The Music of ‘Walking Dead’ Season 4: The Ink Spots Harken Back to The ’30s

By Brian Ives

Over the course of nearly four full seasons, ‘Walking Dead’ has used a wide range of music from artists that span nearly every genre and era including Bob Dylan, Motörhead, the Stanley Brothers, Sharon Van Etten, Wang Chung and Tom Waits, whose song “Hold On” was sung by cast member Emily Kinney. For the remainder of the show’s fourth season, we’ll be talking with Thomas Golubic of SuperMusicVision, who helps choose the show’s music, to get the scoop on what you heard last night.

On this week’s episode, we follow Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), and sisters Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino ) and Mika Samuels (Kyla Kenedy), carrying the precious cargo, infant Judy Grimes (Rick’s daughter). The episode started with a moment viewed from a kitchen window, and not just any kitchen, but a kitchen with a working stove. So, we don’t know if it’s a flashback to before the zombie apocalypse, a future when things have come close to normal, or even the present in a house that somehow still has a working stove.

Through the window, we see… oh, cute! A girl and an adult playing tag! Upon closer inspection: not so cute. The larger participant appears to be a walker. Okay, it’s not a flashback! But the kid sounds like she’s having fun. What’s up with that? But the music we’re hearing comes courtesy of the Ink Spots, an early vocal group, formed in the 1920s. (Read their bio at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s official website).

Thomas Golubic tells about using that song: “We open ‘The Grove’ with what looks like an unlikely paradise: a bucolic cabin in the woods, tea on the kettle and what looks like children playing outside in a lush green grove. The songs of the 1930s vocal group the Ink Spots always conjure up a warm nostalgia for world gone by, and their romantic song ‘Maybe’ captured this idea of a lost paradise. As we look closer, we realize it isn’t children playing in the yard. It’s a little girl, being chased by a stumbling walker. As always, nothing in ‘The Walking Dead.’ is as pleasant as it may seem.”


So, what was going on? We won’t give it all away here: suffice to say, it is indeed a game of tag. Recall that when we first met Lizzie and Mika, they didn’t seem to understand the true nature of the walkers.

If you haven’t seen the show and haven’t been on Twitter, we’ll just say that it was one of the most intense and brutal episodes yet. And this time, there was no music to end the show with.

Golubic says, “We explored the possibility of having a song at the end of the episode, and demo-ed girl singers doing a haunting cover for the close, but as we got to the final assembly of the episode and the devastating ending, it seemed best to let the episode close quietly with score.” It sure was easier to try to digest what we’d just seen without the distraction of recognizable music.

There’s two weeks left to this season of “Walking Dead.” Check back with us next week when we discuss the music choices in the next episode, titled “Us.”

Tyreese of Walking Dead (Chad Coleman) by Gene Page AMC

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