(2013 - Ongoing)
By Helena ‘Raven’ Geo
“Instead of sending you a black hand, I could’ve killed you in the night without knowing why. But I want you to know why, and I wanna suggest to you that we fight this vendetta with honor”. And sort of like that, we are introduced to Luca Changretta, played by Oscar award winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist, 2003), mob leader of the Sicilian, New York based Mafia, who travels all the way to Birmingham to sort out personal business with the Peaky Blinders. And all hell breaks loose. And despite the fact that we want to go deep into the plot of the series, our aim is to cover it music-wise, so here we go with the 4th season soundtrack.
Even though the first three seasons of the show had a major part of their soundtrack covered mostly in season 1 by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and The White Stripes, in season 2 by PJ Harvey and Arctic Monkeys, and in season 3 by Radiohead and Leonard Cohen, the fourth season hosts an assortment of artists, as well as three different versions of the theme song Red Right Hand (originally by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), this time with the punk rock strings of American band Fidlar, a second adaptation by veteran rock artists Iggy Pop & Jarvis Cocker, who collaborated for this cover and brought their aggressive guitar sounds to the table giving the song another dimension, and a third melodic adaptation by Laura Marling. Three different adaptations, three different sounds.
Worthy of mention and listening, the song Adore, released in 2016, by Savages, an all-women English rock band, with French vocalist Jehnny Beth, Gemma Thompson on guitar, Ayse Hassan on bass, and Fay Milton on drums. The band is described as pop-noire and has received positive critic so far.
The alternative rock band Yak with Alas Salvation (released in 2016), with its shredding guitar sounds reminds of the 1969 Woodstock, and Stagger Lee, the 2011 remastered edition from the 1996 album Murder Ballads by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, still carries the original album’s rock blues sounds, and its lyrics are based on a traditional song about the African-American murderer of the same name, who became a figure of folklore after murdering Billy Lyons on Christmas 1895.
One more story is brought to us with The Mercy Seat, again by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (from their 1988 album Tender Prey), telling the tale of a man about to be executed in the electric chair. Its lyrics in background echo, with the same chorus throughout the song, in different text variations, basically ending each chorus with “I’m not afraid to die”. The same song was covered by Johnny Cash in his 2000 album American III: Solitary Man.
Hidden treasures emerge with the alternative/indie, with rock sounds, track Lost by tommyandmary, from their 2018 album Feelings, and the indie/rock Heart Of A Dog by The Kills, from their 2016 album Ash & Ice, as well as the soft rock The Longing by Irish artist Imelda May, leaving us in the end with psychedelic sounds, from her 2017 album Life Love Flesh Blood. Also, the rock track Devil Inside Me by the English punk rock band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, from their 2015 album Blossom.
The familiar sound of Mr Johnny Cash echoes with Further On Up The Road, from the 2006 album American V: A Hundred Highways, which is basically a cover of Bruce Springsteens’ song recorded in his 2002 album The Rising. It was also recorded by ‘The Boss’ on his live album Live In Dublin in 2007, by Bruce Springsteen With The Sessions Band.
For jazz lovers, a treat. The classic old-time jazzy Bye Bye Blackbird recorded by Gene Austin in 1926, an old-time song, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The song belongs to American composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon, and was recorded by various artists throughout the decades, among which, Dean Martin in 1950, Johnny Mathis in 1959, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1961, Joe Cocker in 1969, Ringo Starr in 1970, and rock singer Rod Stewart in 2010, in his album Fly Me to the Moon... The Great American Songbook Volume V, keeping its original jazz sounds. An album with a variety of covers of old-time jazz classics.
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, instill the folk sounds once more in the series with I Wish (2007 album The Bairns), and Laura Marling perfects the soundtrack with her 2013 folk rock song Saved These Words (Once I Was An Eagle album), and her 2017 cover for the series of the folk song A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall, originally recorded by the legendary Bob Dylan in his 1963 folk album The Freewheelin.
Last but not least, the psychedelic rock Snake Oil by Foals’ 2015 album What Went Down, and the experimental rock single Pyramid Song, taken from Radioheads’ 2001 album Amnesiac.
P.S.1: Joe Cole (John Shelby) and Finn Cole (Michael Gray), even though cousins in the series, they are real-life brothers.
P.S.2: Jason Statham was considered for a role in the series, but apparently nothing happened.
P.S.3: Peaky Blinders was inspired by westerns, thus the entry of Tommy Shelby on the back of a horse in the first episode of the series.
P.S.4.: The fifth and last season will air later in 2019, leaving us until then thirsty for more, with the only hint that the series will end with the outbreak of World War II, so we have many years to cover in these last episodes, since the last episode of the 4th season left us in the year 1926. Razors ready for the final bloodshed!!!
Cillian Murphy (Tommy Shelby), Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby), Joe Cole (John Shelby), Michael Gray (Finn Cole), Sophie Rundle (Ada Shelby), Helen McCrory (aunt Polly), Annabelle Wallis (Grace Burgess), Tom Hardy (Alfie Solomons), Iddo Goldberg (Freddie), Sam Neill (CI Campbell), Kenneth Colley (Vicente Changretta), Adrien Brody (Luca Changretta) and many more.
Theme Song: Red Right Hand (από Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
For the 1st season review : peaky-blinders-series-soundtrack-review-part-i-of-iv-season-1-en
For the 2nd Season review go to peaky-blinders-series-soundtrack-review-part-ii-of-iv-season-2-en
For the 3rd Season review go to peaky-blinders-series-soundtrack-review-part-iii-of-iv-season-3-en-1