Television Shows as a Prime Source for Sad Ballads? Hell, Yeah!

How many of you buy music based on songs you hear on television shows? I'm learning that this is a fertile source of discovering new tunes and artists. It requires that one watch television shows, but ... I'm just figuring this out. Let me explain.

My sainted wife, known to many of you as The Vegetarian Who Walks Among Us, worries about me. She thinks I might be too obtuse for my position — that my long-winded and ceaseless pontifications about bands like Gazpacho and Shearwater, however contemporary, completely zoom over the heads of readers like weak sparks from damp bottle rockets. The pyrotechnic device, not the band.

(It should be pointed out here that TVWWAU is a very hip Music Head herself and listens to very eclectic artists and has turned my onto some of my favorite bands — none of whom will be popping up on any Top 40 or classic rock stations anytime soon.)

Anyhoo, what Eileen will occasionally do reminds me of a Tender Mom sneaking a healthy snack in the lunchbox of a child in the hopes that the kid will eat the dried apricot offering instead of buying nine Butterfingers from a vending machine. Instead of apricots, though, Eileen will put some torn-out CD reviews in my shoulder bag. These are extracted from the pages of publications like Rolling Stone or People — and the idea would be that I would read them and be inspired to listen to some of the music and perhaps educate myself into the ways of popular artists as they saturate the pop culture landscape.

I'm looking at a sheaf of Eileen-provided reviews right now. The lead music piece, from Entertainment Weekly, is called “TV Music That Rocks,” and it’s a guide if you're one of those folks who “love the songs you hear on your favorite shows.” In this digest, “TV’s top music supervisors reveal the new acts they’re excited to feature this season.”

Reading, I learned that someone named Season Kent is the music person for a show called Revenge. This season, Season — couldn’t resist — is using tunes by Sun Kil Moon and the Fruit Bats, both of whom are artists I like! Season is also using songs by an Australian bro/sis team called Angus and Julia Stone. One tune is the haunting, dreamy ballad “Hold On,” with Julia sounding as though she’s very weak but brave enough to sing. Another is the haunting, dreamy ballad “For You.” I can see these tunes resonating with young viewers hoping to find their own generation's human representations of the star-crossed lovers from the Swell Season.

There are also suggestions from a woman named Alexandra Patsavas, who is clearly a very important TV music person as she finds tunes for Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl and Hart of Dixie. For Grey, she utilized a British indie rocker named Benjamin Francis Leftwich and his song “Box of Stones.” Ahh! It's a dreamy, haunting ballad. Benjamin sounds weak but strong enough to maybe book a flight from England to Australia to hang out with the Stone siblings. They can all be sad together!

Actually, this sorta stuff reminds me a bit of the great Alex Lloyd -- also an Australian and largely unknown to American audiences. Perhaps Season or Alexandra might be able to use Alex's "Green" sometime. Just a thought, Alexandra. No, don't thank me ...

I'm starting to see that dreamy, haunting ballads are in great demand, probably for the opening or closing credits. The dreamy, haunting ballad plays while we see, in slow motion, the sad high school senior walk away from the flower-clustered scene of a traffic accident. Or: the pale, melancholy but super hot young female vampire, deciding at the last moment NOT to infect the super hot human high school football star who sleeps unknowingly beside her, even though she loves him -- because if she turns him into one of the Undead with her, his career at Southern Cal will never happen! It's the ultimate vampire sacrifice and, as such, absolutely demands a haunting, sad acoustic ballad!

Speaking of vampires and televison shows -- and, according to TV Guide, there are still over seventeen primetime shows that don't involve young vampires -- Christopher Mollere is the Music Dude for The Vampire Diaries. 

Christopher recommends a tune they used in the series premiere. It's called "Drop in the Ocean" by singer-songwriter Ron Pope. Okay, this is getting ridiculous. It's a sad but earnest piano ballad, and, what's worse: if you look at the Angus & Julia Stone videos and then you look at the Ron Pope video ... well, there's a reason you never see Angus and Ron in the same place at the same time. They're the same guy! Oh, by the way, at the three-minute mark of "Drop in the Ocean," Pope stretches out his lyric so it sounds like a wolf howl. TWICE! It fits the spooky vibe of the show, see?

I think this is enough for now, but I promise to get to the other TV Music Person recommendations at top speed. I really will, if only to see if there are ANY that aren't sad ballads aimed at folorn teens.


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