If you happened to miss last night’s Sopranos finale, then you’re out of luck: The series’ resolution is front-page news for the New York Times, and it’s popping up seemingly every few seconds on certain cable-news networks. But just in case you were watching the Tony Awards–or, in the case of some our readers, winning Tony Awards–we’ll save our discussion for after the click-through.
In terms of the music, we can only imagine that Steve Perry was smirking into his bathroom mirror all night: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” was the series’ closing number, beating out that Dylan guy, whose 1965 “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” served as the prelude for an SUV meltdown. The show’s music supervisors have always gone for a mix of high-brow and low-brow, and anchoring the episode with both a thoughtful anti-war song and an over-pumped ode to “streetlight people” felt just about right.
But what did it all mean? As for that diner-scene song choice, you can view it is a pint-size version of the same American-dream story David Chase had slowly constructed and debunked over the past eight years, or you can dig around in the lyrics, looking for far-fetched clues as to what would have happened next (“Meadow would have gone back to be a pediatrician, and of those babies, some are born to sing the blues!!!“). Or you can accept the fact that Tony–who always loved his classic rock–probably would have just put that song on anyway. But it’s a safe bet that one of the reasons Chase chose the song in part because of its running time: Those last four minutes, in which every opening-door jingle was met with a stone-faced look of anticipation, were unbearably tense, as if he wanted us to experience the same impending sense of dread his protagonist had faced for the past few years. The most common complaint among viewers this morning is that there was no closure, no tidiness, but The Sopranos has rarely provided them, and one of the great appeals of the show was that there was always the possibility that the Russian could come back from the woods with his scalp hanging off and a gun in his hand. In life, there are no spoiler warnings.
Bob Dylan – It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) [MP3, link expired]