American Horror Story splattered, sliced and sassed its way back on to our screens this month with its fourth installment ‘Freakshow’. The premiere of which broke FX’s records for being the most watched telecast in the network's history.
If you haven’t seen FX’s masterpiece anthology series yet, stop what you are doing, get Netflix, get the DVD, torrent it, I don’t care. Just watch it! You don’t know what you’re missing out on.
If you have been fortunate enough to see it, you’ve more than likely done the following things; applauded Jessica Lange’s hardcore shade throwing skills, made WTF your most spoken phrase of the day, and sat by the TV pushing your phone against the speaker shazamming away, desperately trying to identify the soundtrack to a witch chainsawing a zombie in half.
There are many components in AHS that come together to make it the treasure it is, from the beautiful cinematography to the award-winning performances. The music however is so relentlessly on point and appropriate, that it’s impossible to deny its contribution to the show's noteworthy success.
It’s hard to believe that in a post-Glee world, a show under the guidance of Ryan Murphy would contain the audio prowess of American Horror Story. And the quality of the soundtrack is made all the more impressive by the fact it completely reinvents itself each season. In fact, the only piece that has stayed consistent throughout is that of the music used in the title credits, and even the title sequence has also now been revamped to fit the carnival theme of the fourth series.
AHS combines an original score and throwback pieces of music from older movies that tingle the spine with nostalgia of seasoned horror veterans, with contemporary pop music; both originals and covers created specifically for the show. James Levine’s original score alone is a triumph, lighting up the show for the past four seasons.
Notable moments include the theme used for Frances Conroy’s character in season two; a haunting twinkly piano lament that accompanies of the Angel of Death, which manages to be both terrifying and painfully sad, and the music in the title credits, which achieves eerie simplicity and jarring shocks simultaneously. Even the promotional material is full of musical delights. Artist Lauren O’Connell’s cover of ‘The House of The Rising Sun’ arranged for season 3’s teasers and trailers, cements itself as being one of my favorite covers of all time.
Ryan Murphy’s love of a good old show tune has been apparent throughout but having more obviously reemerged from the rancid bowels of Glee in the latest season. From season 2 two onwards, we’ve seen Jessica Lange belt out covers of Shirley Ellis’s ‘The Name Game’, David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’ and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Gods and Monsters’, with hints online that we’re to expect some Nirvana pretty soon. Usually a musical number within a TV drama is enough to have me throwing up onto the screen and gouging out my eardrums with the remote, In AHS however, it’s done so appropriately and rarely that is not only forgiven, but actually thoroughly enjoyed.
If you’re looking to expand on your Halloween playlist, or just need some new music, check out my list of my top 10 favorite tracks from the show so far.
- Calla - Custom Car Crash
- Carina Round - Do You
- Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon
- Iron Butterfly - In-Gadda-Da-Vida (Single Version)
- Stevie Nick – Edge of Seventeen
- Special Death – Mirah
- Baby You Ain’t Look Right – Powersolo
- Life On Mars – Jessica Lange (David Bowie cover)
- It Was Always You, Helen – Phillip Glass
- House Of The Rising Sun – Lauren O’Connell