Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Music With Meaning

This is going to sound incredibly geeky to (some of) you at first.

Those of us who have been watching Battlestar Galactica just got treated to the last episode of the season (season four starts in ten months). If you've been following the show and haven't yet seen the episode, this is your only Spoiler Warning.

Four of the characters hear this song throughout, a sitar-and-tabla tune that none of them knows and that hardly anyone else can hear. For most of the episode each one thinks he or she is the only one who hears it. Because the music was unfamiliar to me, I didn't figure it out until one of them says, "There's too much confusion," and then I immediately knew it was a song we all know: "All Along The Watchtower." Using this funky arrangement, written and played by the brother of the series' music composer, hides the music from us who would have recognized it instantaneously. Not to mention that really the actual tune is kind of minimal in the first place so it doesn't really "hum."

Given what's going on in the plot, the words make sense if you look at the lyrics last verse to first, which Dylan indicated was the "chronology" of the song. But what I've been thinking is, "This song is forty years old. Nobody wrote any songs of warning more recently than that?" Then I thought maybe it's a Boomer thing, and the producer chose a song from his youth. However, Ron Moore is only four years older than I, which technically makes him a Boomer but also means that he was listening to the same music everybody was listening to (or hearing) in the 1980s and 1990s.

It happens that I'm not very educated on the music that was on the radio at that time because I personally was mostly listening to '60s and '70s rock and folk music then, so this question isn't rhetorical. I keep seeing stories about the impact and influence the Boomers have had and are having on our popular culture (not to mention everything else) and I can't help but think that this is yet another example. For that reason itself, I wish that they had chosen an original composition.

1 comment:

pj said...

I couldn't read this one because I haven't seen the last season at all yet... have to wait for DVDs (pout).

It's a shame, because I just finished 'Rome' and I feel all empty inside.