If you’ve seen HBO’s The Leftovers, now in its second season (Sundays @ 9pm EST), you’ve felt the goosebumps that come along every episode when the perfect song plays over a scene.
It’s in these moments that you wonder who is the person picking these songs and, subsequently, how you can quickly change careers and pick songs for TV shows.
Many critics are in agreement that The Leftovers has the best music on TV right now, led by a chillingly beautiful and precarious score by Max Richter and a newly installed opening credit song in Iris Dement’s “The The Mystery Be” from her 1992 album Infamous Angel (listen in the Playlist below).
If you haven’t experienced this show (“experience” the key word here), The Leftovers is a series from Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), Damon Lindelof (LOST), as well as The Leftover’s author Tom Perotta and Sarah Aubrey. The series also stars Justin Theroux, leading us through a rapture-esque event, where 2% of the world’s population mysteriously disappears. Those who are left (“the leftovers”) must cope and come to grips with what has happened.
The show is dark, depressing, bizarre, and sometimes downright disturbing, which often heightens the accompanying music, which is sometimes intentionally juxtaposing the overall tone (i.e. DeMent’s song in the opening credits has a cheerful, rhythmic strumming pattern, all in major keys, that stands in stark contrast to the often dreary opening scenes).
Whether you become a fan of the show or not, the music alone is worth a listen. We created the playlist below with our favorite, most memorable songs from the show, which we will update as the show moves forward. We hope you hope along for the ride.