There’s a weird trend in Game of Thrones — a hit HBO fantasy series you may have heard of — where it seem like many of its actors have had some sort of musical project. We take stock of the most significant of these, in celebration of the impending release of Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson’s debut major-label album — coming in February — and Game of Thrones’ sixth season, which impacts in April.
Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm)
I love Jurassic Park, well I still dig, Grey Worm sings of growing up on his expensive-sounding new leak from his debut full-length, You’re a Man Now, Boy, on Columbia Records — yes, this ain’t no Bandcamp anomale. Still feel a pang of guilt about the snails I killed — damn, brutal. Grey Worm got after it as a kid. This is sensitive, post-Drake’n’Coldplay confessional pop&B. Jacob Anderson — whose musical moniker is Raleigh Ritchie — boasts a wordy, conversational style that might appeal to aging street fans. What’s amazing is that Ritchie is packing serious producers on this venture — most notably DJ Dahi, who has breathed West Coast-tinged slap into hits by Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Ritchie has been putting out tracks for a few years now, with two EPs out on Columbia in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Also, here’s his debut single, “Stronger Than Ever,” which hit #30 on the UK singles chart in 2014:
Jerome Flynn (Bronn)
By far the most quality project from a Game of Thrones star is the charismatic Jerome Flynn’s (aka Bronn’s) Robson and Jerome duo from the mid-90s. The project came after both were already established and recognizable faces as British TV actors. The project sounds like a British Hall & Oates turning in mostly synth-and-drum-machine-tinged classic soul covers. They do “Unchained Melody” — the top-charting UK single in 1995! — and The Drifters’ “Up on the Roof.” Both their 1995 and 1996 LPs hit #1 on the British pop charts. Flynn’s voice is tuneful and charming, if not particularly full-bodied, coming off like a new-wave reboot of Fred Astaire’s crooning. Though critically maligned at the time, this stuff is tremendously listenable if you get into smooth pop of this general variety.
Here’s their weirdest song, a cover of the final anthem from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel played like a tune from the Twin Peaks soundtrack:
Carice van Houten (Melisandre)
Melisandre sounds like she listens to a lot of Rilo Kiley — here’s what I mean. Sometimes she’s more on a Fiona Apple vibe, teaming with indie singer/songwriter legend Antony. You might have called Evanescence or just straight-up black metal, but no, the Dutch actress and singer’s music is like a second-tier release that might have shown up at your college radio station circa 2007. Or maybe it actually did in 2012, which is when her EMI album See You On the Ice (which I think is a great album name) dropped. She’s a modest, slightly pitchy singer, but it works well with the style she’s working in.
Check out the pretty solid Antony collaboration from 2012, which actually made it to Pitchfork:
And here’s a super weird duet she did on Dutch TV, for good measure:
Wilko Johnson (executioner Ilyn Payne)
Hm, yeah, you know this guy from Seasons 1 and 2? Scary, bogeyed dude, no lines, sworn enemy of Arya Stark? He both cut off Ned Stark’s head and was a founding member of influential blues-tinged proto-punk British band called Dr. Feelgood. Dr. F had a full six Top 50 charting albums on the UK album charts in the late ‘70s, including a #1 live album in 1976. They sound kind of like The Jam, but also maybe like Jet fucks with them. Maybe you’ll get into it but either way [Bill Nye voice] Now you knooowww! Isn’t the internet great for stuff like this?
They had a song called “Roxette” before fellow Anglos The Police had “Roxanne”! How ‘bout it?
Kristian Nairn (Hodor)
DJ Hodor is the worst. It’s exploitative bullshit. I love Hodor as a concept in Game of Thrones but honestly fuck this. The idea of his “Rave of Thrones” parties is kind of a little bit funny, but then you realize the tens of thousands (at least) he gets paid to do them, and it’s definitely not as funny and definitely not cool. The middle-school-prank-call-soundboard “Hodor” drop that anchors this Garage Band-demo-ready house track is grounds for nothing as much as getting pissed. He also definitely integrates the theme music for the show elsewhere.
If you like this shit, check out more at his Soundcloud.
May the Force be with you … I mean, oops, stay woke … because the night is dark and full of EDM.