What is music for in TV? It’s there to help set the scene, it’s an instrumental method to enhance your viewing experience. And it’s one of the most important components to TV. Here are a handful of shows with distinctive soundtracks to match:
Reporter: Larry Gliddon | Sub-Editor: Andrew Whiteford
1. Stranger Things: It’s about a group of children who are all really good friends but one of them gets trapped in a different world and everybody works together to set him free. There’s a lot of monsters, fighting and gore – something you wouldn’t really associate with a group of children, but the main themes of the show is love and friendship, and a wholesome show deep down. Set in Indiana circa 1980’s, the soundtrack is a consistent synthesiser fest. All in a key to emphasise dread. Not to mention, the basic chord sequences compliment the young characters. The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” is played every once in a while during the entirety of the show acts as its own narrative.
2. Top Boy. Starring Kano and Asher D, Top Boy has a Kidulthood/Adulthood presence around it. Top Boy touches on a lot of sensitive topics in life that can be so relatable. There’s a lot of children, drugs, and violence involved – even mental health is covered, and the soundtrack is like a sad composition that goes perfectly with the narrative of the show. Ghostpoet and Fuck Buttons are among the artists who help exaggerate the underlying themes of loss and crime.
3. Cristobal Tapia De Vier. Although Tapia De Vier is a musician, he has composed music for three shows on Channel 4. Utopia, Humans and National Treasure have all been brought to life due to his soundtracks, with each show demonstrating a progression of Tapia De Vier’s work. Utopia (2013-2014) is a boldly colourful nightmare involving a comic book, with powerful techno tunes to enhance the powerful storyline. Humans (2015) explores the possibility of robots in the future, with a more calm approach with hints of aggression revealed in the soundtrack. National Treasure (2016) touches on the themes of fame and sexual abuse. National Treasure is topical and sensitive, and the music that goes with it is very eerie and sinister to create this underlying narrative.
4. This is England ’86. Although it’s a spinoff from the 2006 film, this series focusses on the mod revival music scene rather than the skinhead culture. There’s also a lot of new wave themes in the show too, and there’s a lot of The Smiths and Madness, to set the scene of the UK in the early 80’s.
5. Twin Peaks. Twin peaks is a dark drama that is a surreal exploration into the idea of a small- town community. The soundtrack creates this dreamy mood for the show, making viewers ponder upon the idea of a blurred line between fantasy and horror that the show is. Apparently it took Angelo Badalamenti, the show’s composer, 20 minutes to come up with the theme song, which in itself sums up Twin Peaks as a show – a floaty, 20 minute dream.
6. Deutschland ’83. Deutschland ’83 was one of the few successful foreign tv shows to appear in the UK. It’s a crime drama about a German spy trying to adapt to a new life in a different part of the country. But what the show is so well known for is its well put together soundtrack. When you think about Germany, you tend to think about insane dance music. When you think about the 80’s, you think about insane dance music also. So when both Germany and the 80’s are paired together, you think of a mega overwhelming dance fest. It has David Bowie, and New Order’s “Blue Monday” – released in 1983. So Deutschland ’83 is a well thought out, put together soundtrack composition.