The Episode 5 Songs In 'Big Little Lies' Score The Show's Dark Tone
If you're not watching Big Little Lies on HBO, you're missing out. Seriously, this show is so addictive that even if you know the answer to the show's ongoing murder mystery (like I do), the show still has lots of surprises in store, including what could be a few changes from the original storyline in Lynn Moriarty's 2014 book. And for anyone who's as invested in this show as I am, the Big Little Lies soundtrack is half the reason to watch every episode. The songs in Big Little Lies' Episode 5, "Once Bitten" — marking that we're more than halfway through the miniseries, now — had a little less music than usual.
The first fifteen minutes were almost music-free, without even original instrumentals as a backdrop. It echoed how the characters were thrown into silence with the shocking events that happened during the beginning of the episode, from the car crash shown from the point of view of Madeline right in the passenger seat, to the tense moment when Renata realizes that Amabella is still being bullied by one of her classmates. But as emotions continued to rise, so did the volume on the soundtrack of the episode.
Silver Trembling Hands, The Flaming Lips
The show alternated between the opening to this song and what sounds like some original piano to alternate between Madeline's rage and the serene views of Monterey. The same song pops up again when Madeline is rejected at the hospital — it clearly represents all of her repression throughout the hour.
Hands Around My Throat, Death In Vegas
Again, there's a limited snippet of instrumentals as Jane's run is interrupted by the news that Ziggy is once again in trouble, the music also interrupted when she hurls her phone into the sand with frustration.
Nothing Arrived, By Villagers
While Madeline tries to explain why exactly she was sitting in a car with her co-director of Avenue Q without revealing that she's (kind of) having an affair with him.
Straight From the Heart, By Irma Thomas
Yet another plaintive love song Celeste listens to while wistfully thinking about her complicated, abusive relationship.
This Feeling, By Alabama Shakes
As Madeline reflects on her short-lived fling with Justin and the support she's gotten from Ed, she listens to the rare song that Chloe doesn't pick out for her. And like all characters on this show, she spends most of her reverie sipping a hot beverage in front of a beach view.
Rippin Kittin, By Golden Boy With Miss Kittin
Jane's road trip to find Saxon Banks is scored by this electronic track.
Ball & Chain, By Janis Joplin
And as Jane and Celeste both struggle with the information they learned from their trips to visit Banks and the therapist, respectively, this song takes the episode into the credits. And while I believe the version used in Big Little Lies was the studio version recorded by Big Brother & the Holding Company, I just had to put this Monterey Pop Festival performance, because not only is it even more raw and emotional, befitting the ending to the episode leaving things on somewhat of a cliffhanger, the show is also set in the very same Monterey. And given the attention Big Little Lies pays to its soundtrack in every episode, I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence.