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Good Neighbors

A look inside the local house-show circuit.

Music also spilled over into the plotlines, like Christopher's short-lived Season 1 friendship/business relationship with the rapper Massive Genius in aptly named episode "A Hit Is a Hit." But in the end, the music supervisors at The Sopranos wound up choosing exactly the right song for whatever was going on in the script so many times, we couldn't help but just pick five of our favorites. A couple may be rather obvious, but that should just go to show what an impact they had.

5. The Kinks, "I'm Not Like Everybody Else"

The Davies brothers close the Season 5 episode "Cold Cuts," as Janice chases Tony around his kitchen with a fork, emblematic of a dysfunctional sibling rivalry perhaps surpassed only by Ray and Dave.

Willie D
Peter Beste
Willie D

4. The Rolling Stones, "Undercover of the Night"

A politically charged track about South American intrigue from 1983's Undercover, this song was almost forgotten until it ran over the end credits of Season 5's "Rat Pack." Now the Stones are playing it on tour again.

3. Frank Sinatra, "It Was a Very Good Year"

Sopranos montages were not averse to using all three, four, five minutes of a song, often brilliantly, if that's how long it took to tell the story. Here, Ol' Blue Eyes croons his autumnal September of My Years masterpiece as Tony's mom languishes in the hospital, Uncle Junior is released from prison, Silvio gets fitted for typically natty new threads, FBI agents update their Tony-tracking corkboard and the Sopranos world spins into Season 2. Frank Jr. himself appeared (as himself) later that season in "The Happy Wanderer."

4. Alabama 3, "Woke Up This Morning"

There have been other opening-credits songs that have defined their series and even crossed over onto the pop charts (Friends, Cheers), but this track from the UK electronica trio with an odd proclivity for American roots music may be the only TV theme that still functions as an excellent time capsule from the groggy, paranoid post-9/11 United States. Never mind that it was originally released in 1997.

5. Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'"

Closing out the series in that enigmatic diner scene everybody understood to be about death, but nobody really understood, the surprising appearance of "Don't Stop Believin'" stripped the song of all the humdrum qualities drummed into us by millions of classic-rock-radio spins, and restored its status as one of the most melancholy, affecting, inspirational power ballads in rock history.
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ASK WILLIE D

TWO SETS OF KIDS
Money is tight and one dad needs some advice.

WILLIE D

Dear Willie D:

I have two sets of children: The first three are via my ex from a turbulent ten-year relationship; the last two are with my current wife. When the ex and I split, the kids went with her back to her home state. They left driving my only car. Seeing as she never held a steady job throughout the course of our relationship, I committed as much as I could to ensure their stability.

I'm now being demonized because I'm not in the same financial place I was as a newly single male, so the money I have to send is dwindling as I deal with my own income trials. I've always kept the courts out of my affairs, but I don't know what to do, as I'm tired of being told, "Well, you knew your responsibilities. You shouldn't have had any more kids!" What do I do?

Demonized Dad:

Paying child support is like making records; you're only as good as your last hit. Give them 100 classics in a row and the first time you miss the mark, you're a bum. Babies are expensive business. If you want to keep the courts out of this, the best thing to do is to humble yourself and have a candid conversation with your ex about your finances. Just like with the IRS, you may have to show her your financial records and work out a payment plan.

Personally, I think putting everything on record in a court of law is the best way to protect yourself. That way she can't come back and say you didn't pay. But know that the courts don't care that you have a new life, a wife and two more babies to take care of. Your ex damn sure don't care. All she considers is what you're doing for her kids. Contrarily, your wife probably feels the same way about your obligations to the children you share with her.

I feel for you, man. You seem like a good dude, but this is one of those situations where you made your bed, lay in it, had sex, fathered babies and now you have to pay for them, even if the money is gone.

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