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. Dear Houston (and Internet), We've known each other for a while, and we've started to get pretty close. We think the only thing to do at this stage in our relationship is for me to make you a mix tape of the music from True Blood. We know you like vampires, and since there's no new episode this week, what with the seson finale coming up next week, this felt like the perfect gift to recap eveything that has come thus. Now, when dealing with music and the undead, there are a lot of rules. The first of which is to try and start with something classic. Really classic like jazz standards and Tin Pan Alley tunes. We know we're always trying to bring our fanged friends into the hip and now, but being immortal can make you a little static. That's why we started off with a clasic track like "Hard Hearted Hannah."
We couldn't get a recording of Vampire Bill Compton playing the tune, nor do we have a recording of that Dolly Kay version we know you're so fond of, but you just cannot go wrong with Ella Fitzgerald. You remember the time Bill and Lorena were rubbing naughty buttons all over that one chick's still-bleeding corpse? It reminds us of that.
And speaking of romance, it's never easy when humans and vampires date, not to mention the explosives qualities of a nook cocktail when the weres and shifters and maenads get involved. There's just so many issues with natural/supernatural relationships, including that pesky possibility of being eaten. Makes you long for the days when you were just afraid a girlfriend would break up with you and not return your Bad Livers CD, right?
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So there's tension, is all we're saying, and any mix tape artist will tell you that you build the tension up just high enough, then go one higher. We thought we'd drop Beck's "Timebomb" here. It's about time we catered to the modern Numbers vampire crowd with a little electronica, and what a context, huh? That party at Godric's after he was being held prisoner by that fanatical anti-vampire church. And then they sent that suicide bomber into the house wrapped in silver and boom devices. You just gotta move after that. Now you have to dial it back down a bit. What's going to top a suicide attack? You have to give a listener the chance to rest after something like that. Since we're talking violent death, it behooves us to turn our listener's attention to the pensivity of survivors. Godric just wasn't the same after all that mess went down. He wanted to prove that vampires could evolve beyond killers and live in harmony with humanity.
Course, he tried to do that by letting a bunch of wingnuts burn him alive, but that doesn't mean we should poo-poo his intentions. So he walked into the sun while Sookie forgave him and watched. Let's let Lyle Lovett set that scene with "I Will Rise Up/Ain't No More Cane." Now you're in both a folky and Christ-y kind of mood. We can't help it. The light of God holds a bizarre fascination to the spooky folks. We wanted to keep that mood rolling on, so we dug out King Britt's remix of Sister Gertrude Morgan's "New World in my View."
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Now, the sister was singing, as she always was, about her love of the Lord, but things haven't been really Judeo-Christian in Bon Temps lately. No, it's an older god we've had to appease, as Maryanne the Maenad turns the town into sex-crazed crazies and feeds people to people. So Bill popped in Sister Gertrude and headed off to see the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. She's a caution, isn't she? Where does that take us? We'll it's time to turn it back up again. Can't let someone get complacent listening to a vampire mix tape for Lestat's sake. So, just as things start going to Hades in Bon Temps, we follow along with the father of all goth and shock rock, Mr. Hawkins comma Screamin' Jay. It's all building to a "Frenzy," after all, and we somehow doubt we're getting out of Season 2 without a main character becoming un-alive.
But the No. 1 rule in mix tapes, whether for vampire or regular human being, is to leave them wanting more. Like any good drug, music should keep you needing the services of a good dealer. So here's where we leave you bereft of the money shot. Until next week, Houston (and the Internet), when it all comes down to one song, remember the good old bad times with this mix tape.