The 'Big Littles Lies' Season 2 Soundtrack Is Just As Haunting As The First One
Spoilers for Big Little Lies Season 2 ahead. Life has been different for the Monterey Five since Madeline, Celeste, Jane, Renata, and Bonnie were all involved in Perry's death. But one element that is relatively unchanged is the beautiful (and quite purposeful) Big Little Lies Season 2 soundtrack. Just as in Season 1, the music has been carefully chosen to help tell the story of these five women.
In Season 1, Susan Jacobs served as the music supervisor and told Bustle that her role was to fulfill then-director Jean-Marc Vallée's vision. In Season 2, however, new director Andrea Arnold and Vallée, now acting as an executive producer and editor, curated the music alongside music supervision company Earworm.
The track "Cold Little Heart" by Michael Kiwanuka is still the show's dreamy, ooh-filled theme song, played as the main characters drive their cars beside the crashing waves of the Pacific coast. But there are many other new tunes to discover, as well as familiar songs to attach different feelings to, in the HBO drama's second season.
As you watch Perry's death continue to ripple across Monterey's tight-knit community, here's some of what you'll hear on the Big Little Lies Season 2 soundtrack.
Episode 1 — "What Have They Done?"
- Renata is up to her usual antics as she shows off her immaculately decorated house during a women-in-power photo shoot to "It's My House" by Diana Ross.
- Jane reveals herself to be a Call Me By Your Name fan when she dances on the beach to "Mystery of Love" by Sufjan Stevens.
- Although Perry is dead, his memory lives on when Celeste remembers him to the tune of "Harvest Moon" by Cassandra Wilson — calling back to when they danced to the original Neil Young version in Season 1.
Episode 2 — "Tell-Tale Hearts"
- Even Bonnie and Nathan's daughter Skye notices that things aren't OK with her mom, so Bonnie tries to cheer her up with "Great Big Bundle of Love" by Brenton Wood.
- As her husband Gordon observes, Renata is no longer a fan of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" by Jimmy Ruffin now that he's lost all their money due to his fraud.
- The end credits song, "The Wonder of You" by Conor O'Brien of Villagers, is the same version that Adam Scott's Ed sang during trivia night. And the Elvis Presley cover is used again to heartbreaking perfection when Ed leaves Madeline after learning that she cheated on him last year.
Episode 3 — "The End Of The World"
- Bonnie's mom Elizabeth shares a sweet moment with her granddaughter when they sing the folk song "Shake Sugaree" by Elizabeth Cotten and Brenda Evans. It's particularly fitting since Evans is Cotten's great-granddaughter. But while Bonnie seems to be doing better this episode, this multigenerational sing-along may hide some darkness as she remembers her mom pushing her underwater in the pool as a child.
- An ambient cover of REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You" by Cigarettes After Sex plays as Madeline and Abigail discuss whether Ed is going to leave her or not. Maybe this song is a promising sign for Madeline's marriage.
- The cover of Waylon Jennings' "Dreaming My Dreams with You" by Cowboy Junkies playing in the end credits just reinforces how far Celeste is from being over Perry.
Episode 4 — "She Knows"
- Amabella's disco party features a ton of '70s classics, like "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees, which was also notably featured on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
- Just as things come to a boil during the episode with Mary Louise seeking custody of Celeste's kids, the dance floor at Amabella's party gets hot too, thanks to "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps. Because even though Renata has to file for bankruptcy, she still splurged on hiring the real band with founding member Earl Young.
- The '70s-era music continues the entire episode with a cover of Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" by Jim James of My Morning Jacket during the end credits. It may be familiar to Drake fans since the rapper sampled the song on "Hotline Bling," but you might have been too distracted by Elizabeth's vision in the hospital of Bonnie drowning to make that connection.
Episode 5 — "Kill Me"
- Madeline listens to "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Carole King in the car with Ed on the way to their couples retreat. Aretha Franklin made the song a hit, but King co-wrote the lyrics, which resonate with Madeline when it comes to her relationship with Ed — even if Ed is unimpressed with his estranged wife's rendition.
- Some levity is added to Bonnie's storyline when she plays "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago during her sleep apnea class. But the feel-good vibes the '70s ballad provide don't last long when Elizabeth asks Bonnie to kill her.
- Jim James lends his voice to the Big Little Lies soundtrack again when "Victory Dance" by My Morning Jacket plays during the montage at the end. The final scenes include some big cliffhangers with Ed being seduced by Tori Bachman (while her husband and Madeline's ex-lover Joseph watches) and Bonnie learning that Corey, who Jane tried to be intimate with earlier in the episode, may be an undercover cop.
Episode 6 — "The Bad Mother"
- Jane angrily kicks off the episode by listening to "Rippin Kittin" by Golden Boy with Miss Kittin as she drives to confront Corey about if he's a cop. Turns out, he was just brought in for questioning, but that doesn't ease Jane's concerns and she ends things with him.
- Madeline is working overtime to get Ed to trust her, including dancing in her wedding dress to "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" by Patti Smith. Ed had picked the Tears for Fears cover as a song to play at their wedding and while he's temporarily smitten, he did secretly meet up with Tori Bachman earlier.
- The penultimate episode provides insight into Mary Louise's taste when "It's Over" by Roy Orbison plays at her place. Jane is dealing with her second confrontation of the episode when she goes over to yell at her new neighbor/Ziggy's paternal grandmother for trying to take custody of Celeste's sons. And the song plays again during the end credits just as the judge bangs her gavel, emphasizing the impending showdown between Celeste and Mary Louise in court for the Season 2 finale.
Episode 7 — "I Want To Know"
- Ed listens to "Piece of My Heart" by Melissa Etheridge for his new workout routine. And rather than Ed listening to it in anger because of Madeline's betrayal, he ends up giving a piece of his heart back to her when they renew their vows. The Janis Joplin cover also plays during the end credits.
- "Shake Sugaree" by Elizabeth Cotten and Brenda Evans has been linked to Bonnie and Elizabeth throughout the season. After "The End Of The World," it was featured in "The Bad Mother" as well. But as the song plays quietly in the Season 2 finale, it takes on a new meaning for Bonnie since she made peace with her mom before she passed away.
- When the Monterey Five unite to go and confess to the police that they lied about Perry being pushed, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" by Willie Nelson and Paula Nelson plays. The Creedence Clearwater Revival cover by the father-daughter team is appropriate, as the relationship between parents and children is at the core of Big Little Lies.
Whether or not there will be a Season 3 of Big Little Lies is unclear right now. But if there is another season, one thing's for sure: the soundtrack will be just as impressive and moving as the cast's performances.