Categories Billions Music Print Media

Billions & Bangers: Showtime’s High Finance Drama is a Stealth Love Letter to Music – May 3, 2020

Becoming Fluent in the Musical Language of Billions

by Al Shipley | Complex | May 3, 2020

At a time when TV prestige dramas often have 90-second opening credits with an epic theme song and lavish visuals, Billions on Showtime has an unusually short and simple title sequence: an ominous aerial view of Manhattan, soundtracked by a queasy low electronic pulse, in and out in about 15 seconds. The show’s score and theme music is by Eskmo, an electronic producer associated with labels like Ninja Tune and Warp Records, who puts moody, unobtrusive beds of sound under the dialogue-heavy show about powerful hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod, his company Axe Capital, and the public officials trying to catch them breaking the law. But Billions, which returns with the Season 5 premiere on May 3, has gotten increasingly flashy with its nods to music since the Season 2 scene that featured a lengthy discussion of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett’s creative chemistry in Wilco.

Increasingly, Billions has been rife with moments where music didn’t just provide an emotional backdrop but memorable dialogue. “Dollar” Bill Stern (Kelly AuCoin) belted out the opening verse of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” when Axe Capital hatched a plan involving “the chicken man” who sets prices in the poultry industry. Politician Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti) air drummed to Al Green and offered a critical breakdown of 1977’s The Belle Album. And when Attorney General Waylon Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) tried to intimidate Rhodes’s corrupt father into a confession, he said that he has a witness “singin’ like Hank Williams the elder, tellin’ us all about your cheatin’ heart.”

Continue reading Billions & Bangers: Showtime’s High Finance Drama is a Stealth Love Letter to Music – May 3, 2020

Categories Billions Music Print Media

Showtime’s Billions Shows Heavy Rock Quotient in First Three Seasons – Feb 22, 2019

Why the Use of Rock Music in Billions Feels Right

by Dodie Miller-Gould | Lemonwire | February 22, 2019

A series about stockbrokers and hedge fund managers is perhaps the last place certain audiences would expect to find scenes that have been enlivened by rock music, particularly that from the 1980s and 1990s. But that is exactly what happens in Billions.

Though set in contemporary times, the music has a classic rock and grunge bent. Largely it is the music that galvanizes billionaire hedge fund manager, Robert “Bobby” Axelrod. As the easily angered, but often in legal trouble Axelrod, Damian Lewis dons the shirts of his favorite bands, and shortly thereafter, the songs play. It doesn’t always that way, but it does for Metallica and Megadeth.

Some of the best songs from the show include “Debaser” by The Pixies, “Next Big Thing” by the Dictators,  and “Master of Puppets” by Metallica.

Continue reading Showtime’s Billions Shows Heavy Rock Quotient in First Three Seasons – Feb 22, 2019

Categories Billions Poll Print Media

The Best TV Shows of 2018 – Dec 13, 2018

Billions Makes the List!

by Ben Yakas | The Gothamist | December 13, 2018

In 2016, over 400 television shows were aired or released. In 2018, that number has jumped to at least 555, which we know thanks to this handy spreadsheet made by Liz Shannon Miller. The Netflix-ification of television is truly upon us: the networks have a desperate desire to compete with the streaming giant, and they’re doing so either by throwing every idea against the wall and hoping it finds an audience, or by launching their own streaming services… with limitless capacities for more content.

And television isn’t just exponentially growing with new programming—any show with any sort of core fanbase could be brought back to life as a reboot (Murphy Brown, Charmed, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), spin-off (The Connors, Young Sheldon), or whatever hybrid monstronsity Kevin Can Wait turned into became before it was mercifully cancelled. There are over 20 more such zombie shows coming in the next year, with unlikely reboots of Conan the Barbarian, Gone Baby Gone and…The Bone Collector? Like the Greyjoys are found of saying: “What Is Dead May Never Die” (also, “Shut Up, Theon”).

Continue reading The Best TV Shows of 2018 – Dec 13, 2018

Categories Billions Music Print Media

How Billions Creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien Use Music as an Emotional Accelerator on the Show – May 24, 2018

NPR’s All Songs Considered, Music Pods, Sound Opinions, Spotify Discover Weekly and Twitter Solicitation Beacons: Discovering Music for Billions

by Caitlin White | Uproxx | May 24, 2018

Last fall over the holidays I was desperately trying to avoid reality. Looking for an escape, I turned to a popular TV show called Billions because I’d noticed one of my favorite Uproxx TV writers, Brian Grubb, writing a love letter to it earlier in the year. It looked just far enough away from my own life to distract from the stupid minutia of what was bothering me, the characters were strong, powerful, and self-assured — but they were also caught up in tough situations, unfair portrayals, and pesky mistakes.

The plot was thick and moved with deftness, there was not one but two strong, badass female characters, there was a subplot involving a nonbinary character working in the midst of the boys club, and the whole thing swung on an unholy rivalry that was a thrill to watch. This all made for great, addictive TV, but as a music editor, what stopped me in my tracks was the soundtrack. Unexpectedly, I found old folk and indie rock favorites like Andrew Bird cropping up alongside a guest appearance from the rock gods themselves, Metallica!

Continue reading How Billions Creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien Use Music as an Emotional Accelerator on the Show – May 24, 2018

Categories Billions Fashion and Style Merchandise

The Fashion and Style of Bobby Axelrod in Billions Seasons 1 Thru 5 – May 25, 2020

Bobby Axelrod: The CASHmere King

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | May 4, 2018 (updated May 25, 2020)

You would think Damian Lewis and Bobby Axelrod couldn’t dress more differently but diving a little deeper, I found some commonalities. However, if we were to simplify, Damian typically dresses up with spurts of leisure whereas Axe dresses down with spurts of formality. Svelte Damian can wear a suit like a coat hanger and Axe can wear a hoodie like a dope Bankster. As Billions costume designer Eric Daman has said, “Damian looks like he just walked off a mens catwalk in Italy” so when “Axe does wear a suit, it’s like a punch to the face.”

Continue reading The Fashion and Style of Bobby Axelrod in Billions Seasons 1 Thru 5 – May 25, 2020