Five Mad Men Soundtrack Staples

The dominance of Mad Men -- the almost annoyingly best show on TV with Party Down now out of the way -- owes some of its rep to the music selections that provide bumpers and interludes in every episode. With the fourth season's premiere looming Sunday, July 25, on AMC (and a newly revamped "Mad Men Yourself" promotion shamelessly providing art for this posting), now is an opportunity to dig up five favorite songs that were previously excavated from another era.

After the jump, text, embeds, spoilers, and an extremely life-like representation of County Grind walking into the New Times office!

  • Let's start with the chilling use of Roy Orbison's "Shahdaroba" in the third season's finale last fall. This is a song that declares that "the future is much better than the past," if we're willing to believe.

  • Another gem from season three was Ann-Margret's sultry performance of "Bye Bye Birdie" that several of the Sterling-Cooper reps find sexy enough to want to pair it with the precursor to Diet Pepsi.

  • As Don and Betty Draper's marriage reaches a stomach-turning low in this episode in season two -- no thanks to the accusations by lascivious comedian Jimmy Barrett -- Brenda Lee's melancholy "Break It to Me Gently" closes things out.

  • Back in season one, Don Draper and Roger Sterling's liquid lunch with a side of oysters has similar projectile results and shows the building tension between these men. This time, Rosemary Clooney's "Botch-a-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina)" provides a lighthearted exit.

  • Naturally, there's always the Mad Men main theme, copped from RJD2's "A Beautiful Mine" right when most folks had written the hip-hop producer off and stopped listening.

"Mad Men Yourself" has an uncanny number of custom settings on this brisk news day to choose attire that reflects daily work attire -- I narrowly opted out of wearing a bathrobe.