Dear This American Life People: c/o WBEZ Chicago...
November 5, 2001 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Dear This American Life People: c/o WBEZ Chicago... "Could you please give me the name of that song you played under that story from a few weeks ago? The one where Ira interviewed that.. uhm, guy? With the thing? It went kinda! Dah-da-dum.. Something like that?"
posted by ZachsMind (21 comments total)
After years of struggling with that question from fans while still doing their job week in and week out, TAL can now answer it as best as humanly possible. This page has been a long time in the making, but now it's about as good as it's ever gonna get - and quite impressive! Over fifty songs. Whether you love the show or not, the music they use for background is a treasure trove of kewl toons. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 3:03 PM on November 5, 2001

It would be nice if they made one big track/jukebox that would rotate through all the mini-clips. That would assist with people are looking for one or two specific ones but who wouldn't mind listening to all of them.
posted by gluechunk at 3:15 PM on November 5, 2001

Not that I've ever emailed that sort of question to Ira et al., but I've always wondered what some of the music is.

Nice link.
posted by Qubit at 3:17 PM on November 5, 2001! Dah-da-dum..

Isn't that the theme from Indiana Jones?
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:57 PM on November 5, 2001

Thanks, Zach. Great link.

I've emailed TAL many times regarding their music, and never a reply (alas, they're busy.) This is a godsend.
posted by mapalm at 5:01 PM on November 5, 2001

DonkeySchlong: No actually the theme from Indiana Jones goes, "Dah! dah-DAH! dah-DAH-dah-da-DAH-dum. Dah! DAH-dah! dah-dah-DUM!"

Oh wait no, that's the theme from Dallas. Sorry, DS. Can't help ya there.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:54 PM on November 5, 2001

See, I just ove sites like this. Thorough, kind, and very cool. Makes me want to listen to TAL even more.
posted by Fofer at 5:56 PM on November 5, 2001

If you've never listened to TAL before, these are as good a place as any to start. Some of my personal favorites include Superpowers, Million Bubbles, Hoaxing Yourself, and Four Corners. I can't imagine anyone not finding something of value from any one of those.

One of their most formidable works ever is called The Fix Is In but I only recommend it for real fans of the show. It's not for newcomers.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:52 PM on November 5, 2001

Zach's favs are from the last couple of years... Here's an oldie from 1997, that, whether it was the first TAL I heard or not, kept me riveted and definitely played its part in making me a convert:
Other People's Mail
Act One is especially highly recommended.

When TAL drifted away from its winning style of stranger-than-fiction reporting and started padding the shows with dramas and short stories, I stopped listening regularly. But my impression is that things have gotten better again. In any case, browse around in the shows from the good ol' days—it seemed there were no misses back then.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:10 PM on November 5, 2001

Then there's the musical interludes cd from All Things Considered another great NRP program.
posted by redhead at 8:26 PM on November 5, 2001

hey, check that out! my show (hoaxing yourself, notice me in act 3) made both TAL's favorites list AND zachs!
posted by palegirl at 10:01 PM on November 5, 2001

OK, I give up. How did you make those letters pink?
posted by beagle at 5:59 AM on November 6, 2001

Beagle - Not that I know anything about HTML, but in IE, go to View-Source and you'll see the code. Here's what it said:
It went kinda (font color="pink")! Dah-da-dum..(/font) . But with open and closing carats instead of parentheses <>.

Hope this helps.

Oh, and TAL ROCKS. I listen to archived shows every sunday morning on the net while I make breakfast. Great stuff. My favorite right now is the one about stories that make you cringe (April 13, 2001, #182).
posted by skechada at 6:20 AM on November 6, 2001

(indy theme... with props to John Williams)

(hah. made you hum it!)
posted by kahboom at 7:14 AM on November 6, 2001

It would be nice if they made one big track/jukebox that would rotate through all the mini-clips. That would assist with people are looking for one or two specific ones but who wouldn't mind listening to all of them.

Ask and ye shall RECIEVE.

(Right-click and Download Link to Disk to save my bandwidth. Open the RAM file in your RealPlayer to have it play all the clips currently listed on the source page.)
posted by abosio at 8:05 AM on November 6, 2001

Y'think the TAL staff ever lurk around in here? Looking for ideas? Think they'd get a kick outta us talking about them? Ira should get Matt on his show. I have no idea what they'd talk about, but GlueChunk made a powerful point over at Metatalk which for some reason makes me think Ira and Matt are somehow kindred spirits.

