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: thankfully, Sutter was able to tie everything together by the end of the season.

I’m fairly certain showrunner Elwood Reid will be able to do the same here. It will be hard, but from what I saw last night, it’s 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 “Until I’m One With You” by Ryan Bingham. You might recall Ryan Bingham as the guy who seemingly came out of nowhere with the Academy Award winning 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 an almost perfect television show. If you are looking for a punchy intro, a’la Mike Post, and 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. The 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 longs 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 of what 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 overall theme. Wolff’s bass bits helped frame the tonality of the comically punchy Seinfeld while Bingham’s song frames the tragedy and drama of The Bridge.

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.

You’re never going to see anyone twerking to Ryan Bingham’s “Until I’m One With You” because, well, you just won’t. It’s never going to be a hit and it will probably never receive an award. The music 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. This is the type of song that transcends awards and is more worthy of a MacArthur Genius Grant.

Yea, it’s that good.

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