Because I spend so much traveling to different parts of the world–in fact, I’m writing this in the EVA business lounge at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei–I like to maintain a relationship with certain universal touchstones.
For example, I find it comforting to be able to turn on a TV almost anywhere on the planet and get my news from the BBC World Service. I know that I’ve connected to something familiar when I hear the World Service theme, which I still believe to be the best news theme anywhere on the globe,
When looking for and commissioning pieces for my own radio projects, I’ve often looked to this BBC composition for inspiration. (If you listen to my stuff on the radio, you can probably guess which bespoke pieces are BBC World News theme derivatives. I make no apologies for that, either.)
Well, the BBC has just mucked it up. The English language World Service has a new theme. While there are compositional and stylistic nods to the old theme (gotta get the time pips in there!), the new one sounds a little too…chipper to my ears. No gravitas, you know? VERY major key.
From The Guardian:
“Musical identity is important to a station, not just for hunting for it on the airwaves, but to give a sense of what the station is about,” said [BBC controller Mary] Hockaday. “The experience of listening live is still strong and our audience is growing, so I wanted it to say that serious and authoritative news is still at the heart of the World Service.”
Maybe it’ll grow on me. But why fix something that wasn’t broke?