Track-by-Track: Friday Night Lights Soundtrack, Volume 2

7 May

By Nina Chantanapumma

Do you know what tonight is, y’all? It’s only the beginning of the fourth season of Friday Night Lights as aired on NBC(DirecTV viewers, keep your spoilers to yourself)! This television show captured the hearts of faithful critics and viewers that have championed to keep this show alive, overcoming obstacles such as the Writers Guild strike, terrible time slots and lousy ratings. I’ve already set my DVR to record their penultimate season, and I’ve had the pleasure of listening to their newest soundtrack which is available online now and in stores May 18th. Does it capture the stories of heart, hope, redemption and accidental murders of Dillon, Texas? Let’s find out as I’ve returned from the ashes for a new track-by-track review.

1. White Rabbits–“Percussion Gun” – Great song, terrible video. I love an album which bursts out of the gates from the get-go, and the percussive elements in “Percussion Gun” achieve just that. The energy from this six-piece band matches the feel of a Friday night game; however, the video barely matches the energy of a JV scrimmage. Actually, the video would have been fine had the editing not included extremely random shots of the upcoming season, which took away from the fine shooting of the band.

2. Heartless Bastards “Sway” – Not my favorite track, not my favorite band, but there is something strangely magnetic about Erika Wennerstrom’s vocals.

3. A. A. Bondy “Killed Myself When I Was Young” – I’m unfamiliar with A. A. Bondy’s work but if you love folk singer-songwriters, add this song to your library. It builds up. I promise.

4. Augustana “Fire” – Sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing between male and female vocals. I made this mistake when I thought some dude sang some new dance tune named “Believe” in 1998. It was months before I realized it was Cher. Anyway, this is one of the tunes I had to double-check to see who was singing. I mean, yes, another confession, I’ve belted Augustana’s “Boston” several times in my life but “Fire” is where I draw the line. Too weak, even for me.

5. Jakob Dylan “Something Good This Way Comes” – A simple track from the man forever known as the frontman of The Wallflowers, the son of Bob Dylan. Lukewarm.

6. Band of Skulls “I Know What I Am”Formerly featured in our “Track of the Day” series, Jaime had enjoyed this song aside from its “Hotel, Taco Bell” rhyme. I’ll have to agree and am glad they are on a soundtrack that better fits their style. *cough* New Moon *cough*

7. John Doe “The Meanest Man In The World” – Johnny Cash-ish, yes?

8. The Avett Brothers “If It’s the Beaches” – This song is a throwback to season two, when Landry headed to Tyra’s house before the game. The Avett Brothers have a knack for pulling on my heartstrings with their sweet, sappy lyrics, and this is no exception. Because, c’mon, y’all, Tyra has to end up with nerdy ol’ Landry!

9. AM – “What You Hide” – I have never heard of AM before, but he’s apparently had many of his songs featured in television shows. Wikipedia said so, y’all. Not gonna lie though, this song does absolutely nothing for me.

10. Sufjan Stevens “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – Even if you’re not church-attending folk, you have to appreciate this hymn. Simplicity, when done correctly, is much more beautiful than the most elaborate, complex work of art. Sufjan Stevens treats the timeless piece with respect, using minimalistic instrumentation. You know the fictional town of Dillion, Texas, is probably located in the Bible Belt, so you know this is fitting for the soundtrack.

11. Fink “This is the Thing” – Poor ol’ Matt Saracen with the aging grandmother. This song played in an episode in season three as he drove to his mother’s house, an admittance that he could no longer hold everything together on his own. Something about these lyrics seems perfect for the situation: And the things that keep us apart keep me alive and / The things that keep me alive keep me alone.

12. W. G. Snuffy Walden “Friday Night Lights Title” – There aren’t many television shows with great intro themes anymore. In fact, many popular shows have completely done away with intros, simply leading in with a quick flash of the title as if to say, “Duh, you know what show this is, let’s get on with it.” Not Friday Night Lights. They know this song is an integral part of the success of this show. I am not kidding you; every time I’ve fired up FNL from a DVD or my DVR, I sit through the theme song and get goosebumps. Not just because I’m seconds away from one of my most favorite shows, but because those forty-six seconds somehow summarize everything the show is. If you love this show, you understand why. I mean, take a look at the internet and the countless inquiries of who penned the song and where it’s available. So, to those that always thought it was another Explosions in the Sky gem, it’s not. It’s W. G. Snuffy Walden. Mystery solved.

Considering the track list from the last Friday Night Lights television soundtrack, Volume 2 delivers a lot more quality, cohesive tracks. Is this something I’d pop into my car stereo if I went on a trip across the West Texas plains? Yes but not without skipping a few songs here and there. I do know one thing: I’m stoked for the new season and look forward to hearing some of these songs accompany one of my favorite fictional towns and their high school football team.

One Response to “Track-by-Track: Friday Night Lights Soundtrack, Volume 2”

  1. Bob Andelman May 11, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    FNL fans might also enjoy this May 6, 2010 Mr. Media video interview with new “Lights” star Drew Waters, who plays Coach Wade Aiken on the show: http://www.mrmedia.com/2010/05/video-friday-night-lights-star-drew.html

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