Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher has been making quite an impact since its premiere on October 12, 2023. This gothic horror series takes inspiration from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and stands as the darkest addition to creator Mike Flanagan’s body of work up to this point. Last week’s top TV song is an energetic remix of a 1989 pop-rock ballad, remixed by the series composers themselves.
[Original song by Chris Isaak] Perry overlooks the party as the lighting turns to red; A woman enters the party, and Perry is transfixed on her; Verna seduces Perry in one of the bedrooms.
The track is first heard toward the end of the second episode as masked partygoers rhythmically dance around Perry Usher while he stands in the middle of the dancefloor. As a sinisterly masked character enters the party, the seductive vocals of the song drop in on full audible display. The song continues in a muffled background volume as the setting changes and characters trade dialogue.
‘Wicked Game’ was originally released by artist Chris Isaak on his third album, ‘Heart Shaped World.’ When the song was initially launched as a single in July 1989, it didn’t quite hit the big time. However, in 1990, the song was featured in the David Lynch film Wild at Heart, starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern. At that point, Lee Chesnut, a music director at a popular radio station in Atlanta and a huge fan of David Lynch’s films, began airing the song for listeners. The song skyrocketed in popularity and became a top-10 hit in the United States by January 1991, even reaching the impressive 6th spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
It was just about what happens when you have a strong attraction to people that aren’t necessarily good for you.”- Chris Isaak
While many people see it as a ballad of love that’s never quite fulfilled, Chris Isaak revealed that its inspiration came from a phone call. In this call, a woman was looking to set up a casual encounter, and the song delves into the idea of what occurs when you’re intensely drawn to individuals who might not be the best choice for you.
Isaak explained, “It’s about four in the morning, and somebody calling and saying I’m coming over to your house and I thought right after I said okay, I thought I should have never allowed this person to come over to my house. I know what’s going to happen. And I wrote the song between the time I got off the phone and the person came over to visit.” Chris continued, ” It was just about what happens when you have a strong attraction to people that aren’t necessarily good for you.”
‘Wicked Game’ has been covered numerous times by various artists, including R.E.M, Theory of a Deadman, Celine Dion, and Tenacious D. Singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes created her own rendition of the song in 2012. Hayes shared that she recorded the cover specifically for the teen drama series Pretty Little Liars. Daisy Gray released her cover version of ‘Wicked Game’ as a single in 2017. Gray’s cover received placement in an episode of Love Island (UK) on February 7, 2020.
The Newton Brothers’ remix of ‘Wicked Games’ brings a distinctly more energetic and upbeat vibe to the song, making it a perfect fit for a club scene. This reimagined version has a livelier tempo and groove compared to the original, setting the stage for a dynamic and dance-friendly atmosphere.
Mike Flanagan has worked with composer duo The Newton Brothers on all of his creations since 2014, including the most recent The Fall of the House of Usher. The Newton Brothers, individually known as John Andrew Grush and Taylor Newton Stewart, are known for their hauntingly beautiful horror scores. From an early age, both Stewart and Grush were driven by the desire to blend music and visuals and pursue careers in composing for films. These two are not just accomplished musicians but also versatile multi-instrumentalists, proficient with a wide range of instruments including piano, guitar, percussion, organ, and cello. The duo apprenticed under the legendary Hans Zimmer and collaborated with composer Danny Elfman on the suspenseful Mike Flanagan thriller Before I Wake.
In July of 2023, The Newton Brothers expressed their appreciation as they showcased their work in a post on their Instagram.
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The Newton Brothers currently have 413 songs on Tunefind with over 400 appearances. Their work has been featured in movies such as Doctor Sleep, Oculus, and The Forever Purge, in addition to their work in TV series such as The Haunting of Hill House, Joe Pickett, The Midnight Club, and many other projects.
〉Listen now: Wicked Game by The Newton Brothers, Daisy Gray
〉More music by The Newton Brothers
〉Full list of songs featured in The Fall of the House of Usher