Ok, normally we don't follow TV soundtracks. If we did, it would have to be another blog in its entirety to remain faithful to all the material out there (we smell a Playlist franchise, anyone wanna contribute?), but we'll make an exception for David Simon's "The Wire," a cinematic HBO novella that's been some of the greatest shows on television for the last five years.
Sadly bowing out on top (only sad for us viewers), HBO and Nonesuch are putting out a collection of the featured music on "The Wire" over the last half decade. Titled The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter - Five Years of Music from the Wire, the soundtrack disc is due January 8, 2008 on Nonesuch and features tracks by Tom Waits, Paul Weller, Michael Franti and Solomon Burke.
Several version of Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" (from Frank's Wild Years) served as the show's opening theme over the years and all of them - by The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Neville Brothers, and DoMaJe, a group of Baltimore teenagers and Waits' original in the 2nd season - are represented on the disc (preview DoMaJe's take on the song, click here).
The disc also features "Oh My God” by Michael Franti, “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” by Paul Weller, “The Body of an American” by The Pogues, “I Feel Alright” by Steve Earle (who also has an acting role on the series), Solomon Burke’s “Fast Train,” and the show’s closing theme, “The Fall,” composed by The Wire music supervisor Blake Leyh.
Nonesuch will actually release two CDs— the aforementioned music from throughout the series, and the other with music exclusively from the show's hometown of Baltimore including independent tracks from the Baltimore hip-hop scene that have never appeared on a major label release, including Rod Lee’s “Dance My Pain Away,” Tyree Colion’s “Projects,” Diablo’s “Jail Flick,” Mullyman’s “The Life, the Hood, the Streetz,” and “What You Know About Baltimore?” by Ogun featuring Phathead.
Memorable dialogue from the series' five years will also be included on the disc (hopefully not over the music; soundtrack CD supervisors take note, this is godawful) The CD booklet will feature essays by David Simon, series writer George Pelecanos and estimable hip-hop journo Jeff Chang.
The fourth season will finally be available on December 4, 2007 (thank god, not a moment too soon) — a month before final fifth season premieres on HBO (Mark your calendars: Sunday, January 6th). No tracklist for the CD yet, but it should be out shortly. Heads take note: "The Wire" Season 5 teaser clips are now on YouTube. All of them are collected over at Big Reel. Here's a sampling below.
If you haven't started the crack addiction that is watching "The Wire" (which includes holing up for days, not bathing, turning your cell off and remaining unreachable from all friends until season is over), we suggest you stop being a ninny and hop the fuck to it already (oh yeah, someone please hook us up with Season 4, stat!).
“Play or Get Played” by Omar Little
“Let McNulty Be McNulty” by James McNulty