All who have watched “House of Lies” know his name by the end of the night. The show’s very first episode aired Jan. 8, 2012 and ended with Gary Clark Jr.’s seductive “Bright Lights,” tying together Marty Kaan, the manipulative and immoral character Don Cheadle illustrates. Capitol Records released a soundtrack on March 5 which includes hand-picked songs from seasons 1-3. The Showtime series is based on the book “House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time,” written by Martin Kihn.
Personally, I have been a fan of Gary Clark Jr. Even for those of us who have never seen an episode of the show can naturally predict how it goes, simply by the reputation “Bright Lights” has obtained and the undertones that come with it. Lyrically and musically, it is obvious what scene this song could be in. Basecamp’s effortless creation “Smoke Filled Lungs” and Thomas Dybdahl’s “This Love is Here To Stay” not only speak to the native viewer of the show, but also speak volume to those in relationships and struggling through various aspects of life, which is a majority of why we all listen to music – emotional release. “Heartbreak” by The James Hunter Six gives us that freedom to release negative tension like situations in the show.
Turning over to a happier leaf, “Midnight Sun” by Isaac Delusion and reminds me of laying in cool grass on the warm summer night listening to The Postal Service’s performance last year at Coachella – light and full of love. Musicians from all over the world have a way of creating something out of the norm. “Illusions of Time” by Kiko King and creativemaze have that funky beat and somewhat eerie lyric duet that makes me interested in more of their music. Not a track I would normally choose to listen to, but I am glad to have been introduced. Then there’s Michael Kiwanuka with his soulful voice cutting straight from the soul. “It Always Comes Back Around” has that blues vibe that I have rarely heard from any other British musician. In addition to his song on the soundtrack, the entire album is incredible.
As Rolling Stone stated, “Michael Kiwanuka’s “You’ve Got Nothing Left to Lose” is a study in contrasts.” Can we talk about N*Grandjean? Both risqué and sensual, “Shift to Reverse” also has that groovy vibe. I want to Salsa dance all night with an Italian stranger under the Tuscan moon, on a marble bridge, with a glass of wine in hand. I easily picture the relationship between Marty Kaan and Jeannie Van Der Hooven.
Knowing how music sets the tone for anything being watched, whether it be a music video or live performance, the vibe, instruments, and lyrics are all crucial elements to be accounted for when it comes to selecting music for a hit television series. By putting together what we hear with what we see, our perspective changes, sending different emotions through our mind and body. When this happens as deeply as it has with many viewers of House of Lies, a successful show is created, new music is found, and the audience is left wanting more.
As a non-viewer of the show, the soundtrack has given me a reason to watch. Music speaks volume to me and these songs have given me no choice other than to watch the show from the beginning.
|Gary Clark Jr. “Bright Lights”
|Isaac Delusion “Midnight Sun”
|Kim Cesarion “Brains Out”
Thomas Dybdahl “This Love Is Here To Stay”
|Aloe Blacc “Take Me Back”
|Fat Freddy’s Drop “Clean the House”
|Basecamp “Smoke Filled Lungs”
|The James Hunter Six “Heartbreak”
|Count Basie “Bellie Roll”
|Kiko King & creativemaze “Illusions of Time”
|N*Grandjean “Shift To Reverse”
|Michael Kiwanuka “It Always Comes Back Around”