The most ominous musical chord on TV is no more, as HBO’s The Leftovers gets a plucky alt-country opening title sequence to replace the grim, spooky (but quite wonderful) bombast of its debut season. The new main title song, Iris DeMent’s spry, winsome 1992 bluegrass tune “Let The Mystery Be,” kicks off with Sunday’s Season 2 debut at 9 PM.
No spoiler alerts needed here — I haven’t seen the new episodes — but the Season 2 title sequence suggests an optimism that might be felt by retired cop Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) as he moves his new family from the beleaguered town of Mapleton to Miracle, TX, a burg seemingly unscathed by the Rapture goings-on.
The opening of the debut season was one of the more attention-grabbing scene-setters: After a powerful “Day In The Life”-like opening chord, the music swept onscreen with portentous strings and a fearsome, churchy dirge worthy of Game Of Thrones, accompanied visually by baroque, Sistine Chapel-esque images of horrified and grieving people watching as their loved ones — including babies — ascended heavenward:
The new opening, created by design company Elastic (True Detective, Masters Of Sex) is a montage of photos (rather than paintings) of happy people in happy circumstances — summer vacations, football games, skydiving, dinnertime grace — but with one person in each snapshot replaced by a ghostly silhouette. The song’s lyrics perfectly reflect the haunting, multi-layered imagery: “Some say once gone, you’re gone forever/and some say you’re gonna come back,” sings DeMent, before adding, “I think I’ll just let the mystery be.”
DeMent’s music is no stranger to screens. In fact, “Let The Mystery Be” was used as the opening to 1993’s Little Buddha, and “Our Town,” a tune also from her terrific 1992 album Infamous Angel, closed the series finale of Northern Exposure in 1995.