Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men - "A Little Kiss": Music à la Mode

It's been far too long, my dear old friend -- three fingers of MaCallan 18, in an old fashioned. Oh, and Mad Men as well, as it's the long awaited fifth season premiere that brings my bottle of scotch out of hiding once again. So what is it now, June of 1966? Watching the "Previously on..." I realized how much I've forgotten in the two years we've been apart. Even more than in year's past, Matthew Weiner was content in easing us back into things, letting us hang out with old friends, catching up on what's been going on since we saw them last.

Megan has obviously had an effect on Don, first from looking at the decor in the apartment, then the look on Sally's face watching her dad and Megan interact (and Don's making breakfast!); and in Draper's much more relaxed demeanor in the office. This 'catching up' scene was backed by organist Ken Griffin's "Marea Baja," an artist who died too early in the 50s but continued having albums released by Columbia for another decade (one could say that Ken Griffin was the Tupac Shakur of his day and be sort of right).

The musical moment everyone will be (already are) talking about is Megan's performance of the French song "Zou Bisou Bisou," originally performed by 16-year old Gillian Hills. Part of the French "yéyé" pop movement, the song would've been a hit just a few years prior in Quebec, where Megan's from. Gillian Hills version was much more restrained, to say the least (video below), but Megan's sultry take on it in fishnet stockings is one of our first truly 60s moments in the show, where we finally feel pulled into what we think of when the decade is brought to mind. The 60s has always hovered at the peripherals, but in the world of Sterling Cooper, it has remained in the 50s until now. Maybe it's the fact that it's the first opportunity I've had to see it in HD, but the set and wardrobe colors seem much brighter -- further evidence of that decade's late arriving cultural shadow.

As Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce deal with the reality of their Equal Opportunity Employer gag ad, Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," her first HUGE hit after which (released in March of 1966) she became the biggest selling female artist in the world, making her an appropriate choice to further set that year as our new setting.

Playlist: Mad Men - Episode 5.01 (Spotify)
1. "Marea Baja" - Ken Griffin
2. "Zou Bisou Bisou" - Gillian Hills (sung by Megan at Don's birthday party)
3. "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" - Dusty Springfield

UPDATE: The song as performed by Jessica Pare is now available both from iTunes AND on vinyl (in red or black) via Insound.

Previously: Mad Men - "Tomorrowland" (Episode 4.13)


bumpershine said...

I could have sworn I heard the band play "Walk on By" at the party. Watch it again.

Anonymous said...

What was Roger's phrase in greetings time?

"The only thing worth that not get you want is someone else get it" -yeah or not?