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October 23 2006

"Joss Whedon was particularly good at finding the perfect theme-song writers" says a reader to Matt Roush, hypothesizing that studios today "are just not willing to search out or hire someone to write the perfect song." Under the second question on the page.

Not just writing theme songs, but finding published songs that underscore the emotional core of scenes. I'm embarrased that I haven't delved more into all of the Buffy/Angel music, but let's just say I have Wild Horses by the Sundays as the profile song on my MySpace page (played as Angel and Buffy dance at her prom before he leaves town), and also love Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch (played as Tara leaves Willow at the end of Tabula Rasa). And how senile am I that I can't remember Joss' commentary which I just watched last night after watching most of the whole show again over the last couple of months, about the man who did the fantastic score for Chosen. It really is excellent.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2006-10-23 23:02 ]
Matt, pass-tense rule!
Says the letter-writer:

"I think Joss Whedon was particularly good at finding the perfect theme-song writers. Could you imagine Firefly without its theme!?"

To be fair, it can't have been that hard for Joss to find himself.

(That said, he did find a great performer for that piece, and also found some fine composers for Buffy and Angel.)
Read on, there's a nice little blurb on "critical acclaimed TV". Good stuff. I love Matt Roush. He has always been such a wonderful advocate for Joss and his peeps.
I've always wanted to know how much Joss ( & possibly writers?) had to do with picking or influencing picking some of the tunes that underline the poignancy of so many Buffy moments. I know there were all sorts of composers & music folks involved, but some songs are so present -- so much a part of their scenes that I imagine Joss casting them himself. But I could just be making that story up in my head... And not that it really matters. It was great, either way.

And in a way, it really was the music of Buffy that got me involved in the (online) fandom. I'm such a music freak and I never (but once) went online to read about Buffy or other Whedon-shows until there was a song in Season Six that I wanted & couldn't identify. I visited a Buffy/Angel music site to track it down., which led to more music searches and more Buffy-websites until finally I joined a Serenity site. And so on.

The Buffy music in particular -- the popular songs -- were so well chosen, and so effective that they opened me up to musicians and genres that I probably never would have enjoyed or sought out before. I used to be a pretty much one-trick-folk-pony, except for jazz/blues/classical.

Just one more thing that watching the Joss-world has done for me...
BtVs, Angel, and Firefly all had awesome theme songs. Only one of the new shows I've been watching this year (Standoff) has even had a traditional credit sequence, although the song is nothing special (but the main title design is).
Bones has the traditional credit sequence ... last year they didn't match the actors names with their faces, but this year they've fixed that. Pretty good music too. Hart Hanson(creator) has stated that he's a great fan of Joss's and I wonder if that influenced his choice of opening credits as well.
I used to have every single song from Buffy on my computer. I'm sad that it crashed before I had a chance to burn them to CDs. I hope one day to find them all again and put them on my ipod.
My favourite song on Buffy has to be K's Choice "Virgin State of Mind". Score wise, Close Your Eyes and Chosen (7 minute version which can be downloaded from the composer's site).

Angel wise, hmmm let me see. You know the epic fight scene between Angel and Lindsay in "You're Welcome"? Well it's the score that kicks in when Angel says "I'm Angel and I beat the bad guys". Truly wonderful. I think it's a reworking of a theme that was previously used on Angel.
The first song I heard on Buffy that I knew I must have was "Out of this World" by Bush, but there were plenty. Quoter Gal, what was the song you wanted?
Lioness, it was Trespassers William's "I Know" from the episode "Gone." I could not get Anna-Lynne Williams' voice in that song out of my head until I possessed the song and could play it at will.

You know how that is?

There were many others I loved from earlier episodes, but this was the first that took me a good while to figure out, and it led me to The Magical Online Land of Buffy-dom (and Napster in its death-throes, if I'm recalling correctly,) which sealed my eventual downfall/enthralldom in the Fandom of Whedonia.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-10-24 08:56 ]
My favorite song from Buffy is Prayer of Saint Francis by Sarah McLachlan used on the finale of season six. Beautiful song.

I think Grey's Anatomy does a particularly good job of using music in the show. Or at least they use a lot of music I love.
Veronica Mars had a pretty nice opening song/credit sequence. They kept the same song for Season 3 but they slowed it down a little. I still like it, but I prefer the old one.
Oh, yeah, Odysseus, the prayer song did it to me bad at the end of that episode. Luckily I already owned it, so I could play it to my heart's content.

St. Francis is one of the saints I'm quite fond of...
To be fair, it can't have been that hard for Joss to find himself.

I wonder how long it took him, and if he truly ever did find himself.
Full of Grace absolutely kills me in Becomming pt 2.
QuoterGal, I'm with you on Joss's 'verses extending my music horizons. Thanks to one of my more knowledgeable Whedonite friends, I have many of the songs from BtVS and AtS either on CD or on my computer/iPod - in most cases both! I love Robert Duncan's long version of "Chosen" - did anyone else notice he's scoring The Unit? Besides the soundtrack to OMWF, I have the soundtrack albums from both Firefly and Serenity, the latter of which I am listening to as I type this ;-).

