down in the hole

February 22, 2013

A re-up of Season 4 pulled us right back into The Wire loop, as addictively as before. The added bonus for me is the fantastic slave-to-the-beat version of the series’ supremely catchy theme song, ‘Way Down in the Hole’. It’s on constant playback, both in reality and in my head.

The relative merits (or not) of each season’s version are hotly discussed among Wireheads. I already liked The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Season 1 version, although Tom Waits’ gravelly (original) version in Season 2 gives the song a feel that is a completely different. The Neville Brothers in Season 3 didn’t seem to make a lasting impression, but DoMaJe’s version in Season 4 has grabbed me by the throat and won’t let go. It features the five Baltimore teenagers Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse, and was arranged and especially recorded for the show.

Steve Earle does the final Season 5 version, but Mr. Snow and I are loath to start that season. It’s a mix between fear of having to totally surrender to the series (again), and never ever having any more episodes to watch again… nor new theme versions to discover.

Have a listen if you need to, and tell me if you agree. Or, do you love an alternative version of a well-known song?