True Blood: Care Bears on Fire & Some New Wallflowers
Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood -- which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
Have I mentioned that Tina Marjorino is running around True Blood being the world's most adorable vampire tech support? 'Cause she is, and I was on pins and needles near the end of the episode praying to whatever god is in charge of nerds with a crush that she didn't end up as a goo pile.
That god was apparently up and taking calls. because even though her attempt to escape the vampire authority compound with Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) ends up a clusterfuck when a newly religious Bill (Stephen Moyers) betrays them, she managed to keep her insides inside.
It's all part of the upcoming civil war between the vampires and the rest of the world. The undead version of the religious right is hellbent on slaughter in the name of naked Persian vampire Jesus lady Lilith.
Meanwhile in Bon Temps, we learn that the Obamas, hate-crime perpetrators targeting supernaturals while wearing Obama masks, are actually being led by the chubby beau of former sheriff Bud Dearborne. Patterned after the KKK, their goal is to take back the world and "get flags with their faces on them" for their brave deeds.
In short, all hell's a-coming, and it actually starts right here in Houston! In the True Blood universe our city is host to the largest manufacturing plant of the synthetic blood in the world, and the world domination plan starts out by bombing it.
I don't know if that's a nod to our Medical Center, all the brewing we do, or all the chemical refineries, but it was kind of neat all the same.
The egotist in me wonders if maybe Alan Ball reads the column. If he does... Hi, Alan!
So what music accompanies all this ensuing mayhem?
Well, first off, we got a welcome listen to a cut from the new Wallflowers album coming out later this October, their first in seven years. The song was "First One In the Car," a dark little tune that Alcide (Joe Manganiello) listens to in an absolutely pointless scene where he drives to his drunken, outcast father to tell him he lost the battle for wolfpack leadership. It's just one more example of True Blood showing all the two-natured supes as trash, and frankly it's a little annoying.
That being said, the brief glimpse at the first new work from the Wallflowers in years was pretty damned sweet. Lyrically, it's got all of those Jakob Dylan twists that made things like "One Headlight" hits, and the tone is a lot more mature and not centered in that late '90s production style that effed so many songs in the A.
But the episode is called "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Did we get Tears for Fears? Yes and no.
Oh it's that song, which I heard a million times tuning into Dennis Miller on HBO before he left funny in his other pants. I never really realized how dark that tune really is. Curt Smith said of it, "The concept is quite serious -- it's about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes."
Giving it a good listen recently, it's impossible to miss the menace of the track's message.
The version we get in the episode is from the grrl-rock act Care Bears on Fire. I've got to admit, I thought the original would've played nicely here with its deceptive poppiness playing counterpoint to the despair of Eric as his attempt to escape fails. Instead, it's the pop-punkers.
Initially, I hated the damned thing like the cynical, bitchy goth I am. Even my notoriously egalitarian ass cringed at the thought of yet another unnecessary cover. After a few more turns in the YouTube player though, I think that the girls really do bring out another point of view in the track. It's got a rawness that the original was missing.
Plus, let's be honest. When it was thrown on Tears for Fears' Songs From the Big Chair it was clearly put there as a crossover adult-contemporary track designed to appeal to the norms. It didn't have any bite. Care Bears on Fire gives it some balls... or vagina dentata, if that's your pleasure.
Actually, yeah, I like that last one. It gives me a little more hope for Ms. Majorino to walk away from all the vamper politics. Chick-rock fist-pump and a bit of extra bite can't hurt when it comes to surviving an idiotic religious genocide.
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