Obligatory Post About The Wire

Colour is predominantly a music blog but I had to mention the imminent release of the final season of The Wire, which is released on DVD on Monday. Like almost everyone (or so it seems) who puts their words into the ether, we’re total geeks for The Wire. Thanks to a friend I got into the series early on, (before The Guardian started mentioning it at every opportunity) so the anticipation for each new season has been a constant with me for a while now. I’ll no doubt be an emotional wreck when its all been said and done. If it all goes a bit quiet on here next week, you’ll know why.

I’m not going to bang on about how it perfectly captures the way an individual’s actions and outlook are dictated by the institutions that dominate their lives – be they police, dealers or politicians, or the way it masterfully dramatises the endless cycle of negativity and failure that has corroded everyday life in in inner-city Baltimore. Enough column inches have been dedicated to explaining every little detail that makes it the best television show ever. 

Let’s get this back to music, albeit in a slightly contrived way. Each season of The Wire features a different artist covering the classic Tom Waits song ‘Down in the Hole’ in the credits (Season 2 has the original). For the final ten episodes the duty falls to Steve Earle, who has a small role in the series as Walon, an ex-junkie who works as a drug councillor. We’ve been getting lots of hits from the search ‘Tom Waits’ lately – probably a glitch in the system but just in case we are the new go-to place for information on one of music’s greatest eccentrics, here is Earle’s rollicking take on the song. 

Stream: Steve Earle – Way Down in the Hole (at Hype Machine)

Video: The Wire Season 5 Opening Credits

Video: Charlie Brooker on The Wire (From Screen Burn)


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2 Responses to Obligatory Post About The Wire

  1. danhartland says:

    I got into The Wire late, and have only just got to season three, but, lummee, isn’t it brilliant? For one thing, no one on the show would actually say ‘lummee’. What is terrifying about the show is its sheer bloody-minded consistency: though each season has its in-built faults (the false tension of the first season’s constant threats to the investigation, or the second season’s slightly contrived reunion), these are simply part of its fabric, rather than anything actually worthy of serious criticism. Everything else feels not just spot-on in content but perfectly fitted in context.

    For what it’s worth, Earle’s version of Down In The Hole is available on his album from last year, Washington Square Serenade.

  2. Andy says:

    ah! Fellow Wire fans! 😉

    I too am only at Season 3, but the sight of this post is almost making me open a new tab right now to order the two remaining seasons. Wonderful show. I love how it refuses to dumb down in any respect. It forces you to pay attention and credits you with some intelligence, rather than signposting every little plot point and character trait.

    For what it’s worth, the Tom Waits original has been my fav version of the ‘theme’ song 😉

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