True Blood: Imagine Dragons... I Don't Get It

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. Much thanks to True-Blood.net, who has offered to help us with tracking down the songs of True Blood post-episode.

So here we are again, friends and neighbors, at the end of a other season of True Blood, and like pretty much every other season. it ends on a "meh" note. I don't really know why this show has just never been able to really pull off a really first-rate season finale.

Part of it is the fact that the show has fielded exactly one good Big Bad in its run in the form of Russell Edginton. Warlow proved himself just another almost one-dimensional villain in the end, and his defeat, while triumphant in that the criminally underused Rutger Hauer made his return, was so unartfully done that it was honestly like watching two people play Mortal Kombat for the first time.

It's not until the end when Warlow lets all his grace fall away that I realize what a truly ham-fisted analogy his arc is for the heartbreak of an abusive relationship. He's pretended to come to her rescue, bargained with her for her hand, and now he starts hitting her and telling her she'll learn to love him. It is literally every single bad marriage I've ever seen in my life but with an Abercrombie and Fitch model with fruit-punch mouth.

That's not to say there weren't good moments in the show. It was nice to see Tara and her mother come to some sort of healing, and Bill on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell promoting his book about being vampire Jesus was easily one of the best moments on the show, period. Deborah Ann Woll turned in a very heartfelt moment offering Andy protection against vampires infected with Hepatitis V as part of Louisiana's donor/bodyguard program.

But really all this is set to simply lead into Season 7, as a suck of vampires (What do you call them? A flock?) descends on the community hungry and thoroughly rotting from their mutated disease. Next season we're definitely going to see a radical change in tone again, and that gives me hope because change has generally kept the show interesting. We'll have to see next May.

Hopefully next season will be a little less Caligula.

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The show ends with Imagine Dragons' uber-hit "Radioactive," from which the episode takes its name. I've got to be honest, I have no idea what the hell anyone sees in this band. It's Blue October for the new electronic era, a kind of post-Coldplay apocalypse. They're not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but like much of the writing over the last season, their music feels skin-deep. It doesn't bite.

It's rare I get to have an entire wiki entry on a song to make the post-episode research easy on me, but with the third most downloaded song of the year there's a lot of exposure for the track.

Singer Dan Reynolds on the writing...

'Radioactive,' to me, it's very masculine, powerful-sounding song, and the lyrics behind it, there's a lot of personal story behind it, but generally speaking, it's a song about having an awakening; kind of waking up one day and deciding to do something new, and see life in a fresh way.

Let's be clear... I'm a lyricist myself, and I've interviewed over 100 other songwriters in the course of my journalistic career. When someone says that sort of thing about their own song, it means that they have no idea what it's about. Reynolds, who reportedly has struggled much of his life with depression, says the song represents coming out of a dark place.

I can see that, and I'm not here to knock how another man expresses his pain, but for me the edge of the track is really just a shine on a dull blade. In that, it's reminds me of how this season rocketed to a close on the back of brutal bloody murders and increasing amounts of almost cartoonish hypersexuality. What might have had meaning in the beginning gets buried under exposition that's as subtle as a KISS song.

On the other hand, the official video for Imagine Dragons you see up there is proof that everything has a redemption. There may be more to the band than I'm allowing if they're the kind of guys who can narrate a stuffed-animal cockfighting ring with their song. True Blood could learn a thing from them.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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