Film and TV

The Music of True Blood, Episode 1.5: Playing Chicken With the Train, and an AIDS Burger

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. With Season 2 just completed, Rocks Off is now working our way backwards through the episodes we missed as HBO begins reruns.

Episode 1.5, "Sparks Fly Out"

Country Rap is a lot like Albanian folk dancing... and we're not going to explain that comparison. Just take our word for it. The most famous of the hick-hoppers is Bubba Sparxxx, but this week we focus on one Cowboy Troy. A Longhorn who managed a Foot Locker before achieving success with his first major release Loco Motive, which debuted at Number No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Since then it's been only up and up for Troy.

The debut single from Loco Motive, and a No. 1 Country download from iTunes, was a track called "I Play Chicken With the Train." Being our introduction to the world of country rap, it's quite an experience to hear, bringing a very pleasant meshing of the best of two genres' strengths. Rappers sell their product with themselves, using their own aura as the main drawing force of the music. Country also has that strut, but its superpower lies more in the ability to turn basic folk melodies into powerful performance pieces. What you are left with upon the mating of these styles is big, brash and, most of all, catchy.

And that kind of big bad is exactly why "I Play Chicken With the Train" is the perfect background music for one of the best scenes from True Blood Season 1. A minor character in the book series but a major presence on the show, Lafayette serves as Merlotte's cook. Appreciation of his skills usually heads off confrontation with the more backwards of Bon Temps residents, but a trio of yokels just had to send their burger back because "It has AIDS" on it. The result is...well, it speaks for itself.

True Blood airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. on HBO.

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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