Moral Orel Soundtrack: The Music Behind Moral Orel
What was Moral Orel?
Moral Orel was a stop-animation series that aired on Adult Swim. The show started "normal" dark comedy but then became increasingly disturbing in subject matter. In fact, it was cancelled because it was deemed by the network to be too depressing. The characters in the town are flawed despite their faith. The show tackled and satire the affects of religion (Christianity) and didn't hesitate to show the true, darker side of humanity. The show is mostly about its protagonist Orel Puppington, who struggles with his faith and continues life discovering how to be morally good. The soundtrack featured in the show also reflected the narrative. These indie songs range from light and cheerful to dark and dispiriting.
Dan Emery Mystery Band - "Other People's Tounges"
"Other guy's tongues have been in your mouth. Yeah, other guy's tongues have been in your mouth. But, that's okay cause you brushed your teeth. And other girl's tongues have been in my mouth...It doesn't mean we're cheap. It doesn't mean we're bad. That we did the best we could, with the things we had. And old lovers aren't ghosts; they're just part of who we are..."
This song with its simple chords and melody tells the story of couples who fall in and out of love. Eventually, if the love is strong then they get back together. The song gives off the feeling that no one should judge since it happens so often. We fall out of love or we break up. Get with others and then leave to come back to our previous lovers. It's a habitual cycle that continues to repeat itself so often which is why the singer sings casually of it. Orel's parents are complacent and unhappy in their marriage. But, because of their religious beliefs divorce is not an option. The song is featured in "The Blessed Union", where Orel learns from his father (and from his experience with multiple women in Moralton) that men should do everything to keep their wives happy. That way, God will listen to his prayers.
"His mornings and his noon's and his nights were long he had a head and a heart that didn't get along...Her mornings and her noon's and her nights were long she had a had and heart that didn't get along...My morning and my noon's and my nights were long, I've got a head and heart but they don't get along. "
The song is about the differences between the head and the heart. The head being the more logical way of viewing the relationship. The song makes it clear that the discomfort is an every day battle that most people goes through. In the end, the singer even admits that he goes through the same thing as well. The song is featured in the episode "Be Fruitful and Multiply", and tells of Revered Putty's desire to have a relationship with Stephanie. However, he finds out that Stephanie is his daughter.
The Mountain Goats - "Love Love Love"
"King Saul fell on his sword when it all went wrong. And Joseph's brothers sold him down the river for a song. And Sonny Liston rubbed some Tiger Balm into his glove. Some things you do for money and some you do for love, love, love."
This soothing song recounts figures from the bible, literature, and real life in an attempt to explain the reasoning behind people's actions and human nature. Love is corrupt because actions taken in the name of love can be terrible and vile. But, they are nontheless remembered. In Moral Orel, love and faith go hand in hand. Some of the people in Moralton think or do unspeakable things but with the crutch of Christianity that they will go to heaven as long as they love God.
The song is featured in the episode "Passing" where Clay's past is retold. His mother has had several miscarriages due to smoking and drinking. In the episode, Clay plays a prank on his Mom and causes her death. Stuck with his father, the only we he can get affection is by causing trouble in order to be struck and punished. Eventually, his dad forgets him.
Io Perry - "Saturday"
"How I miss you. When you coming home. Where you been to you can telephone.
Since the time when, I still find it now. That our love is just a passing thought.
I kissed you on a Saturday. I miss you even more today."
A simple, cute song about a woman who sings about a past relationship. She recounts the first times of the relationship and when things went rocky. Hindsight is 20-20. Even though she has no reassurance that he is coming, she still reminisces. The song is featured in the episode "Satan", which showcases more of Coach Stopframe's intimate relationship with Clay Puppington.
The Mountain Goats - "Old College Try"
"From the cities to the swamplands. From the highways to the hills. Our love has never had a leg to stand on. From the aspirins to the cross-tops to the Elavil's. But, I will walk down to the end with you. If you will come all the way down with me."
The first truly hopeful song in the soundtrack. The person singing is willing to make the relationship work if the person's partner is willing as well. Even though the relationship seems hopeless he still wants to give it the "old college try." Orel's parents Bloberta Puppington and Clay struggle in their relationship. Still, they try and make it work for their kids and their religious beliefs. The song is featured in the episode "Help", shows Bloberta Puppington's childhood and how she first met Clay. Bloberta is the real reason why Clay is unhappy. She introduces him to alcohol and pressures him into marriage. Knowing all this, she breaks down when Orel asks her why she married his father.
Savoy - "Bottomless Pit"
"You say it wouldn't do. It wouldn't shake. It wouldn't make any waves
It wouldn't be no use. And you being you, sure know how to phrase it.
And I being I, I just have to embrace it. Don't I?"
