Regardless of how you feel the writers have done in moving the storylines along in “True Blood,” there is one thing no viewer can deny: “True Blood” is sexy. It might let you down sometimes with the plot or what they’re doing with your favorite character, but you’re guaranteed every week that “True Blood” is going to be damn sexy. So you would believe that the new soundtrack, True Blood: Music From the HBO Original Series Volume 4, is going to be sexy as well…and you’d be damn right! Grrr!
But in almost comical fashion, True Blood Volume 4 is also a perfect microcosm of the entire series itself. Identical to the show, the soundtrack starts out great with the powerful, bluesy “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Eric Burdon with Jenny Lewis and follows up with the infectious number “Let’s Boot and Rally” by Iggy Pop and Bethany Cosentino.
The early songs on the album all have the delicious Southern groove that is so powerfully present in the “True Blood” theme song, typified by “What Makes a Good Man” by The Heavy. And “Smokestack Lightnin'” by Howlin’ Wolf and “Pocket Change” by Alabama Shakes bring the roots of the blues to the album. Bosco Delray does a very unique cover of John Mellencamp’s “Authority Song,” and My Morning Jacket do a spot on rendition of “Turn, Turn, Turn (to Everything There is a Season)” that would make The Byrds proud. Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends. Just like “True Blood,” after a stellar start, it begins to spin its wheels.
The second half of the album takes a drastic turn from the soulful entries found at the beginning. The later tracks feature more electronic music that is as far from the luscious, sexy tunes the albums opens with as you can get. “The Sun” by The Naked and the Famous,” “I Wanna Be Your Man” by Mobley and “Your Face Can Tell the Future” by The Flaming Lips are muddled and repetitive, kind of like the latest seasons of “True Blood” the series.
True Blood Volume 4 has its ups and downs, and although very strong in some sections, it lacks consistency, making for a bit of a disjointed listening experience. But much like the show itself, since the beginning was so good, the listener will hang in there to see if the album will produce anything like it had earlier. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen during the duration of this collection, but again, like the show itself, we’ll hang in, hoping they get it together for the next volume/season.
As for True Blood: Music from the HBO Original Series Volume 4, it definitely has its moments, but the best way to enjoy this album is to turn, turn, turn it off after “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
01. Eric Burdon and Jenny Lewis – “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
02. Iggy Pop and Bethany Costentino – “Let’s Boot and Rally”
03. The Heavy – “What Makes a Good Man?”
04. Holwin’ Wolf – “Smokestack Lightnin’”
05. Alabama Shakes – “Pocket Change”
06. Bosco Delrey – “Authority Song”
07. My Morning Jacket – “Turn Turn Turn”
08. The Flaming Lips – “Your Face Can Tell the Future”
09. The Naked and Famous – “The Sun”
10. Warpaint – “Undertow”
11. Mobley – “I Wanna Be Your Man”
12. Deap Vally – “(She’s a) Wanderer”
13. Koko Taylor – “Whatever I Am, You Made Me”
14. Los Lobos – “We’ll Meet Again”
2 1/2 out of 5
Volume 4 in the comments section below.