TV Draft Round 4 – Pick 1 – Mike Selects – Breaking Bad

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 7 rounds will be posted here. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Mike from https://musiccitymike.net

Breaking Bad

Like many other TV bingers these days, there are few, if any, series that I watch in real time. After all, who has the patience to wait a week (or at a season’s end, over the summer) for the next episode to see what happens next in a suspenseful show. However, I did make an exception for the wild escapades of high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine maker Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad.

Why? Well, the plot was just so unique and more so, its production, especially in terms of camera work, was nothing short of spectacular. The ways that producer Vince Gilligan found to use the camera were ground-breaking. Come on, who would have ever thought of filming from the inside of a refrigerator!

Before I get to the tragic tale of Mr. White, there’s also the music. I don’t think I have ever been so taken by the impact of soundtrack songs like I was in Breaking Bad.  There are two magic moments that come to mind. I still get chills running down my spine when I think of how Tommy James & the Shondells’ “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” were used to such stunning effects. For the unfamiliar, it may help to know that Mr. White’s “product” had a unique-to-meth blue color. And the Badfinger song’s opening line of “Guess I got what I deserve” show appropriately set the show’s final scene. (Kudos also to local Nashville band The Silver Seas for getting their fab song “Catch Yer Own Train” into Season One.)

As with my fave series, The Sopranos, here we go again with White and his former student and now partner-in-crime, Jessie Pinkman, falling into the unavoidable anti-hero role. However, seeing all this suspense and drama from a first-person perspective was the only way to go for Breaking Bad. And how could you not resist rooting for a guy who simply was trying to get some extra money together for his family before he died of cancer.

What really makes the show so habit forming is how what starts out as such a simple innocent way to make a few bucks steamrolls into a monster enterprise attracting a cadre of despicable characters. This includes the metamorphosis of meek Walter into the evil Heisenberg. Even his demure wife gets into the act to help when the couple finds itself with an accumulation of cash larger than most banks. While the show is full of violence galore, it’s these same things that also gives the show more laughs than you’d ever expect in a crime drama. For me, the funniest moment was when screwball meth-head Badger explains how the pizza place they just ordered from passes on the savings by not cutting its slices.

But, Breaking Bad also uses the often employed, but head-scratching literary device of coincidence.  What are the odds that a guy who takes up making meth in Albuquerque, New Mexico would also have a brother-in-law who is the local head of the DEA who heads the task force hunting down the guy behind the new blue meth showing up on the streets! I’ll save the spoilers as to how these two end up.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, as Walter and Jesse respectively, both put in career-defining roles. And the supporting cast was just as spectacular, including Bob Odinkirk as sleazy lawyer, Saul Goodman, who would wind up with his own spin-off show, Better Call Saul, which is just about to start airing its final season.

I hope that all fans of the show did get to see the enjoyable El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, a Netflix sequel to the show that continues the story of Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman character. And as for the prequal of Better Call Saul, we fans look forward to hopefully seeing White and Pinkman appear on the show as its timeline moves forward and the show runs its course. And on a possible sad note, maybe we will find out why Saul’s lady friend, Kim Wexler, never made it to the Breaking Bad days.

In concluding, let me just say that this show is just so darn good that it is no surprise that in 2013 it entered the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed TV show of all-time. That’s no surprise since how many shows have ever achieved the success of having each episode followed by a live recap and analysis show every week!

Badfinger – Baby Blue

This is my ninth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. Badfinger’s Baby Blue.

The holy trinity of power pop for me are…Badfinger, Big Star, and The Raspberries…those were the 70s  pioneers. Badfinger was the most successful out of the three…hit wise anyway. You can hear later bands like Cheap Trick, The Posies, Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet,  and even KISS get something from each three.

My love for this song is so over the top. Baby Blue, to these ears, is the perfect power pop song. It has the right combination of the hard British crunch and pop with an irresistible guitar riff. Lets talk about that guitar riff. I know there are other good rock riffs but the perfection in this one is sensational. He plays a variant of it through the song always changing plus a walk down or two. Nothing is purely defined and that is just pure brilliance. The solo is simple but fits perfectly. No nuance in this song is wasted…it was in there for the good of the song…not meant to be flashy.

It’s a hook here, a hook there, and a hook everywhere…and…I’ve been hooked since I first heard it. Everything blends. Even the ending is perfect. On top of that it was produced by a power pop guy Todd Rundgren.

You can hear a young Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick listening and learning from this.

I had gone through Han’s entire album draft without mentioning my name sake…Badfinger…I’m here to rectify that now. I learned about Badfinger as a wee young kid who thought “Come and Get It” was a long lost Beatle song. I found out more about them and bought the album Straight Up. I liked many of their album cuts more than their hits.

As they went along they started to move away from the power pop genre because of the too close Beatle connection. During live performances they sorta became a jam band. Later on they made some excellent albums that no one heard because of a manager who would make Allen Klein (Satan, snake, etc) look good. Arguably the most tragic story in rock and roll…but that is for another day. We are looking now at Badfinger in 1972 before the rug got pulled out from underneath them.

A year ago or so I posted a ranking of my favorite power pop songs. This one was at the top of my list before I wrote it, during the process of writing it, and is still at the top. The others have changed places depending on my mood but not this one.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The “Dixie” in the song was Pete Ham’s ex-girlfriend, Dixie Armstrong whom he’d met during the band’s US tour of 1971. Dixie was from Wichita Kansas (thanks run-sew-read).

The song was revitalized again in the great show Breaking Bad. I’m happy that Breaking Bad showcased this song so that another generation knows the song and hopefully that will lead more people to learn about Badfinger. After the show’s finale with this song…the song entered the charts again.

*** Here is the clip from Breaking Bad…but warning…it has a major spoiler for those who haven’t watched it.

Or you can watch them below that with an awkwardly cool Kenny Rogers introducing them. The music is not live but the vocals are…they are playing to a backing track…but listen to those live voices….although they are mic’d up so they are probably playing low along with the backing track.

Baby Blue

Guess I got what I deserved
Kept you waiting there too long, my love
All that time without a word
Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget or I’d regret
The special love I had for you, my baby blue

All the days became so long
Did you really think, I’d do you wrong?
Dixie, when I let you go
Thought you’d realize that I would know
I would show the special love I have for you, my baby blue

What can I do, what can I say
Except I want you by my side
How can I show you, show me the way
Don’t you know the times I’ve tried?

guitar solo

Guess that’s all I have to say
Except the feeling just grows stronger every day
Just one thing before I go
Take good care, baby, let me know, let it grow
The special love you have for me, my Dixie, dear.