It’s no secret filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée has a talent for choosing the right soundtracks. Think about Simon & Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa (If I Could) and Portishead’s Glory Box in Wild. Then there’s the whole Led Zeppelin sound cameo in Sharp Objects and music savant Chloe listening to Alabama Shakes and PJ Harvey in the first season of Big Little Lies. Vallée’s productions always make me want to Shazam every single theme song on their soundtracks.
Even though he’s not directing the second season of Big Little Lies, he’s acting as an executive producer and, according to HBO, is responsible for making the majority of music choices for this and the previous season.
Here’s the list of all the tracks played in season 2.
And yes, the opening credits of the show are still set to the sultry notes of Michael Kiwanuka’s Cold Little Heart.
Big Little Lies’ episode 1 songs
- Bad Reputation by Joan Jett. Jane and Ziggy sing and dance to it the first day of school.
- I’ll Be Around by The Spinners. The Monterey Five greet each other on the first day of school. They hug and kiss each other while the rest of the parents look at them from a distance. Bonnie is the last one to arrive. And they all look fabulous.
- Technically I should add the Otter Bay song here, as sung by the school’s annoying principal. But let’s ignore it.
- What Becomes of the Brokenhearted by Jimmy Ruffin. Renata is listening to it while driving and getting home for her photoshoot.
- It’s My House by Diana Ross. Renata listens to it and pretty much performs it while being photographed for the cover of a top women’s magazine. This is a big Diana Ross season, at least for Renata.
- Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens. Jane dances by the ocean while listening to this song.
- The Rip by Portishead. The always-hip Abigail is listening to this while Madeline goes to see her at her ex-husband’s place and they argue about the teenager not wanting to go to college.
- The Fade Out Line by Phoebe Killdeer & The Short Straws. The song plays at the open air bar while Jane and Celeste are having a drink together. Celeste wants to know why Jane is not cashing her checks. This one is used a second time during the episode, as the final credits song.
- Harvest Moon by Cassandra Wilson. Celeste drives home and remembers the good moments with Perry while Mary Louise cooks dinner because one cannot survive on fast food every night.
- All Apologies by Sinéad O’Connor. Jane is drawing and picturing Perry’s footsteps on the beach.
Big Little Lies’ episode 2 songs
- Great Big Bundle of Love by Brenton Wood. Bonnie plays this song in the car with her daughter. She wants to show her she’s actually not mad and both start singing it.
- Let Love Stand a Chance by Charles Bradley Feat. Menahan Street Band. Bonnie and Jane listen to this while they are stretching at Bonnie’s yoga studio.
- What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted by Jimmy Ruffin. Renata is driving again. But this time she has her husband with her inside of her Tesla S. He’s just been released from jail and they start fighting with each other. The music won’t play long.
- Good Thing Gone by Elle King. Madeline is cooking while trying to convince Abigail she needs to go to college. Then Abigail spills the beans about Madeline’s affair with the theater director and Ed, who wasn’t supposed to be home, finds out.
- Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou) by Sufjan Stevens. Musical montage at the end of the episode: Madeline looks at the ocean. Max and Josh spend the afternoon with Ziggy. The song links with The Wonder of You by Conor O’Brien and the final credits.
Big Little Lies’ episode 3 songs
- Keep On Loving You by Cigarettes After Sex. Madeline talks with Abigail, who’s very apologetic about Ed learning about her mother’s affair.
- Bluebird of Happiness by Mojave 3. Jane is taking Ziggy to school while Mary Louise sees them and realizes he’s really Perry’s son.
- Karmacoma by Massive Attack. Renata’s husband is listening to it in his man cave when she interrupts him. She wants him to sell his toys.
- Dreaming My Dreams With You by Cowboy Junkies. The music Celeste is listening to while rewatching a message Perry left for her. Jane hugs Corey. This links with the end credits.
Big Little Lies’ episode 4 songs
- Dreams by POP ETC. Madeline is out of bed early and watches the light of the sunrise against the ocean while drinking coffee. The song also plays during the pumpkin-carving gathering at her place.
