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The music in Six Feet Under had such an amazing sound to it, like the music in the movie written by Alan Ball, American Beauty. From the beginning theme tune, to the incidental music, it was quirky enough to hold interest. There seems to be something about shows made by HBO where they go that extra mile for the score and the music contained within their shows, and Six Feet Under is no exception. Considering it is a dark comedy about death, and the lives of others after death, it has a refreshingly upbeat sound to it, for the most part. I am permanently haunted by the beginning theme of the show, and can listen to the title track of the album again and again (it just feels way too short). I know there is a second album out now and I have yet to pick it up, but in the meantime I can gently let this one lull me into a sense of security. Life goes on.
I bought this c.d. at the beginning of last year when it first came out and before we knew that the series would come to an untimely end. Actually, I say untimely but perhaps it was for the best, since so many excellent TV programmes go on long past their sell by date and end up leaving the viewer longing for less. I think, on reflection that Six Feet Under (hereafter SFU) probably bowed out at the right time.
The series (which will probably be familiar to most) was based on the lives and times of the Fisher family and their acquaintances, living and loving and most importantly dying in California in the Here and Now. Best known for being quirky, rude, funky and unafraid of dissecting and laying bare the most taboo topics in our society, SFU was accompanied by an eclectic and electric soundtrack. I loved it. Part of the whole SFU experience was loving the music and guessing the musicians. Hence my lavish expenditure of 18 (yes people, that's EIGHTEEN) pounds on this album.
"Six Feet Under Theme"by Thomas Newman. If you don't already know it you will probably recognise it anyway. It's original, light but with a sinister twist and a poignancy that hints at what you are about to see in the programme. Lovely stuff.
"Lamb" by Heaven. A Very quirky number. Not mine or many people' tastes I would imagine. A delicate female vocal over drum beats and what sounds like a metallic harp. It turns into somewhat of a trance like dance track. Very atmospheric.
"Deep Down and Dirty" By Stereo MCs. Funky electro type piece with an overlying rap and some VERY strong lyrics! Again, not something that I would ever buy, but somehow it really works. It conjures up images from the series, in particularthe sexual relationship between Nate Fisher and Brenda.
"I Love Being here With You" Peggy Lee. Who could not like this?! Big band sound, big voice and sexy lyrics. Very retro. Get your fancy shoes on and dance like nobody's watching!
"One Time Too Many" PJ Harvey. Usually too miserable for my liking, Polly gives it her all on this rock track. Loads of Guitar and some synthesizer. Loads of sampled voice sounds. Again, we are in it for the atmosphere! Reminiscent of some of the late 60's psychedelic rock. I imagine you could get very high listening to this track ( I repeat, IMAGINE)
"Squares" The Beta Band. Another song that loads of us probably have heard but don't know the band or the title. Beat driven, sampled sounds with ballad type lyrics. I am reminded of a song from the mid-nineties "Glory Box" by Portishead. If that helps. It probably doesn't.
"Distractions" Zero 7. Another ballad type song. Slow with lots of bass guitar in the intro, some synth sounds in the background. A very good female vocalist sings a bluesy melody and is joined by some acoustic guitar. Middle of the road stuff really and the only average song on the album.
"Inspiration Information" Shuggie Otis. This is your classic mid seventies sound. Think middle years Jackson Five, early Stevie Wonder. Nice beat, some great harmonies and a definite "Starsky and Hutch" vibe Mmmmm Nice!
"Pure and Easy" The Dining Rooms. Starts with cymbals and drums, then you get some bass guitar and loads more percussion. Lounge music at its finest. Might send you to sleep though. It's very hypnotic stuff. Not my cup of tea though!
"Let's go Out Tonight" Craig Armstrong. Ballad, ballad, ballad. Six minutes of ballad. Gorgeous voice, great lyrics, wonderful instrumentals but dear God, cut it short! I must keep reminding you that you need to be aware that these tracks were chosen as soundtracks and as such they don't all work well without the televisual information, but as background atmosphere they are perfect.
"Spooky" Classics IV. Yes, you know it. It is that one. "Love is kind of crazy with a spooky little girl like you" Dusty Springfield did it better in my opinion, but this is still great.
"Bohemian Like You" The Dandy Warhols. A strange number this. There are loads of drums and guitars, which I love, but I am never sure whether I like the song or not. It's unmistakeable and you will have heard it in an advert somewhere. It's "psychedelic power pop" according to Wikipedia. I think I like it. Maybe not. Or do I? Does it matter?
"Mis Dos Pequenas" Orlando Cachaito Lopez. This is Latin American instrumental. It's probably a Bossa Nova or a samba. I don't know the difference and I am suddenly very ashamed of that! Its sexy and dancy and that's all you need to know for now!
"Waiting" The Devlins. At last, another folk rock type song. These are my favourites. Songs with a bit of a message. This is a Dublin band and they are underrated in my opinion. This is an excellent track. Very thoughtful and musically clever. Lots of ellipses!
At the end of the disc you get two more versions of the theme tune, both of which I think are redundant. The tune is good and doesn't need messing with. There is a hidden track that is just awful, I iwll leave you to find that one out for yourselves!
The packaging on my copy is superb. It is not in a jewel case, rather in a cardboard sleeve with interior pages that contain photos and info from the tv series. It's different and attractive and almost justifies the price! Amazon are selling the CD much cheaper now at £8.97. I cannot vouch for the packaging, it may be standard.
In conclusion, this is a thought provoking album. You won't like everything on it, but you will get a sense of the kind of ambience of the show. You will also get some introduction to music that you maybe never considered buying before, that's a good thing broaden your horizons!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Six Feet Under
3 Deep Down And Dirty
4 I Love Being Here With You
5 One Time Too Many
8 Inspiration Information
9 Pure And Easy
10 Let's Go Out Tonight
12 Bohemian Like You
13 Mis Dos Pequenas
15 Six Feet Under
16 Six Feet Under
17 Yummy Yummy Yummy