HBO has a knack for including great music as a companion to their original programming. Dating back to The Sopranos, the title sequences and closing credits of an HBO show have often been a source of discovery for different types of music. The song from the closing credits of Barry’s first episode featured the nugget: “Journal of Ardency” by Class Actress.
Barry, a dark comedy starring Bill Hader and Stephen Root, follows a hitman who is experiencing a mid-life crisis. During a trip to Los Angeles, Hader joins an acting class that is led by Henry Winkler. Watching Hader’s character fail to interact normally with his fellow classmates is funny enough, but Winkler’s hilariously pompous character is worth your time. Barry has already been renewed for a second season.
As much as I have enjoyed the first season, Barry’s soundtrack gave me something more than laughs. I was immediately hooked by the song at the end of Barry’s pilot. Class Actress’s “Journal of Ardency.” I had never heard the song before and it was good enough to make me listen through the entire credits.
The Synth-pop intertwines a video game/8-bit sound with a catchy beat. At the 1:24-mark in “Journal of Ardency,” Class Actress kicks in a thumping bass line that elevates the track into a really cool retro dance song.
Class Actress singer Elizabeth Harper also raises the song by giving off a vibe like she is describing dissatisfaction with a night out in a club. She acknowledges her own façade with the catchy lyrics “You think I’m living it, living it, living it, living it up in the spotlight. You think I’m living it, living it, living it, living it up in the spotlight. It’s a lie, lie.”
The song was released as a part of the six-song EP Journal of Ardency in 2010. The EP is a solid listen from beginning to end, but “Journal of Ardency” is by far the best song in the group.
The Class Actress “Journal of Ardency” video:
Who Is Class Actress?
Class Actress has gone through some significant transitions as a musical entity. Class Actress was originally formed as a Synth-pop trio, but is now the stage name of Elizabeth Harper. After originally starting out as a folk artist, Harper went for a more electronic sound. In a 2010 interview she gave an interesting rationale for changing her pursuits as an artist:
“What brought on the change was I started playing a synth and fell in love with the sound of analog. It was like the waves started to work on my own brain waves and set me free. Like the way when I was younger and Nirvana felt like someone was using a leaf blower to clear out my head…or being on the back of a motorcycle. It was freeing…I just grew out of girl on guitar.”
Class Actress released her only studio album, Rapprocher, in 2011. In addition to Journal Of Ardency, Class Actress also released the EP Movies in 2015. Movies was also released as an album of remixes. Class Actress last released the song “Glass Ceiling” in 2016.
This is the third post in a recurring series from the Flat Circle. Every Monday the Flat Circle will feature a new song, deep cut, or live track from my personal collection or travels on the Internet. Here are the previous posts in the series:
www.flatcircleblog.com is a Philadelphia pop-culture blog that covers television, music, podcasts, and movies. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, or subscribe by e-mail to catch all posts.