- Try Me I Know We Can Make it by Donna Summers. The first song we hear during Amabella’s disco birthday party.
- How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees. Amabella is dancing with a boy during her party. Renata is both happy for her daughter and reconciling with the fact that all her own dreams and accomplishments have vanished after the bankruptcy hearing.
- Lucky by Donna Summer. Bonnie and her mom dance. Mom doesn’t like the energy around her daughter. And Ed doesn’t feel like dancing with Madeline in front of all Monterey.
- Disco Inferno by The Trammps. The Trammps are actually headlining this 8-year-old’s birthday party.
- Jesus is Waiting by Al Green is the song that can be heard at the bar where Celeste and Jane have a drink. Jane wants to confide in her friend and will end up leaving early.
- Why Can’t We Live Together by Jim James. The song that accompanies the credits sequence.
Big Little Lies’ episode 5 songs
- (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Carole King. Madeline is driving Ed and herself to a healing institute for a couple’s workshop, not a swingers convention.
- School by Supertramp. Jane rushes to school because Ziggy and the twins had a fight with another boy. “He said my father was a rapist,” says Ziggy when Jane asks what happened.
- Baby by Donnie & Joe Emerson. Madeline and Ed are back in the car driving home after what turned out to be a hugging workshop. The hugging didn’t help but the conversation they have after does. This will also be the final credits song for the episode.
- A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke. Ed is home cooking (maybe just chopping veggies). Chloe hugs him.
- If You Leave Me Now by Chicago. Bonnie plays this song at her studio in a singing for sleep apnea class. It’s a cash cow.
- It’s a Wonderful Life by Sparklehorse. Jane and Corey kiss. But she starts crying after asking him to touch her.
- Victory Dance by My Morning Jacket. Musical montage: Celeste, the twins, Jane, Ziggy and Corey are kayaking. Madeline drinks wine and thinks about her theater director lover. Ed finds Tori in a bar. Amabella and Renata enjoy the swimming pool. Bonnie goes to the Carmel-by-the-Sea police station and sees Corey.
Big Little Lies’ episode 6 songs
- Rippin Kittin by Golden Boy With Miss Kittin. Jane is driving to Corey’s home. “Are you a cop?” she asks him the moment she sees him.
- Running Up That Hill by Placebo. Ed and Tori talk about infidelities. She mentions her masturbation diary and how he’s always been on her bucket list.
- Until You Came Into My Life by Ann Peebles. Madeline is driving and her conscience is getting the best of her. She’d like to confide in Ed but knows she can’t.
- It’s Over by Roy Orbison. What Mary Louise is listening to when she gets a visit from Jane. Jane wants Mary Louise to drop the case against Celeste. This is also the final credits song for the episode.
- Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Patti Smith. Madeline is having a party with herself. She’s wearing her wedding dress, that doesn’t really fit anymore, and is listening to this song that Ed had picked for their wedding.
- Shake Sugaree by Elizabeth Cotten. Bonnie is at the hospital and remembers the good moments (but also the bad ones) with her mom while she was a child.
Big Little Lies’ episode 7 songs
- Piece of My Heart by Melissa Etheridge. The Janis Joplin cover is the song Chloe and Abigail are listening to while having breakfast and watching Ed boxing. Chloe wants to know if Ed and Madeline are going to divorce. This is also the final credits song.
- Deep Inside of You by Gloria Ann Taylor. Ed is boxing again and Madeline wants to know why Chloe is eating sugary cereal. The girl has connections.
- That Was Yesterday by Leon Bridges. The song that plays while Madeline and Ed decide to renew their vows after a heartfelt conversation.
- Shake Sugaree by Elizabeth Cotten. This is Bonnie’s mom anthem. The song is muffled while her family says goodbye to her.
- Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Willie Nelson and Paula Nelson. Ed and Madeline renew their vows. Mary Louise drives back to San Francisco. Jane dances with Corey. Celeste is with Max, Josh and Ziggy. Renata hugs her daughter. And Bonnie texts Madeline. The song and the season end when the Monterey Five walk into the Carmel-by-the-Sea police station.
Originally published July 16.
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