True Blood: In Death There Is A Heavy Peace
Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
Maybe it's the fact that Gothtopia grew up with no religion, or maybe it's that fact that Gothtopia has spent too many nights with Paul Fredric of Asmodeus X in a weird competition to see who can out-nihilist the other one. Either way, death has never really had any fear for us.
Welcome to Bon Temps, population... dropping.
Oh sure, dying sounds like it sucks the calcium deposits right off the Grim Reaper's pelvis. Cancer, car wreck, rhinoceros encounter, they all sound like way too much freakin' ouchie. Death itself, though? No, we're not really scared.
Gary Calamar, who is in charge of True Blood's music and thus also the paycheck we draw from talking about it (Hi, Gary!), knew he needed just the right vibe for the Season 4 finale of True Blood, and he knew that "And When I Die" was the song that he wanted to use.
But which version worked the best? The Laura Nyro version? After all, she wrote it. Peter, Paul & Mary, or perhaps the more famous cover by Blood, Sweat & Tears?
No, in the end Calamar got in touch with The Heavy to record a brand new version that would fully embody the half-trailer park, half Dark Shadows vibe that makes up True Blood.
"I immediately thought of The Heavy," said Calamar in an interview with KCRW. " I love The Heavy's blend of sweaty soul and crunchy rock and they had a spiritual feel as well. Their neo-soul anthem 'How You Like Me Now?' is an all time favorite of mine.
They were thrilled with the idea. Next I got on the phone with singer Kelvin Swaby to go over our needs for this recording and how it fit in the show."
The song, whoever is singing it, is a celebration of death and its benefits. That touches us rather deeply, because the one great truth you can learn in life is that we're all going to die, and if that is all someone has to threaten you with then they have no threat at all.
Ten years ago, we were supposed to be having an early practice with a few friends with whom we had hoped to form a band. Instead, we watched towers fall, planes crash, lives altered, and worlds themselves wounded. If we could go back in time and tell the world anything on that day, it would be this:
The men who did this are powerless over you. They say they will kill you if you do not cease being who you are. Laugh at such threats because they believe that they themselves will somehow escape death through their actions.
It is a graver loss to give up who you are. They can threaten us only with what we will reap in due time regardless. In death there is only peace, no matter the manner, and no matter the man.
Hopefully that little bit of soapboxing touched you, in which case we hope you thank Alan Ball and not us for it. He put, more or less, those words in the mouth of Eric's sire Godric last season, when they decided to bury Russell Edington in wet concrete instead of just staking him and call it a day. (By the way, almost the last shot of the show this season is the broken hole in the concrete where Edington used to be.)
Meanwhile, in other parts of Bon Temps, lots and lots of people have died. Jealousy, desperate attempts to save another, witch war, you know, it doesn't really matter. They may very well have wiped two main cast members of the payroll with this finale for a multitude of reasons, but in the end it comes back to those same words from Godric.