Davie Bowie, TV On The Radio, Game of Thrones, and maybe modernity, too, I guess

(Ed note: this post is NSFW. Borderline super NSFW at a certain point.

Last week, the trailer for season five of Game of Thrones was released. If you haven't seen it yet, you're doing yourself a disservice. (If you don't watch Game of Thrones, A, you're doing yourself even more of a disservice, and B, GTFO my blog.) Here it is, if you'd like to refresh yourself:

There's a lot to take in--and I mean a lot--but the most germane thing to the sort of stuff we like to write about here at Earhole is the soundtrack choice: TV on the Radio covering David Bowie's "Heroes." It's no secret--and borderline an inside joke among the staff--how much I love Bowie, so obviously I think this is awesome.

This isn't the first time the show has involved contemporary musicians to contibute to its musical oeuvre: the credits of S3E3 "Walk of Punishment" feature The Hold Steady covering "The Bear And The Maiden Fair", while the credits of S2E9 have The National covering "The Rains Of Castamere". Both are great covers of songs from the books--they're an easter egg of sorts equally for fans of the respective bands, and for book-readers who would actually know the songs.

(It's also worth noting that HBO commissioned a mixtape featuring Big Boi, Daddy Yankee, Common, and others to promote the show. I'm not joking. You judge its merit.)

But the usage of "Heroes" is something else. While the two aforementioned songs are Westerosi in origin, "Hereoes" isn't. It's an extremely popular song, easily one of Bowie's best known (especially from his Berlin period). TV on the Radio are a great choice to cover it: Dave Sitek is one of very few modern guitarists who can hold a candle to Robert Fripp, and vocalist Tunde Adebimpe has enough vocal power to do the original justice. While the other songs are environmental in nature and origin, "Heroes" is neither.

Hearing the song in the trailer's soundtrack removes you from the extremely immersive world of the show and makes you evaluate it for what you're really experiencing: an over-the-top spectacle that millions of people tune in every Sunday to watch, grandiose in its design, with the kind of HBO fuck-you money who can finance a soundtrack choice like this.

"Heroes" is an over-the-top, grandiose stadium rock song, but in a very non-straightforward way. (Note that the quotation marks around the song title are actually part of the song title.) There's a hint of hollowness, of exasperation, in the original and especially in TV on the Radio's cover--we can be heroes, but we're not necessarily. Much in the way that Game of Thrones subverts expectations of fantasy-based fiction, "Heroes" subverts a certain kind of music.

The choice to use the song, while initially (and awesomely) jarring, works on so many levels. I am so hyped for this season to start.

Anyway, this all got me to thinking about other times the show could have used modern music to really push itself over the edge. Without further adieu:


Glen Hansard's "Fallen From The Sky," from the Once soundtrack, would have really lightened an otherwise traumatic scene. It's also way less obvious than Tom Petty's "Freefalling."


(YouTube won't let me embed this one, so just click the above to check it out.)

While the Pixie's "Where Is My Mind" would be another fitting choice, I couldn't bring myself to edit that together in iMovie. So have DMX's seminal "X Gon' Give It To Ya" and pretend things ended differently.



If Renly Baratheon could have heard the smooth, sultry crooning of Paul Anka's "You're Having My Baby), maybe he would have been more okay with his eventual fate.


Young Jeezy lends an air of festivity to the Red Wedding

The whole opening credits

(Same thing, can't embed. Click the link above.)