Last week, HBO finally unveiled its hotly anticipated Big Little Lies, a heart-pounding prestige drama about a glamorous California town ripped apart by a harrowing murder. Its first two episodes have delivered everything you'd expect from such a big ticket series: A-list cast, scandalous storyline, and stunning coastal views. The network isn't cutting any corners, either, because the show's soundtrack is as fiery as its premise. Just run through the list of songs in Big Little Lies Episode 2, "Serious Mothering," and you'll find a sophisticated mix of soul-steeped gospel, riotous punk, and revved-up, pissed off country. (Spoilers ahead for Sunday's episode, which hit HBO GO and HBO Now early Friday.)
It's a fitting score for such a red-hot who-dun-it. Big
little actors like Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley may be driving the scenes, but the music cranks them up to level 10. Take, for example, Charles Bradley's "Victim of Love," which is played in the premiere episode to introduce Celeste. It foreshadows the chilling abuse she later suffers at the hands of her husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), as if to give viewers an early glimpse at one of the series' many secrets. Pay close attention and you’ll see that much of the Big Little Lies soundtrack is as deliberate as it is evocative. In the meantime, if you want to revisit any of the tunes from Episode 2, here's a rundown.
"Cold Little Heart" by Michael Kiwanuka
Big Little Lies' opening number is the same one that scored its first few trailers: A slow-burning entry courtesy of British powerhouse Michael Kiwanuka.
"What Have You Done, My Brother?" by Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens
This growling blues tune plays in the background of the Mackenzie's kitchen while Madeline is on the phone telling off the guy trying to shut down her play.
"Man In Charge" by Brent Amaker and the Rodeo
Brent Amaker's stomping "Man In Charge" plays on the radio as Madeline drives to meet Celeste at a bar.
"Dance This Mess Around" by the B-52s
The B-52s' angsty post-punk number soundtracks Jane's run.
"River" by Leon Bridges
Record label executive in-the-making Chloe plays this gorgeous Leon Bridges ballad while Ziggy and Amabella dance, and it later closes out the episode's ending credits.
With an official Big Little Lies soundtrack yet to make the rounds, we'll have to wait until next week for more, but at least we can listen to these in the meantime.