About a year ago I wrote a blog post about a little song called Adagio in D Minor. The song is by John Murphy, and was originally used in the 2007 sci-fi film by Danny Boyle’ Sunshine. The movie fell into relative obscurity, but the song…to use the immortal words of Lil’ B, it done come up.
Most recently, it was used in the X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer. It’s the sort of song that makes anything sound epic, and it’s a arguably little classier than the infamous Requiem for a Tower theme that found its way into so many trailers in the late 2000s, so it’s easy to see why it’s taken off.
But nowadays the song that was first used to score a scene in which the last survivor of a heroic crew staggers to the airlock and hurls himself into the surface of the sun in a last-ditch self-sacrifice to save humanity is also getting used in…perfume commercials? Samsung TV commercials? Overkill, much?
I feel that someone with a very symbolic mind could find in that a parable about the nature of modern society or the nature of mankind. We took a song that was supposed to symbolize awe and heroism and used it to sell things. Lots of things. And by the time I finish writing this post I am sure there will be three new comments in my inbox describing new places this song has cropped up. It can’t be stopped.
There is a theme that has been in more movies than some actors! Well, not quite, but it is beginning to feel like it. Meet our newest star: Adagio in D Minor.
This theme was first composed by the wonderful John Murphy for Danny Boyle’s sci-fi thriller Sunshine. It plays twice in the film at key dramatic scenes, and fits perfectly with the haunting red/gold imagery of the sun that permeates the film. The first version is called “Kaneda’s Death”(sorry for the spoiler, but it’s in the song name, so what could I do?) and plays during, well, Kaneda’s epic death scene. The second is called “Surface of the Sun” and lacks the guitar chords of the first, relying solely on strings, piano, and percussion.
The song made its next appearance in the film Kick-Ass. John Murphy composed many of the themes for that movie, as well. Kick-Ass features a remixed version of Adagio in D Minor called “Strobe” that plays during a scene where Hit Girl takes down a nest full of evil henchman. This version is heavy on the bass, and much less melodic than Surface of the Sun.
Adagio in D MInor apparently showed up on the TV show V, which I haven’t seen. Finally, the song appeared briefly in AMC’s television show the Walking Dead. The version used was the same as the second melody from Sunshine, “Surface of the Sun.” It played during Episode 5, Wildfire, in a scene where the group of main characters left their camp on the outskirts of Atlanta after a massive zombie attack.
The song seems to have a cult following on YouTube, and there have been numerous re-mixes, some good, some…less good. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of it in the future.
Lastly, here’s the song in its original scene from Sunshine.