This song complete opposite of "Old College Try" by The Mountain Goats. The singer sings of the hopelessness of being in a dead-end relationship. Too make matters worse, the other person in the relationship agrees. The two are okay and accept the reality of their situations and let go. The song is featured in the episode "Sacrifice", which depicts Clay and the sacrifices he believes he has made for his family. He is not happy in his marriage and denies his homosexuality. After he recounts everyone's religious transgressions he is fed up with the towns hypocrisy and goes into the wilderness to be alone.
The Mountain Goats - "No Children"
"I hope it stays dark forever. I hope the worst isn't over. And I hope you blink before I do. And I hope I never get sober."
"And I hope when you think of me years down the line. You can't find one good thing to say. And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out. You'd stay the hell out of my way."
Despite the words "I hope" being at the beginning at most parts in the song, the song is about a couple stuck in a toxic relationship. The singer is overly pessimistic and doesn't believe anything will change. Another interpretation of the song can be that the singer is being overly pessimistic in hope that things will change. By wishing death on himself and his wife, the husband has officially given up. This song played in the Moral Orel episode "Numb". The episode focused on Orel's mother loathsome life. She tries to have an affair but fails. She then masturbates with a power tool causing herself pain and pleasure. The episode ends with her and her husband climbing into their cold, separate beds falling asleep as the credits roll. This episode was one of the final straws that broke the camel's back. At this point, the series had hit the point of no turn in terms of becoming too dark or depressing.
Britta Phillips - "Closeface"
"When her and I get together, I tell her all my secrets. And yes I do talk about you and I have no regrets. There’s a blurry girl at the end of my nose. Her name is Closeface."
Probably the most indie and personal sounding song in the soundtrack. The song itself was written by the creator of the series for this particular episode. Simple enough the song can be about what the eye sees when something or someone gets physically close. There is a blur and features change. In the episode, "Closeface" Orel sees Christina's Closeface when he goes to kiss her. Stephanie, a character from the episode explains a deeper meaning. "Closeface" is a reflection ourselves.
Peter Blood - "You" (Acoustic)
"There's no weird way to be with you. And I'm so glad I found you
It's not the only reason.You keep turning me on. You keep turning me on."
The mesmerizing chords in the song depicts a man who is honest about his intentions for his lover. He doesn't hide his feelings. The man speaks honestly about the relationship and the faults of his partner. But, he doesn't care because he loves that person anyway. The song plays during the episode "Courtship" when Orel develops a crush on his teacher Ms. Sculptham. He gives her gifts in hopes to court her. All while the infatuated, ice cream man watches him.
Io Perry - "Valentine"
"So you're feeling left alone in your thoughts, no one's really home. Gone to black and dangerous as hell in your car. It may not kill you if you smile. You know you sparkle so. It's not your time, my valentine."
A sweet, melodic song that can be interpreted in two ways. The song can taken literally in the fact that the singer is trying to comfort a person on their dying bed. The second interpretation can be that the song is a metaphor for happiness. The singer is telling the person that life is what you make of it. And that true happiness does exist. This song appears in the series finale "Honor", where Orel grows up and has a loving family. As the narration in the episode describes "occasionally a "miracle" happens and there is a family that truly loves one another."
High Priestess Regan - "Airetania"
"Airetania" is sung by a choir in a ritualistic fashion. The song is extremely dark in its tone and the singer sings in a dark, operatic way. Hands down, the most intense song to be featured on the soundtrack. The song comes from the episode "Grounded" and is about Orel's frequent suicide attempts. He does this to in order to get closer to God. After the third attempt, he has visions and claims to have saw heaven—or hell.
The Choir Practice - "Failsafe"
"I left the game. To find you at the pavement. There's gold in those hills ahead. Have to get used to it. You and me both, kid. You and me both, kid."
The perfect ending to this soundtrack list. The song provides an overall lasting hopeful feeling. As the song says, "There's gold in those hills ahead." Bad times don't last forever. It is important to look towards the future. The tone of the song is filled with content. It is true when the singer says, "Have to get used to it. You and me both, kid" meaning that no one can escape from life's clutches. The song appears in the episode "Dumb" and is about Joe (Dr. Secondopinionson's son) and his quest to find his mother. He finds out the nurse that works in the same hospital as his father is his actual mother. Later, he runs into the nurse again and finds out that she has thrown out a stuffed, teddy bear. She tells him that the bear won't "work" because she now has her real son.
Moral Orel was a show ahead of his time and I truly wish the network understood the importance of such a show. In a way this soundtrack is therapeutic. Overall, I enjoy listen to this soundtrack whenever I read a book or just want to think. I love range of emotions it brings up within me. Hope, happiness, sadness. These songs were also performed by talented artist which makes it a great listen.
Feel free to post your interpretations in the comments below.