PaleGirl: I don't notice you in act three. Actually I haven't listened to it recently and am going strictly by memory, but are you claiming to be the woman who gave the people in Rent hell making them think you were gonna die and stuff? Or maybe I'm thinking a different episode..

Abosio: That's impressive. I wonder if whoever's running TAL's website would find that of use? It's pretty cool, actually. I'm listening to it now (yes I rightclicked and saved it to my pooter. =). Saves a lot of clicking. And if one starts talking out loud to oneself they can pretend they're Ira Glass... okay that's pathetic, but what I do with my private life is my own business. *smirk* Booker T. is unmistakable. I wonder why they never use Green Onion? I'm actually digging around Audio Galaxy trying to find full versions of these songs for my own collection, cuz 1) I'm cheap and 2) I'm unemployed and can't afford to actually buy this music right now. I really should go back to the jobhunt websites, but it's depressing, and this thread's much more uplifting.

Zurishaddai: Other People's Mail is in fact a good one. I agree. Sorry I didn't go back far enough for my fave picks. =) I have that one in mp3 format somewhere.. It's actually rather hard to pick favorites from their entire seven year run. Their Poultry Slams are often very good. They do one about every year, around Thanksgiving time. Kindness of Strangers is a good one from 1997. That one stands out for me because it's also mentioned in their comic book. Yes. TAL has their own comic book. It's inspired me to someday submit something to their show, but it's also disillusioned me. I could slave on a piece and send it in and they've got such a small staff they'd never get a chance to hear it. I want to be the next David Sedaris. Unfortunately, I'm not jewish, I am homophobic, and I've never been to France. So I'm doomed before I begin.

beagle: skechada beat me to it, but I would have just told you to right click and view source. So his/her explanation is much better (So I don't know Skechada's gender. So sue me. "Chris" is a genderless name).
posted by ZachsMind at 9:33 AM on November 6, 2001

zach, i pitched that rent story & then reported it with ira. after a couple of weeks of preparations, ira and blue flew to new york and we did most of the interviewing for that piece together. i even sat in the editing of the piece, ira's narration script, and picking the music via speakerphone to chicago.

you hear my voice twice in the piece, once at the beginning and then summing it up. the "scenes on 41st street" -- you hear me and my friend joey gillis sounding very, very manic.

and i got paid! it was incredibly cool. i was the happiest girl. (when we went to the new york NPR office to do one of the interviews in a studio there a lot of the people working there were beside themselves that ira was there, and they all assumed that i was somebody because i was with him. they assumed i was a TAL producer, like blue. a couple people tried to give me their cards. i was like "listen, i'm nobody.")

ira is so cool!
posted by palegirl at 11:29 AM on November 6, 2001

Zachsmind: I'm a dude. (from FL, can you tell?) :)

Palegirl: That's SO cool you got to do a piece with them. I think that one of the best parts of the show is that it finds truly entertaining stories in "everyday" lives, so much so that we all want to submit or pitch stories. That's killer that yours got in (tho I haven't heard it, yet).

I actually pitched one (via email) about the time I was in 6th grade and dressed up as Hitler, completely not knowing the significance of him or his crimes, for a "Leaders of the World/History" day in which the whole school and lots of parents came to see their kids in a parade as the world leaders, including me as a clueless Hitler. I even had the moustache and swastika armband, and walked around with that silly military stiff-knee gait. How my parents & teacher let me do that is to this day beyond me...
posted by skechada at 12:30 PM on November 6, 2001

TAL is an amazing show. It's what I think of first when pathetic Europeans accuse my country of having nothing but vapid crap on the air.

IG's two hour show to benefit WNYC two weeks ago was great.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:41 PM on November 6, 2001

VERY nice work, PaleGirl. I'm green with envy. =) It's a memorable piece and that whole episode definitely stands out from the pack. I thought they'd only accept complete works from newcomers. I didn't think of "pitching" a show to TAL. I was trying to make a complete piece from scratch. Submit something a la Sedaris' work, like an essay piece, without interviews or stuff like that. I've been trying to keep it simple but each attempt just gets complex and I figure if I can't keep it simple they'll just toss it.

Is pitching easier? How's that work?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:59 PM on November 6, 2001

Never mind. I got inspired and tried working up another "piece" but I did the mp3/wav equivalent of filling up a wastepaper basket with crumpled pieces of paper. Then my computer unceremoniously rebooted and I lost part of what I was working on. I can't make a decent TAL submission to save my life. They make it sound so easy...
posted by ZachsMind at 12:47 AM on November 7, 2001

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