If you watched season one of HBO’s True Detective last year, then you are probably also curious about what season two will bring. One thing the new season will feature is a brand new theme song, written and performed by Leonard Cohen. The sparse, gravelly crooning of Cohen’s voice will color the television series’ opening credits a haunting shade of grizzly. The choice has been praised as apt and “badass” by Vulture Magazine.
The song is called “Nevermind,” and it first appeared on Cohen’s most recent studio album, Popular Problems, which he recorded in 2014. Last year, the show used “Far From Any Road” by the Handsome Family as its theme song, but with the change of cast and change of storyline with season two, it seems fitting that the show’s title credits would get a remodeling as well. The show has received a lot of positive criticism from academic and literary circles, as well as cinema enthusiasts everywhere.
The first episode of season two of True Detective aired on Sunday, June 21. If the first episode is any indication, this season will be even bleaker than season one. Leonard Cohen’s husky, weathered sing-speak sets the stage like fog rolling over a haunted swamp. His voice sounds funereal, like an “Old Testament God played by John Wayne.”
Leonard Cohen famously began his career as poet before he ever picked up a guitar. True to Cohen’s style, “Nevermind” actually started out as a poem before the artist set the words to music. He first published the poem in 2006 as part of the much acclaimed Book of Longing, Cohen’s first poetry collection in 30 years. Cohen has a reputation for being a slow writer. This is mostly likely because he labors over things like word choice and nuance in a way that many younger music celebrities never do, but which you always sort of wish they did.
Cohen once described his writing process as “like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and horrible and I’m in it and it’s not very graceful and it’s very awkward and it’s very painful and yet there’s something inevitable about it.”
On the surface “Nevermind” sounds bleak and nihilistic, just like the television show. Fans will have to keep watching to see if this first impression holds.