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A Guide to the Music in Westworld

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HBO’s Westworld was one of the most talked-about TV series of 2016. And while we know most of you were there for the intrigue and hot robot sex, the show’s soundtrack was undeniable. Using the clever platform of the Old West environment’s saloon piano, listeners with a keen ear may have recognized some of their favorite songs interpreted as new instrumental versions. Here is the complete list of popular songs re-imagined for the show – don’t worry, no spoilers ahead.

1. Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” 

The alt-rock anthem is already dripping with ominous dread. A perfect tune to kick things off in Episode 1.

2. The Rolling Stones “Paint It, Black” 

Even the original version of this classic rock song sounds like it could be the perfect soundtrack to some gunslinging showdown.

3. Johnny Cash “Ain’t No Grave” 

Considering there literally is no real grave for most of the hosts in ‘Westworld,’ this song by the country legend feels especially appropriate.

4. Radiohead “No Surprises” 

The first of a handful of songs by the critically acclaimed British rock band, Radiohead’s “No Surprises” marks another clever play on words as it relates to the internal mechanics of the ‘Westworld’ park. There aren’t supposed to be any surprises in this place, but…well, it wouldn’t be much of a show if something didn’t go wrong, eh?

5. The Cure “A Forest” 

“A Forest” isn’t necessarily the most well-known or popular song by The Cure, but that didn’t prevent the show from including it in Episode 4 – proof that the show’s producers weren’t just looking for hits but songs that thematically or sonically helped the story.

6. Nine Inch Nails “Something I Can Never Have” 

Again, we’re not here to spoil any moments of the show here. But even if you discount the eye-bulging debauchery that takes place in the scene that this NIN song appears in, there’s a general sad irony that you can attach to the song’s title and how it corresponds with whatever desires are driving the park guests who are willing to pay a pretty penny for a surreal dose of escapism.

7. Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees” 

In hindsight, it seems like there’s a strong argument to be made that Radiohead were making songs for the explicit intent of getting them licensed in movies and television back in the ’90s.

8. Radiohead “Motion Picture Soundtrack” 

See what I mean?

9. Coldplay “Yellow” 

And sometimes when you are on a really big Radiohead kick and your supervisor tells you to tone it down, you can still satisfy that itch by sneaking in some early Coldplay.

10. The Animals “House of the Rising Sun”

Probably the closest in aesthetic to the western vibe of the show, the classic song (made most popular by The Animals) pops up to signify the ultimate in bad-ass-iveness.

11. Amy Winehouse “Back To Black” 

Despite being a show about allegedly emotionless beings, there are a lot of broken hearts and forlorn lovers floating around ‘Westworld.’ Which makes Winehouse’s ultimate anthem of lost love a great pick.

12. Radiohead “Exit Music (For A Film)” 

Never mind the fact that this song was just used this year on ‘Black Mirror.’ Never mind that it is sort of the obvious choice for a show that had already used three other Radiohead songs throughout the season. This is the ultimate musical choice for when you want to provide the soundtrack for some ultimate mayhem. Errr…not that we’re saying that’s what happens at the end of ‘Westworld.’ Look, if you made it this far you should probably just watch the show.

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