Original Television Soundtrack

True Blood: Music from the HBO Original Series, Vol. 4

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Like another popular vampire franchise, True Blood's soundtracks became increasingly star-studded with each volume. True Blood Vol. 4: Music from the Original HBO Series is no exception, kicking off with a pair of duets featuring Eric Burdon and Jenny Lewis and Iggy Pop and Bethany Cosentino, respectively, as well as tracks by venerable indie acts like My Morning Jacket and trendier names like the Naked and Famous. Despite the increased starpower, the brooding-yet-campy vibe of True Blood's music remains strong, particularly on driving tracks like Mobley's bluesy take on the Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man" and theatrical ones like Los Lobos' version of the chestnut "We'll Meet Again." At times, songs like these border on overdone, but then again, True Blood has never been much for subtlety. And while some of the collection's star turns work well, such as Warpaint's delicate lament "Undertow" and the Flaming Lips' "Your Face Can Tell the Future" -- which is far more winsome and bittersweet than the epic bleakness they explored on The Terror -- often the biggest pleasures here are the simplest. Koko Taylor's "Whatever I Am, You Made Me" and Howlin' Wolf's ubiquitous but still great "Smokestack Lightnin'" both sound like cuts off of Merlotte's jukebox, while Alabama Shakes' rollicking "Pocket Change" has a bouncy, almost Cajun feel that fits right into the proceedings. True Blood's soundtracks were more interesting when they highlighted older or lesser-known songs and artists that nevertheless captured the show's feel perfectly; despite this, and the fact that this is one of the series' most disjointed collections of tracks, there are still quite a few good songs here.

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