Should Sunday morning talk shows be ranked by their theme music?

While reading my colleague Paul Farhi’s story about NBC’s David Gregory in this morning’s Washington Post, I was surprised — scratch that, shocked — to learn that “Meet the Press” ranked third in the ratings when it comes to the “Sunday-morning Beltway blabfests.”

My irrational rationale? “Meet the Press” has the best theme music.


“Meet The Press” isn’t performing as well as its theme music. (Photo by Amanda Voisard/FTWP)

It isn’t really up for debate. Those strings! Those horns! This is a 90-second burst of orchestral urgency that says, “You are about to hear something very important.” (It was composed by John Williams back in the ’80s as part of “The Mission,” a news package that also includes the “NBC Nightly News” theme.)

Am I alone here? Ever since Atlanta rappers Young Jeezy and T.I. started rhyming over music that resembled vintage NFL Films soundtracks, I’ve been waiting on a D.C. rapper rise up and sample the “Meet The Press” theme. (CC: Shy Glizzy, Fat Trel, Wale, Oochie.)

I’ve taken the those top-three Sunday morning talk shows — plus “The McLaughlin Group” — and re-ranked them according to their theme music:

1. “Meet the Press.” Untouchable.

2. “The McLaughlin Group.” This theme music has an ’80s public access vibe that’s so wrong, it’s right.

3. “Face the Nation.” Is it rousing? Or calming? I dig this theme, even if it can’t seem to make up its mind.

4. “This Week.” It’s essentially the “ABC World News” theme — which was composed by Hans Zimmer — with trace amounts of hair metal guitar thrown in as tart, inexplicable garnish.

Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about summer songs, festival fatigue, metal drumming and D.C. rap star Shy Glizzy.

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Emily Yahr · April 21, 2014