The Bridge – Until I’m One With You

Last night was the season two premiere of FX’s The Bridge. And the show came flying out of the gate, introducing a cacophony of story lines. Which I am sensing is becoming a pattern with FX shows. Kurt Sutter did it last year in the premiere of his Sons of Anarchy and Sutter was able to tie everything together by the end of the season.

I’m fairly certain show runner Elwood Reid will be able to do the same here. It will be hard, but from what I saw last night, its gonna be a helluva ride.

While the storyline will certainly change and evolve over the coming weeks, the cast remains the same…as does the haunting intro by Ryan Bingham. You might recall Ryan Bingham as the guy who seemingly came out of nowhere with the award winnng song “The Weary Kind” from the 2009 movie Crazy Heart.

“Until I’m One With You” is still as haunting and beguiling as it was last year when I first heard it. And it still serves as the perfect theme song to a, just shy of, perfect television show. If you are looking for a punchy intro, a’la Mike Post, for a punchy crime drama, this isn’t the show. But that song…

“Until I’m One With You” completely ignores any sort of traditional song structure or pedantic rhyming scheme. It’s lonely and haunting guitar accompanying Bingham’s raspy voice and plaintive lyrics makes for one of the most affecting songs in recent memory. It’s the beautiful simplicity of the vocals and the lyrics that seemingly wants to tell us what love should be but it’s the tone of the song and a closer listen to the lyrics that reminds us of the complexity that love always is.

As a stand alone song, it’s jaw dropping in its condensed intricacy. As a television show theme song? Unprecedented…almost.

Not since the Jonathan Wolff jazz riffs for Seinfeld has a song worked so well in tandem with a shows theme. Wolff’s bass bits helped frame the tonality of comically punchy Seinfeld while Bingham’s song frames the tragedy and drama of The Bridge.

Both songs worm their way into your head so that you are enraptured from the first note and the first frame and they both converge beautifully so that sound and image become inescapable.

Ryan Bingham seems to be channeling the lyrical prowess of Greg Brown and the restraint of guitarist Bo Ramsy. Which are both really good things.

What is “Until I’m One With You” about ? I dunno. It reveals very little lyrically and you are left to interpret what you can from the songs pacing, Bingham’s singing and a closer reading of the lyrics. My gut tells me it’s not about unrequited love or a break up, as I initially thought. I think it’s about something much more tragic.

I want to believe that the show is smart enough that the song will fit snugly with the arc of this first series. But I will have to wait and see. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a helluva song.

You’re never going to see anyone twerking to Ryan Bingham’s “Until I’m One With You” because, well, it’s not that type of song. It’s never going to be a hit and it will probably never receive an award. The recording industry doesn’t typically give awards to this type of stuff.

Last year The Bridge deservedly won a Peabody Award for excellence, but Ryan Bingham did not. Which is a shame because this is the type of song that Peabody’s, or even MacArthur Genius Grants, should be given.

Yea, it’s that good.

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