2020 Best TV Songs/Soundtrack Moments
by Sean T. Collins | Vulture | December 29, 2020
“Vision” is right there in the name of the damn thing, but as a medium, television is as much dependent on sound as it is on sight. This year, from comedies to dramas, from terrestrial networks to streaming services, a good soundtrack was often as big a part of a show’s critical conversation, and as crucial a component in separating great TV from the rest of the pack, as any other element. As part of our annual holiday tradition, we’re once again counting down the year’s top music cues, for those glorious moments when sound and vision collide. Crank ’em up!
“Old Man” by Neil Young
Has there ever been a rock star as misnomered as Neil Young? Even in his early 20s, the hippie icon and grunge forerunner’s voice had the warbly, world-weary quality of a man three times his age. Perhaps that’s why he was able to, so convincingly at a tender 21, sing “Old Man,” an homage to the elderly caretaker of the ranch he bought with his rock and roll fortunes. That makes the song perfect fodder for Billions, Brian Koppelman and David Levien’s ongoing autopsy of political and financial big-league macho men. The song shows up as an ode to Charles Rhoades, Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn), the father of legal eagle Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) — and as a fuck-you to the deadbeat dad of billionaire hedge-fund king Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). This show is never less than self-aware in its examination of moneyed machismo, and its multifaceted use of this classic-rock staple is a case in point.
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