So the weekend got away from me. The five year old (my son’s little brother) got here earlier than expected, proceeded to run from room to room getting into everything, calling and asking for me to help him with whatever it was he was getting into at the moment. I think I ran a half marathon just going between rooms. I’m going to buy one of those 13.1 bumper stickers.
So I didn’t have the time, or the energy, to do much writing. I did, however, have some late-night TV time, as the 5-year old slept. So I finished season 4 of Chuck. If you haven’t seen Chuck, I highly recommend seasons 1-3. If I had to describe season 4 as a whole, I would say that it is not season 3, which in turn was not season 1 and 2. Season 1 and 2 were excellent. However, while it had less of it (presumably because of sagging ratings resulting in a sagging budget), season 4 still had really, really good music. I’m starting to think that whoever picks the music for the show is stealing it my MP3 player. So I thought I’d share a little of the music with you. If you catch me snoring while you listen, ignore it.
Broken Bells “The High Road,” Season 3, Episode 18: “Chuck Versus the Subway”
The song up top there is by the Danger Mouse and James Mercer-from-The-Shins duo, Broken Bells. The whole album is good for a listen or two, but every time I hear this particular track it sticks in my head, as it did the moment I heard it in the background of a Chuck episode. The entire song is a build up to the lines that are repeated to end the song: “It’s too late to change your mind/You let loss be your guide.” I don’t know what happened to Mercer to inspire him to write them, but those lines could be a fitting epitaph to any number of my failed relationships, romantic and otherwise.
The Eels “Fresh Feeling,” Season 1, Episode 8: “Chuck Versus the Truth”
OK, I know The Eels are inconsistent. They’ve got those two songs that everyone knows, one of which is this one, a couple really good Prince covers (which will be in a post in the near future, I promise), and a cult following. It’s such a happy song (and the couple in that video, which is not associated with the band, is adorable) that I have moments when I think they must mean it ironically, but then I think, “It’s OK to be happy,” and I just enjoy the song.
The Gotan Project “Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre),” Season 1, Episode 3: “Chuck Versus the Tango”
I’m going to let you on a little secret: one of my guilty pleasures is electric tango. I have nothing to say about it, other than that I’m not very good at the tango, but if you want a really fun Pandora station, create one using The Gotan Project as the seed.
The New Pornographers “Challengers,” Season 1, Episode 2: “Chuck Versus the Helicopter”
I like the The New Pornographers. When Neko Case is at the helm, I love The New Pornographers. This song, as far as I can tell, is about people having an affair, but Case’s voice is so haunting here that she could be singing about a walk through the fish market, because it’s all I’m hearing.
Gogol Bordello “Ultimate,” Season 1, Episode 12: “Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover”
There is a thing called gypsy punk. Sometimes it’s not very punk, or very gypsy, but in Gogol Bordello’s case, it’s at least a little bit of both. They are the genre’s most popular representative, as far as I can tell, and each of their songs sounds like a wedding or a bar fight is about to break out. Perhaps both at once.
Alexi Murdoch “Crinan Wood,” Season 4, Episode 16: “Chuck Versus the Masquerade”
Alexi Murdoch had this song maybe 12 years ago or so called “Orange Sky.” It is a pretty good song, but I heard it every single time I turned on the radio. Then it was in movies (it was on the Garden State soundtrack, you may recall). I am just now beginning to be able to hear it again. Anyway, this is not that song. It’s also a pretty good song, in Murdoch’s understated, “I might fall asleep while I’m singing” style. Even the emotional climaxes are so subdued that, in a strange way, it gives them more punch. It is as though things have gotten so intense that his voice has been taken from him almost completely.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Rockers to Swallow,” Season 4, Episode 15: “The Cat Squad”
Karen O is a rock star, which means she is meant to be consumed live. In a body suit with tinsel.
Matt Costa “Astair,” Season 3, Episode 7: “Chuck Versus the Mask”
Here’s what I know about Matt Costa: he is a dude, he sings songs, and he had one that I liked in an episode of Chuck. He’s got a little bit of a Mason Jennings thing going.
Rogue Wave “Lake Michigan,” Season 1, Episode 5: “Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp”
Rogue Wave was part of that indie rock renaissance of sorts in the early aughts along with Mercer’s The Shins, Jack White, The Stroke, etc., with its hints of 60s worship and occasional moments of brilliance. This song is pretty close to such a moment, particularly when the guitar and drums are alone with each other at the beginning.
Matt Pond PA “Amazing Life,” Season 2, Episode 17: Chuck Versus the Predator”
Matt Pond PA is sort of like Dave Matthews Band in that it’s a band with one member’s name, but unlike Dave Matthews Band, they tell you where they’re from in the name too. Also a product of the early Aughts indie rock scene, they also have a little bit o’ the 60s, and little bit o’ the modern. Oh, and they don’t even live in Pennsylvania anymore. False advertising.
And with that, I’m going to go fall asleep to Season 5, Episode 1 of Chuck. If you’ve got any more Chuck music that you’d like to share, you know where the comments are.
Oh, and if you could, please click on “Use Old Embed Code” on YouTube when you share songs. That keeps the page load times manageable.