I was already a Sarah McLachlan fan, but certainly "Full of Grace" is one of my favourites. My only disappointment in having the UK version of "Radio Sunnydale" (strongly suggested as the better of the two and I agree) is that it does not have the "Prayer of St. Francis" on it and I have been unable to find it anywhere else. QuoterGal, where did you find it?
I would actually single out Veronica Mars as one of the best shows I've ever seen when it comes to the use of pop music. (Should I give a scoring spoiler warning?) First of all, "We Used to Be Friends" (even the remix, which I'm warming to) is perfect as a theme song, and the choices of songs within the show often sends me chills. Without getting into non-song spoilers, I can't hear "Crimson and Clover" now without flashing to the end of season 1 episode 20, and Ivy's "The Edge of the Ocean" is tied to that scene in season 2 episode 10.

Anyway. Buffy, Angel and Firefly are wonderfully scored series. And the theme songs! Darling Violetta and Nerf Herder are so perfect for their respective shows, not even getting into Joss' own compositional beauty in Firefly. Buffy obviously has the most pop music, and some of them are so wonderful. I'm a Rolling Stones fan, but after seeing Buffy and Angel dancing their last dance, I can't hear the original "Wild Horses" without wishing I were hearing The Sundays. And there are so many moments tied directly to music so that separating them would be unconscionable. "Goodbye to You" in "Tabula Rasa"? The Sarah MacLaughlin at the end of season two and six? "Virgin State of Mind" in "Doppelgangland"? And, probably most of all, "Blue" in "Conversations with Dead People"?

Score-wise, I cherish my Angel and Firefly soundtrack albums, as well as the Buffy scores I've managed to cull together. Just a few notes of "Sacrifice" ("The Gift") or "Remembering Jenny" ("Passion") or the score from "Out of Gas" or the theme that plays over Angel/Cordy's kiss in "You're Welcome" is enough to do me in.
The two Sarah McLachlan songs, The Sundays version of "Wild Horses," "Goodbye to You," "Virgin State of Mind," "Blue," and Duncan's 7-minute score from "Chosen" are some of my favorite pieces of music, and they're all from Buffy. But the piece that haunts me the most is "Out of this World" by Bush. It could have been written specifically for that scene with Buffy and Spike.
WilliamTheB: "And, probably most of all, 'Blue' in 'Conversations with Dead People'? "

Oh, yeah. Made that episode. Plus, Aimee Mann songs & appearance. Oh, god, and this absolutely: Alison Krauss singing "That Kind Of Love" in "Entropy."

(samatwitch, check your email...)
I saw the end of season 2 before all of season 1 (blessed summer reruns), so the first perfect marriage of music and story for me was "Full of Grace." But there are some great relationships in season 1, too, starting with "Ballad for a Dead Friend" in The Harvest, with the first verse inside The Bronze with the dancing kids and then replayed outside with skipping Darla leading her party of vampires to the entrance. The other big standout from season 1 to me is hyena-possessed Xander stalking Buffy across the campus to "Job's Eyes."
Seriously, the music on Buffy was a HUGE part of its appeal. Whoever chose it was absolutely genius. It was this magical combination of visual and audio art that isn't often found.

I did go searching and bought a ton of it, I bought the American and English versions of Radio Sunnydale. Never understood why there were two though. Other than having the Prayer of St. Francis the American one kind of sucks.

I have gone to see many of the bands featured on the show as well after hearing them on the show.

Loved many of the moments/songs listed above but have to add Key by the Devics which is playing in the Bronze in Crush when Spike and Drusilla go hunting. Perfect.
I agree on the greatness of Buffy and Angel music choices, but also We Used To Be Friends and other VM music. Always appropriate to the mood on that show. Some time during S1 of VM, I was watching Wonderfalls on DVD and was amazed to hear that they had used We Used To Be Friends, too, for a scene where Jaye was attending her high school reunion, heh. So, good job on music choices to Mr. Minear, too! ;-)
Thanks, QuoterGal, I've sent you one in return.

ETA, "Key" is one of my favourites, as is "Blue", Aimee Mann's "Pavlov's Bell", Alison Krause's "That Kind of Love" and, of course, Michelle Branch's "Goodbye to You". Sometimes I watch "Tabula Rasa" just so I can hear the song!

[ edited by samatwitch on 2006-10-24 10:07 ]
I have to agree with Matt, particularly in relation to Grey's Anatomy; that theme song is HORRENDOUS. Love the show, but the theme makes me cringe.
Interesting the influence a fave TV show has on our tune selection...

One of my favorite "heard it on TV" discoveries is Massive Attack, whose song Teardrop is the theme to House. Fantastic stuff! How I missed them till now, I don't know...

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