‘The Americans’ Music Supervisors Pick Their Ten Favorite Song Cues

Variety | 3/20/2018 | Shirley Halperin
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“The Americans” has earned much praise for its effective use of music to propel storylines. The show’s longtime music supervisors, P.J. Bloom, currently a senior VP at Warner Bros. Records, whose music supervision credits include “Glee” and “Jack Ryan,” and Amanda Krieg Thomas, who has worked on “9-1-1” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” pick 10 defining uses of song in the FX drama series.

At the earliest possible moment in the series, “The Americans” defined its ambitious approach to music with this sequence. During the first episode’s teaser, eerily familiar percussive underscore begins as we meet Elizabeth and Phillip for the first time, both undercover and on a mission. A chase ensues as the underscore seamlessly evolves into Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” before you ever realize the music has changed. This sequence runs a healthy nine minutes long; foreshadowing what will become six seasons of incredibly compelling television with a unique approach to song and score.

Song - Action - Bloody - Shootout - Police

We wanted a song that played opposite the onscreen action: a bloody shootout between the police and Gregory Thomas, a civil rights activist Elizabeth recruited to work for the KGB. The sequence was incredibly tense and violent so we went for a beautiful love ballad in order to evoke a very atypical emotional response to the visual. At that time, it was one of the more talked-about soundtrack moments in the series and a narrative technique that was still fairly fresh in scripted television.

“It Must Be Done” Pete Townshend & Nathan Barr (Ep. 210)

Point - Americans - Series - Soundtrack - Idea

At this point, “The Americans” was truly catching on as a series and its soundtrack was also resonating. So we thought it’d be a great idea to create a music “event” for our fans. The original plan was to find a guest composer to write an episode with Nathan Barr. Incredibly, we...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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