. (Must every stripper dance to Goldfapp?) Rather than c/p it here, I’m going to be a good editor and make all the writers come share in the comments. Jump in with your favorites, too!

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[E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

7 thoughts on “Pop Culture Brunch: When The Music Plays”

  1. The Marilyn Manson version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” just played on a commercial, which reminds me how ubiquitious it can be as a ‘scary song’. I actually haven’t heard Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” used a lot recently — I think it’s moment has passed, like Orff’s “Carmena Buruna” as the soundtrack to every movie trailer.

    Gary Jule’s cover of Tears for Fear’s “Mad World” gets trotted out a lot, though I think it maintains it’s emotional effect. I’ve heard The Pixies “Where is My Mind” a bit recently. I think it’s interesting that you can sort of track the ages of people who are directing or making the soundtrack decisions, because it sounds to me like the older end of Gen X seems to be setting the musical choices right now.

  2. OH OH OH AND for an example of a song that is both overused but still somehow retains its emotional resonance for me: Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around.” Every time I hear it, I KNOW I’m being emotionally manipulated, but I’m oddly OK with it.

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