Originally released on: The Dark Knight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (July 15, 2008)
Samples: Far, far too many to mention. Contains speeches from: Heath Ledger, Peter Mansbridge, Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty, Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton, Keith Boag and more.
You were a schemer…you had plans…and look where that got you…
So yeah…I’m pretty excited about this one.
Out of all the tracks on Why So Serious, the title track has been the most work by a good margin. It’s also the track where my quest to recontextualize 2008 reaches its apex, taking one of the year’s defining pieces of music – The Dark Knight soundtrack – and mashing it against the most exciting developments in Canadian politics in years.
I had thought about including “Why So Serious” – the brilliantly chaotic theme that introduces the Joker in The Dark Knight’s opening caper – as part of this mixtape project since the beginning. Unfortunately, the fact that it was a nine-minute instrumental meant it was likely destined for the outcast pile. Or so it was, until an evening spent watching CBC Newsworld in the wake of the news that Canada’s opposition parties were considering overthrowing the Conservative government and forming a new coalition. I can’t remember who it was, but someone on the tee-vee described the situation as “anarchy.”
A light bulb went off.
I immediately started scouring YouTube in two directions. While I was digging up the major Joker speeches from The Dark Knight, I was simultaneously trying to find and and every political soundbite that could allow me to tell the story of the mesmerizing madness that was ensuing. As the real-world story unfolded – the economic update, the vote delay, the coalition agreement, the addresses to the nation – I updated the track accordingly. I couldn’t get to everything (Iggy’s coronation in particular feels rushed, although I suppose that’s fitting) but I had to time events to the intricacies of the track: the escalating tension, the blistering rock beats, the relative moments of calm.
Though I supported the coalition – albeit more out of principle than anything – this Dark Knight/Canadian politics mashup doesn’t take sides. It presents everyone involved as the schemers they were, all cascading towards a scenario that none of them saw coming until it was far too late to stop it.
It’s the perfect match to the Joker’s love of chaos and disorder, his devilish cackle at the flawed plans of man. The mix returns the character to its inspiration: instead an orchestrator of madness, the Joker becomes the jester of the Canadian Parliament, pointing out all the flaws of the King and his Court. And having a good laugh at their expense.
Someone get that clown a politics show…
BONUS: I’ve had a couple of people ask about a YouTube version of the mashup, for ease of sharing and listening. I’m never one to disappoint. Here, with Joker’d slideshow, is the YouTube edition of “Why So Serious (Canadian Anarchy Remix)”: