Like most people, my musical tastes were really cemented in my teens/early twenties. It’s been over a decade now, and I’ve kinda been worried that my music selection for the podcast has been dating me. NIN, Tool, all the second-wave screamo, and most recently Live and Garbage – it’s all from the mid-90s to early-00s. Even Catch That Goblin is from the mid-90s demo scene. This was on my mind when choosing the new HPMoR theme. Yes, the theme is changing, since the mischievous romp of Catch That Goblin is no longer thematically appropriate. I wanted a song that conveyed a sense of mourning, yet also a determination to continue and ultimately triumph.
I had one immediately, but it was from that same time period and I wanted something closer to the present day, so I discarded it. The first alternate option to present itself was Foxy Shazam’s “Oh Lord”, which is freakin’ awesome, and pretty new. It has the mournfulness and the soldiering-on despite loss in it, and a tone of overcoming adversity. But the lyrics do strongly suggest putting trust in a father/mentor and accepting that things will be alright, which is very counter to the MoR theme of Nihil Supernum. No good.
Second option was “Marchin On” by OneRepublic, which has that determination and triumph to it, and has the good fortune of having gained popularity at the same time the last Rowling Potter movie was released, so there are a bunch of fan videos on YouTube showing poignant moments from Potter movies over the music of Marchin On. As such it’s likely there’s already a lot of emotional connection between that song and HP for a lot of people. Unfortunately there isn’t very much on the mourning side of things, and double-unfortunately I never really connected with the song so it doesn’t hold any emotional weight for me. And this is my podcast, so dammit, I want something I find personally meaningful in the theme!
So I went back to my first pick, which I had initially discarded. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. It’s an awesome song with great vocals and lyrics, and music that starts with mourning and ends in exultation. And the song is literally about a boy who feels a responsibility to save the world mourning the death of a female friend but promising to carry on regardless, in memory of her. Is there any song more perfectly suited for the final act of HPMoR? Maybe – but this is the one I like best.
Every now and then I mention stories I like. This one struck my fancy – Ancient gods in modern settings, non-neurotypical protagonist, smart people thinking through the implications of things, and a love story. A Plant (Whose Name is Destroyed) (also available in audio!)