Remains

My December 2012 Song of the Month

Remains by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon

Remains by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon

I am indebted to Kate Strycker for some fresh music, since these days I don’t listen to music radio, internet music services like Pandora, nor watch hardly any television. She took my physics course back in 2004-05, and back then we began trading music mix CDs. Kate is one of those alums who has kept in regular contact with me over the years. Although she now lives in Illinois, she was in town for Christmas and suggested we trade mix CDs again after a long hiatus. So I burned off an assortment of my most-listened-to songs of the past few years. Of much greater importance is what Kate brought to the dinner get-together I had with her and her sister Kristen, who is also one of my physics alums. (Need I even mention that Kate is now a Physician’s Assistant and Kristen is wrapping up a degree in Civil Engineering at Notre Dame? Physics kids are the best!)

Musically, Kate is now into Nate Reuss, singer for The Format and now fun. By that I mean the group “FUN.” She provided an extensive sampling of his work, and I won’t be surprised if one of his efforts is a Song of the Month for me next year. But Kate also provided a general mix CD, and a standout song on it for me relates to another long-term interest of hers: Joss Whedon and his talented clan. Stay with me here as I weave the web links to my December Song of the Month:

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Kate loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other Whedon projects. General readers might associate him most readily as the director of the summer 2012 blockbuster movie The Avengers. During the Writers Guild strike of 2007-08, he teamed up with his brothers Zack Whedon (a television writer) and Jed Whedon (a composer and screenwriter), along with writer/singer/dancer/actress Maurissa Tancharoen, to create the wonderful musical tragicomedy web miniseries Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

I loved that mini musical, which introduced me to Felicia Day, which in turn led me to her hilariously nerdy web series The Guild, which I adore even though I am not a gamer. Day wrote the great song (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar with Jed Whedon, who married Maurissa Tancharoen in 2009. Tancharoen was a writer for and also acted in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse TV show, and she and Jed co-wrote Remains, my Song of the Month, which see sang as part of the final first season episode they scripted for Dollhouse. And wrapping this nest of links up with a final twist, Felicia Day acted in that episode.

Remains is sad and haunting, with lyrics constructed to have general meaning as well as fit the TV episode in question. It also fits well with the official video, with Tancharoen-Whedon playing an android love bot ordered by Fran Kranz, who also acted in Dollhouse. The video was directed by Anton King.

The video is not just a science fiction trope about androids and love dolls, with echoes of Lars and the Real Girl. It is an interesting portrayal of the objectification of women as well as our tendency to discard damaged goods, including people. Notice how the damaged, discarded android was rescued and appreciated by a homeless war veteran. The gorgeous chord progressions, piano, and guitar in Remains capture my heart, and the lyrics are shattering:

REMAINS

Burn down my home
My memories hardened and are bright as chrome
Good times escape
While every mistake seems to be caught on tape

I will go rolling fast
Arms out in the rain
Feel momentum building ’til
I lift off ground like an airplane
Love ties you down to the pains
A billion eyes are watching, fossilized
They see what remains
Remains

Gave up this town
What waste are we left with when it’s boiled down
Shine light on me
Your image reflected is all you’ll ever see

I will go rolling fast
Arms out in the rain
Feel momentum building ’til
I lift off ground like an airplane
Love ties you down to the pains
A billion eyes are watching, fossilized
They see what remains
Remains

And lest we grow too maudlin, let us remember what Anne Frank wrote in her tragic diary:

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.

There is indeed much beauty in Remains.

< November 2012 Song of the Month

January 2013 Song of the Month >

About Granger Meador

I enjoy day hikes, photography, podcasts, reading, web design, and technology. My wife, Wendy, and I work in the Bartlesville Public Schools in northeast Oklahoma, but this blog is outside the scope of our employment.
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2 Responses to Remains

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks for sharing the video, the vid like the song is hauntingly beautiful

  2. Kate says:

    Also, the idea of love dolls, very similar to the Buffy episode “I Was Made To Love You”

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