Join 3,442 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


ID some This American Life songs?
October 15, 2006 3:19 PM   Subscribe

This American Life has at least a dozen instrumentals that they use over and over as background music. The Happy Flute Song, the Things Are Kind of Tense Song, and so on. I've really grown to like many of them, but I cannot identify any of them. Can TAL fans identify any of the standard music beds?
posted by waldo to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
They often use tracks off the Amélie soundtrack by Yann Tiersen. I took a quick scan through the album, and I can recall uses of tracks: 1, 2, 4, 7, 17, 18, 19(?). The music kind of blends together so I might be wrong about the specific tracks, but the album definitely gets used quite a bit.
posted by heresiarch at 3:26 PM on October 15, 2006


Amelie is very common; also The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore soundtracks.
posted by gramcracker at 3:46 PM on October 15, 2006


This page lists the songs they use most often (with clips for identification purposes).

The one I recognize most is from the score to Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:49 PM on October 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also, from their current FAQ:
...some of the music on the show comes from movie soundtracks: Donnie Darko, Amelie, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Virgin Suicides, and others. We also use a lot of Calexico and Bexar Bexar, all of which you can find online.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:51 PM on October 15, 2006


From their website's FAQ: "...some of the music on the show comes from movie soundtracks: Donnie Darko, Amelie, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Virgin Suicides, and others. We also use a lot of Calexico and Bexar Bexar, all of which you can find online."

Also, if you got to their website and search for the phrase "music heard on the show," you will be directed to a page that has a long list of pieces they use during the show. (Sorry, I can't get a direct link).

Finally, if you look through their archives, it lists many of the songs that play in between stories.
posted by googly at 3:51 PM on October 15, 2006


I noticed "The Beast" from the Mulholland Drive soundtrack.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2006


They use "Canary" from Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville all of the time.
posted by onepapertiger at 4:25 PM on October 15, 2006


They use Yo La Tengo's older albums all the time.
posted by np312 at 4:28 PM on October 15, 2006


I've heard stuff from Orbitones, Spoon Harps & Bellowphones and also this combustible edison album.

I always wonder who the lucky person is that has this job - they must have the most diverse collection of music available to them.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:31 PM on October 15, 2006


They use a lot of Miles Davis, specifically the fabulous album "Kind of Blue". There are a couple of acts where the opening story has the Paul Chambers bass line at the beginning of "So What", and then as something exciting happens, Miles comes in on his solo. They do the same thing in Pleasantville, IIRC.

Hopefully this makes sense to at least one person.
posted by rossination at 4:33 PM on October 15, 2006


I hear "Nights Interlude" by Nightmares On Wax all the time
posted by dong_resin at 5:03 PM on October 15, 2006


Wow, I'd never found the Music Heard on the Show page though, admittedly, it's probably been a year (!) since I scoured their site for it. Thanks for that, and particular thanks to those IDing songs that are a) not listed there or b) played really, really often, since those are the ones that I'm really looking for.
posted by waldo at 5:31 PM on October 15, 2006


I hear DJ Shadow's Midnight In A Perfect World used with some frequency, although as I remember it sounds like they have some sort of extended version that drags out the beginning part before the drums kick in.
posted by chimmyc at 6:18 PM on October 15, 2006


They often play the opening bassline from Mogwai's "Xmas Steps" during the sadder "what it all means" moments.
posted by viewofdelft at 6:39 PM on October 15, 2006


An old friend of mine who goes by the monicker Bexar Bexar does a fair bit of the instrumental on TAL. You can check out his music at Western Vinyl.
posted by kaseijin at 7:33 PM on October 15, 2006


I have noticed the score to "I Heart Huckabees" by Jon Brion being used very often.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:08 PM on October 15, 2006


I know they've played quite a bit of post-rock instrumental stuff like Dianogah and possibly Tristeza and the like. Maybe some Tarentel or Do Make Say Think, also, at times....
posted by rsanheim at 8:37 PM on October 15, 2006


Just looking for this very thing the other day. Here is the link from the TAL site that googly referred to - it is a pretty good list, together with samples, so you know what the plinkedy plink music is called...
posted by clarkie666 at 11:27 PM on October 15, 2006


In the first few seasons they used a lot of Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
posted by judith at 1:04 AM on October 16, 2006


Groove Holmes by the Beastie Boys.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:32 AM on October 16, 2006


There was a "whistle-y" song from Airling & Cameron they played a bunch.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:04 AM on October 16, 2006


I hear the intro to "Catalog and Classify" (embedded WM audio) from Mark Robinson's Tiger Banana a lot.
posted by joshuaconner at 4:07 PM on October 16, 2006


Clem Snide's Evil vs. Good and Brian Eno's ambient stuff in Music for Airports has stuck out in my mind. Beautiful, indeed.

Peace,
posted by gbinal at 10:13 PM on October 20, 2006


« Older Looking for a very nice restar...   |  Where can I find old DirectX S... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.