The Music of True Blood: Depeche Mode and Bob Dylan Bring Season 2 to a Close

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. Though we're picking up midway through Season 2, from here on out as each new episode airs, Rocks Off will bring you a short report on the featured music.

Well, Season 2 of True Blood has come and gone. We've shared eternal hymens, vampire Yahtzee and a lot of Wal-Mart's demographic gyrating naked in the streets. Rocks Off must admit to feeling a little drained by the season finale ("Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"), though. Basically, HBO filmed a 30-minute last episode, and forgot that True Blood is an hour long.

The first half ends with mad maenad Maryann getting the most graphic and gruesome consensual piercing from a bull since Minos' wife made sweet Taurean love in the green hills of Crete (see the "Minotaur" entry on Wikipedia). And it was graphic, buddy. There are traps in the Saw films gentler than the way Maryann bit it. So how do you top that mid-episode mark? You do not.

Instead, we watch Bon Temps as a whole deny anything weird happened a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

But we're not here to criticize the show. We're here to talk about the music, and today you get a twofer. Not actually featured in the show, but used a promotion for the finale was a new track from some group named Depeche Mode. Apparently these guys have been around a while, and being a part of something like True Blood could be a really big break for them.

"Corrupt," which is a single off their latest album Sounds of the Universe (released in April), is somewhat jarring for Gahan, Gore and Fletcher. Remember when NIN's "The Perfect Drug" came out and it was like we'd reached the bottom of the downward spiral? That's what "Corrupt" is like. If you lean more towards the "Blasphemous Rumours" Depeche Mode instead of the "Just Can't Get Enough" Depeche Mode, then this is the song you've been waiting for.

But what of the feature song? Well, it's actually a return to how Season 2 entered our collective consciousness. When HBO began hyping us for more vampire fun, they chose to do so with a promotional track from another April 2009 album called Together Through Life by Bob Dylan. The song is "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'," which is a quote from Ovid's Poems of Exile minus a "g." It's a good track, showing that Dylan's lost nothing as an artist as he ages and is still the same old jester in James Dean's coat.

The problem here lies in the song's context. Broken down simply, the song states that love is the only thing in the world, a bastion against an otherwise empty existence. That's beautiful, but can True Blood really be seen as a disciple of this particular Jesus? It can be argued that love in the True Blood universe is more hazardous to your health than enrollment in the Courtney Love Syringe of the Month Club - a point driven home by our last scene of the season where Sookie returns from powdering her nose to tell Vampire Bill she'll marry him, only to find him kidnapped.

Well, that's it for Season 2, but not for your favorite vamp-music column. With True Blood going into re-runs, Rocks Off will continue to analyze and jazzercise the music in episodes we missed before coming up with this idea. Keep checking every Tuesday for more.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner