What is one to do with thoughts that are far too long for Twitter but not nearly long enough for a proper blog post? Why round them up and turn them into a fifth portmanteau post on television of course!
RTE Heart Hans Zimmer
Have you noticed a tendency for everything to be drowned in Hans Zimmer music lately? I think it was when I was watching a serious and rather good RTE documentary on the bank guarantee in 2008 that I first got annoyed at the tendency to plaster Hans Zimmer scores over everything. I don’t need the Joker’s musical theme shimmering over tales of dodgy American sub-prime mortgages and CFD problems in Anglo-Irish Bank to know that someone is engaged in villainous double-dealing. I don’t need to have the pulsasting Batman goes to war music playing over accounts of frantic meetings late at night to know that action was being taken to avert a crisis. There has to come a point where talking heads in a documentary are allowed to speak and the audience is treated as intelligent enough to grasp the implications of what they’re saying without needing a musical cue of the most bombastic sort. And that’s the other problem. Does everything need to have The Dark Knight or Inception backing it?These are very recognisable and quite well-known soundtracks whose constant intrusion into a serious documentary can pull you right out, as you think about the Nolan movie instead of what you’re watching. The one free pass I’ll give anyone regarding use of Hans Zimmer is TG4 booming Inception music for their rugby coverage because at least it’s a change from Kasabian (see below…). It’s time to stop spoon-feeding the audience, and subsidising Mr Zimmer.
Kasabian: Born to Rock/Soundtrack Sport
Kasabian are one of those bands who appear to have the stars aligned in their favour. I went to see their show in Marlay Park a few weeks ago, only knowing the The West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum, and was taken aback at just how many of their songs I actually knew. There is a story told that Richard Linklater wanted to use ‘Immigrant Song’ for a scene in his 2004 film School of Rock and was taken aback to be asked for 10 times as much money as he’d had to fork over to use Led Zeppelin for his 1993 film Dazed and Confused; indeed the amount asked for ‘Immigrant Song’ equalled the budget for his entire 1993 movie, and only after much begging was he able to get the price down to a reasonable level. Kasabian emerged at a moment when industrial illegal downloading had so decimated traditional revenue streams that licensing music for TV and cinema was becoming not just a clever way of getting exposure (a la Moby with Play) but damn near the only way you could be guaranteed getting paid when people listened to your music. Enter Kasabian, whose breakthrough single ‘Clubfoot’ was used on TV spots for Smallville and 24 and damn near every action film for a year. Since then they’ve carved out an incredible niche. I don’t know how they do it but damn near every song Kasabian release as a single seems to have the potential to become the soundtrack to TV sports. ‘Underdog’, ‘Vlad the Impaler’, ‘Fire’, ‘Days Are Forgotten’, ‘Velociraptor’, and others have all popped up. They provide the title music for rugby on RTE, the theme tune of football on Sky, and the background music for fixture lists and league tables while pundits converse at half-time on several channels. Kasabian have established their music as the default setting for TV editors. This is both remarkable and financially lucrative – how do they do it?