Album: Cowboy Bebop
. . .
It was the early 2000s, just after we moved to Los Angeles for good in the early 2000s, and Kassia started telling us about this great anime series that she loved, called Cowboy Bebop.
Cowboy Bebop was the story of some misfit bounty hunters trying to eek out a living, and maybe even a life, in the year 2071, 50 years after the Earth was rendered basically uninhabitable by
climate change, a big space disaster — yet another piece of Sci-Fi that thought space travel would be ubiquitous by 2021. Of course here in the real 2021, space travel is only ubiquitous for billionaires, and the rest of us shouldn’t even be leaving our houses thanks to the anti-vax assholes.
That said, there is a school of thought that it’s really the adventures of a Corgi data dog who loves to swim in space, and the other characters are just window dressing.
So after borrowing the DVDs, we loved Cowboy Bebop, and went out and bought a gray market DVD of it that barely played, and because the English subtitles didn’t work, we watched the dubbed version — which doesn’t matter quite as much in animation — and we eventually got it signed by Wendee Lee, who was the voice of Faye Valentine, after she sold her house to Tim and Jean. Also, in 2011, when we decided to do a Medialoper podcast, I came up with the name Medialoper Bebop as at least a partial homage.
Anyways, each episode opened with the hyperkinetic “Tank!” composed by Yoko Kanno and performed by her group, Seatbelts. While “Tank!” is a mostly instrumental composition, after a massive horn intro, there’s some jazzy bass and a shitton of percussion over which Tim Jansen, Kanno’s long-time collaborator, intones:
I think it’s time we blow this scene
Get everybody and the stuff together
Okay, three, two, one let’s jam!
After that, “Tank!” just utterly explodes into a cacophony of big band horns playing hard bop music, all of which is performed at what we would now consider punk rock speed, but that was just bop, really. The slightly jarring main theme features the horns bouncing back and forth against the bass over and over and over.
Eventually, there is also a long, speedy sax solo — just to break the song up a little bit — but while it’s cool, it’s not nearly as much fun as the dynamic main part of the song, which is one of the reasons that “Tank!” is easily one of the all-time greatest TV theme songs. Wonder if they’ll use it, or a new version for the upcoming live-action version.
“Tank!” live in the mid-2000s
“Tank!” Virtual Session, 2020
Did you miss a Certain Song? Follow me on Twitter: @barefootjim
The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page