Welp, I just finished watching Normal People on Hulu and WOWEE, what a journey it has been. Full disclosure, I haven’t read Sally Rooney’s book, and therefore I have very little insight into how the show holds up by comparison. But I DO still have LOTS of feelings, to the point that I jotted down notes throughout binge-watching. A few bullet points from those notes as follows:
- For two straight people, this is some of the most closet gay energy I have ever seen…
- Is every single person from Dublin Murders also in this?
- Genuinely cannot tell if I am more attracted to Connell or Connell’s mom. (Sarah Greene can GET IT.)
- MAJOR BONER FOR THIS SHOW!
Major boner for this show indeed! But slightly less of a boner for its soundtrack, with which I had several bone(r)s to pick. You might have gathered from the title of this post which of those bone(r)s we’re going to talk about at semi-length here, though please note that I also felt annoyed by a whole bunch of other seemingly disjointed songs, including the (in my opinion) incredibly random placement of Nick Drake’s “Horn” in E2…like, why? For whomst? And then to follow up with Elliott Smith in the closing credits? DO YOU HAVE TO BRING THE SUICIDE GUYS INTO IT BEFORE ANYONE EVEN COMMITS SUICIDE IN THE SHOW.
But I digress. We are mainly here to talk about the fact that NO ONE SHOULD EVER TRY TO USE IMOGEN HEAP’S “HIDE AND SEEK” ON SCREEN EVER AGAIN. IT PERMANENTLY BELONGS TO THE OC.
I was in my junior year of high school when “The Dearly Beloved” (S2E24) aired in May, and let me tell you – a SYMPHONY OF EMOTIONS unfurled within the depths of my teenage soul watching Marissa shoot Trey to the tune of “Hide and Seek”.
I can still remember going to school in the morning and being like “HOLY FUCK YOU GUYS DID YOU EVEN SEE THAT SHIT GO DOWN LAST NIGHT?!” and even kids you wouldn’t think would care, like Sean Clark (who you don’t know, and whose last name I had honestly forgotten until I just did some light Facebook stalking to remind myself in order to prove my point re: staggering cultural significance), were like, “YES, WHOA WHOA WHOA DOT COM.”
And from that moment all I wanted to do was listen to “Hide and Seek” over and over again, which would prove v. difficult considering Speak for Yourself didn’t even come out until JULY of that year. (Don’t worry, I bought the CD as soon as it came out and terrorized all of Purcellville, Virginia by blaring it on repeat in my Toyota Camry that whole summer.)
Basically, it was iconic, you guys. GOOSEBUMPS-INDUCING ICONIC. And now you’re trying to come in here and assign new scenic value to a track that belongs firmly in Orange County c. 2005? NOT IN MY HOUSE.
Such infringement feels akin to using “My Heart Will Go On” in a non-Titanic context; unless you’re making a real big joke, it CANNOT BE DONE.
So WHY DID THEY DO IT?!
Maggie Phillips, a music supervisor for Normal People, told Vulture the following: “That is one that Lenny and the editor put in. It was in there for a while, and I brought up The O.C. and the long list of places it had been used. I felt very strongly that song shouldn’t be in there, and Juliet agreed, and we tried to get something he liked just as much. Ultimately, we just couldn’t.”
(Fuck you, Lenny.)
There are A WEALTH of other songs that could’ve been used to soundtrack ye olde blossoming secret sex between Connell and Marianne. Like, FIFTEEN YEARS WORTH OF NEW MATERIAL, TO BE EXACT. JUST PICK SOMETHING WITH SLIGHTLY LESS BAGGAGE THAT FEELS SLIGHTLY LESS LAZY! (“Hide and Seek” doesn’t even feel especially fitting in this context! Shoehorned at best! WHY, LENNY, WHY!)
Am I being a little extra for ranting about this? Yeah, I am! This is a pandemic, and I am even more a prisoner of my own thoughts! (Welcome to a sliver of my nightmare!) And I get that not everyone will have a problem with the inclusion of “Hide and Seek”, that they might think the soundtrack as a whole is a big success. To which I reply ¯_(ツ)_/¯, we can agree to disagree, but next time can somebody maybe think a little harder before trotting out a track that is so clearly in a dignified retirement? Is there not a whole sea of music available with which to soundtrack our screens?
In sum: Imogen Heap, I love you. I love “Hide and Seek”. But if I ever (inexplicably) get the opportunity to use it in the context of a film or television soundtrack, it’s gonna be a hard pass from me. And I hope it’s gonna be a hard pass from everybody else, too.
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