Gang of Youths’ song “The Heart Is A Muscle” earned the band some pretty sweet exposure Sunday night thanks to its inclusion not once, but twice, during the popular Showtime TV show, Billions. The show is now in its fourth season, and tonight’s show was the second episode of the current season.
For many viewers, part of Billions‘ attraction isn’t just the drama, story and acting — but also the show’s soundtrack and use of music to help tell the story.
Brian Koppelman, the show’s co-creator, tweets during new episodes and he discussed Gang of Youths and “The Heart Is A Muscle” with each of the two times it was used tonight:
The “might recur” bit there is a reference to the song making a second appearance at the end of the show.
Billions definitely helped Gang of Youths gain some new fans tonight, which is clear just from reading some of the Twitter replies that Brian received. (Here’s one and here’s another.) I also caught a few tweets from people using Shazam to learn the name of the song they heard.
Deepest Sighs reader Michael H. shared with us a home recording of the second time “The Heart Is A Muscle” appeared during tonight’s episode, and it looks/sounds terrific:
If you’re not familiar with Billions, check out the official website. Showtime has distribution agreements with some channels around the world, so those of you outside the U.S. may also be able to watch the show — check your local listings, as they say.
The author, Dylan Marshall, went through the show on an almost track-by-track basis and really grabbed my attention with the mention of a song I’d never heard of: “In Our Crowded Sea.” Here’s what Marshall said about its performance that night:
Sitting down at the keys, Dave explained the premise for the next track, one that had only been heard by the band once before, and would be receiving its first public performance in a matter of moments. Titled “In Our Crowded Sea,” the track was the verbal representation of the last attempts to save the relationship that created the basis of The Positions.
I searched and searched for more info about this song, but came up basically empty. There’s a Reddit thread about it, which points to a different review of that show where the author thinks the track is called “We Now Cried At Sea.” (In the full-version video below, though, you can clearly make out Dave saying “In Our Crowded Sea” as he intros the song.)
And that was it. Until this week, when a short video of the song surfaced online and eventually made its way to Deepest Sighs so we could preserve it on YouTube. The video is incomplete and has a cut/dropout in the middle, but don’t let that slow you down.
(I should emphasize that this is not our video, and we don’t know whose it is. If the owner happens to see this article, we’d love to credit you — please get in touch.)
(Added August 8, 2019) A Gang of Youths fan named Denise H. has just uploaded her own full version of the song to YouTube, which you can see here:
First & Only Performance?
As far as we know, this is the only time Dave/Gang of Youths performed the song.
This August 2, 2016, show was a surprise gig announced on Facebook earlier that same day — a standalone show not tied to any tour (where setlists often have a degree of repetition from night to night). It happened just a few days after Let Me Be Clear was released. GOY only performed live three more times the rest of the year — a U.S. radio performance in late September and two festivals in December.
We have no other mentions of the song anywhere in our Tours section, which currently numbers 347 past live performances.
I’ve watched the video clips numerous times to try to figure out the lyrics. Here’s what I came up with:
Burn the light Or was it ??? Oh on our saddest day There never was rest, only sorrow And in our crowded sea ??? Was ???
Cause in my blood ??? There ??? anymore I just throw all it is that I’ve ever loved ??? Like a ??? Go and find some place to drown along the coast
Until your eyes are ??? The sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen
Until there is no light Until there is no sea Until there’s no big ransom for the bastards after me Just your morning scent And stark, white sheets And the only thing I hear is your buzzing, honeybee
I sparkle and ??? You’re like some poltergeist that died from lack of love And it’s still ??? From my lips onto my shirt, onto the floor
And then I’m saved ??? ??? never been alone, oh never been alone
Until there is no light Until there is no sea Until there’sno big ransom for the assholes after me Just your morning scent Stark white sheets And the only thing I hear is your buzzing, honeybee
Until there is no light Until there is no sea Until there’s no king’s ransom for the bastards after me Just your morning scent And stark, white sheets And the only thing I hear is your buzzing, honeybee
“Honeybee” is a word that was also used in “Keep Me In The Open,” a song that was released about a year after this show on Go Farther In Lightness. But that’s the only similarity, so I’m hesitant to say “In Our Crowded Sea” is an early version of that song.
Whatever it is, it’s fascinating — and it’s great to finally have some visual proof of this long-lost song from the Gang of Youths archives.
Gang of Youths will perform in Romania for the first time this summer. The band’s been added to the lineup for the Electric Castle festival, which happens over five days in July at Banffy Castle in the town of Cluj-Napoca.