“A Bad Dream” by Keane (2006)

Scrubs is my favorite television show of all time. I’ve not before or since seen a show that managed to convey absolute ridiculousness and then bring you to your knees in tears within a half hour. Scrubs also did a great job weaving music into its storylines (it’s at least partially responsible for The Fray’s “How To Save A Life” becoming a hit and there are at least five songs that I’ve gone to iTunes and purchased following their use in an episode.) One song whose stock shot up following its use in a Scrubs episode is “A Bad Dream” by Keane.

The ethereal, dreamlike ballad (performed by a band many compared to Coldplay, and the comparison was pretty justified (although it’s worth noting that Keane made the jump to dance-pop a few years before Chris Martin and co. did) is featured in an episode that focuses on death. Well, let me backtrack. Scrubs has plenty of episodes about death, but only one that contains the death of a beloved cast regular. In this two-part episode, Nurse Laverne Roberts (played by Aloma Wright) gets into an argument with devout Atheist Perry Cox (played by Office Space’s John C. McGinley) about whether coincidences are just coincidences or if they’re acts of God. The next morning, the Sacred Heart Hospital staff is informed that Laverne was in a car accident and has been admitted into the hospital in a coma. Carla (played by Judy Reyes), the head nurse and Laverne’s protege, is particularly affected and refuses to accept her mentor’s seemingly inevitable death. As a result, a character representing Laverne’s “ghost” follows Carla around the hospital. The hospital staff says their goodbyes, but Carla struggles for most of the episode. Eventually, she accepts the finality of Laverne’s condition and says goodbye right before the character flatlines. “A Bad Dream” is used to chilling effect during this scene. I’m actually tearing up just writing about this. The first time I saw the episode, I had a massively ugly cry. It’s a testament not just to my sensitivity, but to the amazing job the episode’s writers and actors did. As surreal as Scrubs occasionally was, moments like this were profoundly real. Made me dig up my copy of Keane’s Under The Iron Sea (I’ve actually owned every Keane album at some point) and reacquaint myself with “A Bad Dream”. I don’t know if I’d rate this song as high had the episode of Scrubs not used it in such an affecting manner.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“Bad Connection” by Yaz (1982):  1982 was a good year for music, huh?

“Bad Connection” was basically The Shirelles meets Tron.

It would be easy to say “Bad Connection” is just a girl group song for the electronic age, but Alison Moyet’s deeply soulful vocal takes it out of the potential novelty range and gives the 1982 tune an emotional heft that outweighs the tinny synth bleeps and bloops.

Also: blah blab blah haha outdated technology.

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