Two of the (numerous) jobs I have involve finding and clearing music for indie filmmakers, and pitching music to music supervisors and ad agencies, and I think I have a fairly good “ear” when it comes to figuring out what kind of song or style of music might work for what kind of project.
So I’m going to start reviewing tracks off new albums (a what?) from artists I have not heard before and talk about what I might pitch them for.
This time around I’ve chosen the artist Porches and their brand new album Pool.
Track 1: Underwater – Nice rhythm track and interesting vocals/lyrics, but could do without the ‘80’s keyboard sound on the counter-melody line, which I found distracting.
TV – It definitely does not feel age-specific to me, so I could see this on anything from a CW show to Better Call Saul. Definitely scripted, though. No reality TV (no big loss – most of them don’t pay, anyway!)
Film – Any un-romantic comedy or domestic drama.
Commercials – It might be a little too “out there” for any mainstream brand on TV, but could work on a longer web ad for BMW or Lexus, or for liquor. Could also work for advertising a fantasy/sci-fi -themed video games like Dying Light or Halo 5, or even a classic shoot-em-up like Call Of Duty, if they wanted to play against type.
Video Games – Definitely sci-fi/fantasy, like the ones above. Not really right for a shoot-em-up like CoD, though.
Track 2: Braid – More retro vibe. I think I’m getting where they’re coming from, now. Damn you, Robert Smith, for spawning so many musical children!
TV – Definitely cable, like Girls, House of Lies, possibly Suits. Rhythmic enough for possibly one of the dance reality shows like SYTYCD (which doesn’t pay too bad, either)
Film – Could work for any drama, or even a documentary on social issues or tech
Commercials – Telecommunications and fashion. Cars and travel, maybe
Video Games – Racing games like Forza Motorsport or possibly Need For Speed
Track 3: Be Apart – Sounds pretty basic at the start, but then drops into a nice, slippery time signature in the chorus, which also features a nifty lyric twist, great rhythm track and chords. Sounds like they got into an old set of Cubase sounds, though.
TV – Arrow or The Vampire Diaries, pretty much any super-hero/natural show. Scripted, only
Film – Good end credit or montage song for a younger-skewing drama
Commercials – Liquor, cars, tech – definitely an iPhone ad (“be a part of it all”) or some other kind of communications company
Video Games – Any games played by teams (Call Of Duty, Battlefield)
Track 4: Mood – This guy definitely got into his oldest sister’s CD collection. If he was still alive, John Hughes would be writing Pretty In Pink 2 based on this song alone. Shamelessly ‘80’s.
TV: Any show – scripted or reality – about relationships, the sappier the better (Bachelorette, The Carrie Diaries, Gray’s Anatomy). Also anything on The Hallmark Channel or Lifetime
Film – Whatever the next piece of dreck coming out based on a Nicholas Sparks novel
Commercials – E-Harmony or any other dating site, Victoria’s Secret, perfume/makeup
Video Games – Pass
Track 5: Hour – Odd one, but I like it. Verses go up, but the (instrumental) chorus down. Two songs for the price of one!
TV – Could work on a crime show like Criminal Minds or even Sherlock. Basic cable shows, too, like Fargo
Film – Similar vibe as TV. Any crime drama or film involving an investigation/detective work. Seems very “thinky” to me
Commercials – Verses could work for pharmaceuticals, believe it or not, maybe sleep aids because of the lyric. Chorus definitely works for cars – something in the Cadillac vibe – and possibly fashion
Video Games – Fantasy games
Track 6: Even The Shadow – Ah, the ballad. Usually shows up around this time.
TV – Crime or legal shows. Also feels pretty “thinky.” A lab scene on NCIS, or a “looking for clues” montage on Criminal Minds
Film – Could work on a psychological thriller or crime drama. Sci-fi as well, in the Prometheus vein, though. No Independence Day here. Too smart
Commercials – Victoria’s Secret and other fashion brands, makeup
Video Games – Maybe in a scripted interstitial on a shoot’em-up or fantasy game. Doesn’t really work during action, IMO
Track 7: Pool – Title track. Super weird. Think it’s going to start out one way, then goes somewhere else completely when the vocals come in, then again after the second chorus, and then again at the end (really like the “out” at the end).
TV – Again, seems to work for a crime or legal show, particularly basic pay cable (Better Call Saul, True Detective). Something like The Leftovers, too
Film – So many different layers, could work for almost anything, but definitely dramas (relationship or crime). The ending could totally fit in an animated film, too
Commercials – Again, lots of directions, but I’m thinking airlines for some reason (something about the “beauty of flying” like Delta used to do with Rhapsody In Blue)
Video Games – Sports (particularly the ending), fantasy
Track 8: Glow – Fairly standard mid-tempo ballad – especially for this crowd. Definitely a break-up song.
TV – Relationship shows, reality and scripted. Very Girls. Could work on a Lifetime show, or even on Oxygen (Rock of Love coming back anytime soon?)
Film – Also relationships, but feels more Judd Apatow than Nicholas Sparks. If Amy Schumer makes Trainwreck 2, it’s in there somewhere.
Commercials – Maybe cel phones where they try and get you to dump your current carrier for them, or DirecTV or Fios VS cable.
Video Games – Eh.
Track 9: Car – Well, it’s about cars. Nice, straightforward rhythm track. An easier placement than most of the rest of the album.
TV – Works for most anything, but more “network TV” than anything else on the album so far. Scripted, only, too smart for reality
Film – Same here, but not too commercial, as opposed to TV. Seems better suited for an indie drama or even possibly a light comedy
Commercial – As dumb as it sounds, cars
Video Games – Racing games, and fantasy games
Track 10: Shaver – Weird, weird, weird verse, then a pretty dull chorus. Nice touch with the Mike Rutherford guitar picking. Live room sax solo/background is an “interesting” touch.
TV – Definitely parts of it could work on relationship shows, but, again, cable TV, not network.
Film – Thrillers for the verse and instrumental parts, domestic dramas and possibly indie light comedies for the chorus
Commercials – The 2nd verse definitely works for Victoria’s Secret, Steve Rutherford part on a loop and/or chorus would work for any kind of ad with a touch of snark (Old Spice, for example)
Video Games – Scripted parts of any fantasy game. Too weird for game segments
Track 11: Shape – Play that synth, boy! OK, new weirdest one on the album.
TV – Crime or legal dramas. Very cable, though. Too weird for network. Possibly more mature relationship shows – The Affair, for example.
Film – Thrillers, crime dramas – any drama, really. Possibly some sci-fi once the weird middle part comes in. Tech, too – Jobs, The Social Network, etc.
Commercials – Eh
Video Games – Any fantasy game, scripted parts of shoot ‘em ups
Track 12: Security – End track. Sounds a bit like a rehash of an earlier track. Vocaliser – bleah. Sounds like he’s trying to find his inner R&B star. Nice pickup when the “band” comes in.
TV – Crime and legal. And definitely Homeland. Could work on cable or network
Film – Anything relating to spies, crime and legal. War, too
Commercials – Dumb as it sounds, home security. And definitely car commercials that focus on safety
Video Games – Any shoot ‘em up or fantasy game. Maybe defensive play replays or “highlight reels” on NFL or NHL (slo-mo type thing)
All in all, it’s an interesting collection of songs with plentyof instrumental sections, which are always good for placing in films, TV, etc. So, yes, it’s synchable!
Photos: Paley Fairman. Jessica Lehrman.