It all goes back to 1984, when Miami Vice brought a revolutionary hipness and sophistication to television. The show brought — along with unrivaled technical prowess — an excellent use of pop music to set mood and create a sense of reality. The characters on the show listened to the same music as real people. Phil Collins, Eddy Grant, and Glenn Frey dotted the Miami scenery as memorably as Don Johnson’s linen suits sans socks. The music even spawned soundtrack albums for the series. Now it seems every show with any following has a record of pop songs attached to the series. From Moonlighting to Melrose Place to Ally McBeal , TV soundtracks are big business. It is, then, only fitting that one of the best shows ever on TV, The Sopranos , has its own soundtrack. The show, focusing on the family (both nuclear family and Mafia family) struggles of a New Jersey mob boss, has for two seasons used pop music to wonderful effect in creating a hyper-reality for the series. The show eschews incidental music for the kind of soundtrack we all have in our lives. The show and its soundtrack includes songs from Bob Dylan, R.L. Burnside, Frank Sinatra, Eurythmics, and Elvis Costello. Sound like anyone’s CD collection? The album — which of course features the opening theme song “Woke Up This Morning” by A3 — is not only a very nice collection of good songs, but accurately captures the aura of the show.
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