As a freelancer, I spend a lot of my time driving around in my car listening to radio or online getting bombarded by Youtube advertisements. During this historically long election period that means I've heard and seen my fair share of campaign advertising.
One thing that's stood out is the choice of "mood music" in each advertisement.
Here's the breakdown of your Canada Federal Election 2015 soundtrack.
The sad piano soundtrack
The "sad piano" has been used in pro-Conservative ads where Prime Minister Harper is sitting with the "tax payers" laying down his plans.
What does the sad piano mean? Well they likely chose it to make people feel Harper is thoughtful and bring up images of an "experienced" leader.
For those of us inundated with it daily it kind of makes it seem like Harper is just about to tell us that our Grandpa is dying. It's morose. All hope is lost. Harper is telling you that your cat ran away and is never coming back.
The "triumphant build up" song is pretty expected when it comes to campaign season. It starts with a hopeful piano, brings in a few other instruments, and as Liberal leader Justin Trudeau gets closer to the screen there's a break and a thoughtful comment. It's pretty by-the-book campaign music.
What does the triumphant build up mean? It was likely chosen to show that like the music, Trudeau is building up his campaign and his leadership role.
But for those of us who just want to watch a clip of a cat scared of it's own reflection, but we keep getting Trudeau first, this music is a reminder of a cheesy Eighties movie montage. I wouldn't be surprised to see a member of the Brat Pack learn a lesson about their uniqueness in the background. Seriously though, Trudeau's sleeves are rolled up and this song sounds like they should be. Let's not forget the slow fade at the end, that's your moment to reflect on just how deep that music was.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair loves his triumphant piano too, but he forgot to role the sleeves up. Tisk Tisk.
Unfortunately, whoever edited this video decided to make the music front-and-centre and pushed the volume up way too loud.
The "random krautrock" choice seems Conservative specific.
I can only assume that whoever was making the soundtrack happened to be laying back listening to Neu one afternoon and thought to themselves "now that's attack ad music". Any other reason for this is beyond me.
It can also be recognized as part of the soundtrack to "Akira"
The "Fantasia" is all about the creepy build-up with a switch to Justin Trudeau and back to your triumph sound.
The choice to use Fantasia is easy, they were setting Harper up as the bad guy and flipping the mood for Trudeau. Pretty straight forward .
For those of us just driving to get some no-name peanut butter because brand names are too expensive, this soundtrack can make us feel like we are losing our minds. Remember watching Fantasia when you were younger, the scene with the "Sorcerer's Apprentice", those brooms scared the shit out of me, and so does listening to the music at the start of this ad.
Look guys, Tom Mulcair is a person! The "folksy guitar" makes the NDP leader relatable and seem like more than just a politician. It uses simple strumming and ends with a bit of the same triumphant piano of change at the end.
It's easy to see why the NDP chose the folksy guitar.
For those of us just trying to watch a clip of how to do a specific sailor's knot because why not, this music reminds us why we stopped going to pit fires in high school where people only learned 4 chords but played them on guitar every time. It also reminds us why we thought our parents were so "lame" when they'd put on a vinyl, before vinyl's were cool, of some band they once heard at a barn dance in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
Now this is the "classic attack ad scary sounds". We've heard it before and it was likely perfected some elections ago in the United States. This time the Conservative's decided to add some sound effects like knives being sharpened and a scrambled TV, even scarier.
It's easy to see why they chose this as the soundtrack. It's classic.
To those of us just counting down until the votes are cast and this extremely long election is over, this sounds like an early Nineties X-files rip off. I wouldn't be surprised if Robert Stack walked out at the end of the ad to ask us to "help solve a mystery". But the only mystery is why people keep using this soundtrack.
Kelly Geraldine Malone is a freelance journalist, podcaster, and radio producer based out of Manitoba, Canada