The HBO series "Big Little Lies" is an incredibly acted, beautifully scored, and captivating story about three mothers whose seemingly perfect lives twist and turn to an inevitable downfall. Whose downfall, you may ask? Watch the series to find out. The three main women are played by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. But the real star of this show is the soundtrack. It's my dream to have Madeline's daughter, Chloe, make a playlist for me. Since that is impossible, I'll just make one myself and share it with you. Here are ten amazing songs from the show and the scenes that make them so amazing.
1. "Cold Little Heart"
This is the theme music to the series by Michael Kiwanuka. The title sequence is a little long, but I don't mind because I get to listen to this song. There is a dark passion to this song that fits this show so well. It's sultry and dangerous with a slow beat and raspy lyrics.
2. "Dance This Mess Around"
This is a killer song by The B-52's. It plays in the second episode, "Serious Mothering." Jane (Shailene Woodley), dances in a visible rage while listening to this song. The juxtaposition of an upbeat song with yelled lyrics and Jane dancing angrily exemplifies one of the major themes of this show. Menace and joy, rage and peace, they go hand in hand.
This song by Leon Bridges plays in episode two, as well. Chloe (Darby Camp) plays this song to encourage her friends Ziggy (Iain Armitage) and Amabella (Ivy George) to dance. Chloe even says it herself, how could anyone listen to this song and not want to make up? It's enthralling and devastating and just plain beautiful.
4. "Pocketful of Rainbows"
A lesser known Elvis song plays in episode four, "Push Comes to Shove." After Ed (Adam Scott) dresses up as Elvis for his wife, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), in preparation for the gala fundraiser, Chloe asks him to sing this song. For such a lovey-dovey song, the lyrics are quite melancholy. Foreshadowing? Maybe, maybe not.
5. "Super Rich Kids"
From episode one, "Somebody's Dead," this Frank Ocean track could not fit these characters any better. While Madeline's teenage daughter, Abigail (Kathryn Newton), and her friends text and drive their way to school, this song blares from the windows. In a perfect town with perfect homes and perfect families, not everyone is as perfect as they seem.
6. "White Rabbit"
This song by Jefferson Airplane plays in episode four. It's a strange song for Jane's son, Ziggy, to know every word to as they sing in the car after a day of fun. Do the opening lyrics mean something more? "One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small. And the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all." A little haunting.
7. "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole"
If this song title by Martha Wainwright doesn't tell you enough, this song plays in episode one. Jane goes out running and imagines herself going straight off a cliff without hesitation. Her emotional breakdown relates not only to her and whatever happened to her in the past, but also Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and her emotional trauma. Maybe it all connects.
8. "Victim of Love"
This song by Charles Bradley is Celeste's theme song. It plays in episode one while Celeste is introduced as a character. While we don't know yet what her secrets are, she can't be nearly as perfect as everyone around her proclaims her to be. When her husband is revealed as abusive, this song makes complete sense.
The music plays a big role in this series, but in order to get the full effect, you have to watch every episode in its entirety. Season one is available to watch on HBO and Amazon. To get a feel for the series without needing an HBO or Amazon account, the original book by Liane Moriarty is just as good.