‘Normal People’ soundtrack: all the songs played on Sally Rooney’s hit drama

Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People is one of the most-loved books of recent times. It’s hardly surprising then, that some people wondered if a TV adaptation could ever do justice to the written work.

Set in rural Ireland, and then Dublin, the series follows Connell and Marianne, who meet at school before falling in and out of love over a number of years. It’s a beautiful, visually arresting watch that will make you cry, laugh and beg for more. But the show’s brilliance isn’t just confined to the pictures on screen, it’s also in the perfectly curated soundtrack.

There’s a string of instrumental, atmospheric tracks that make up for the lack of original score – ‘Klangfall’ by Joep Beving places a mournful piano melody underneath one of the series’ most painful sequences, while ‘If You Stuff It All Down Deep Inside’ lends an ethereal mood to scenes of everyday mundanity.

The show’s penchant for acoustic tracks risks veering towards generic “Sad Indie” Spotify playlists, curated for trendy coffee shops and overbearing high street brand campaigns. Covers of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and ‘Make You Feel My Love’ deserve a raised eyebrow, while ‘Berlin’ by RY X almost loses credibility when taken out of context – but it’s thankfully brought back to life through an emotional scene for Marianne, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones.

Normal People soundtrack
Connell and Marianne often struggle to communicate in ‘Normal People’. Credit: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe

What makes the music feel so urgent is the peppering of throwback tracks, undisguised and unapologetic for their pre-earned reputation, now repurposed. Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide and Seek’ might be mocked for its previous life on The OC and an old joke from Saturday Night Live, but in Normal People it unlocks the key to understanding Marianne and Connell’s.

Elliott Smith, Yazoo, Nick Drake and more seminal artists are used tastefully as end credits music. But Normal People remains a very contemporary story – which is acknowledged via bursts of familiar bangers from Carly Rae Jepsen and Selena Gomez that perfectly communicate the rushes of adrenaline Connell and Marianne experience in each other’s company.

It’s not a strict jukebox romance, pinning emotions on songs instead of performances, or sacrificing body language for catchy melodies. Instead, the music is blended into the story, illustrating feelings and expectations with brave poignancy rather than substituting them. The audience already knows Marianne and Connell through their rich inner lives – the music just lets us better connect with the world they inhabit.

Normal People soundtrack
The story of ‘Normal People’ takes place over years of school and university. Credit: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe

Full tracklist from Normal People below:

‘Warped Window’ – Anna Mieke

‘Did It To Myself’ – Orla Gartland

‘Hide and Seek’ – Imogen Heap

‘Horn’ – Nick Drake

‘Angeles’ – Elliott Smith

‘Hey Now’ (Arty Remix) – London Grammar

‘Only You’ – Yazoo

‘Locked In’ – The Lock-In

‘Drop’ – Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions

‘Undertow’ – Lisa Hannigan

‘La Lune’ – Billie Marten

‘Skate’ – Tycho, Saint Sinner

‘Make You Feel My Love’ – One Brun

‘Too Much’ – Carly Rae Jepsen

‘We Played Some Open Chords And Rejoiced, for the Earth Had Circled the Sun Yet Another Year’ – A Winged Victory for the Sullen

‘Metroma’ – The Sei

‘Dandelion’ – Jealous of the Birds

‘Rare’ – Selena Gomez

’99 Luftballons’ – Nena

‘Berlin’ – RY X

‘Scene Suspended’ – Jon Hopkins

‘Everything I Am Is Yours’ – Villagers

‘Strange Weather’ – Anna Calvi, David Byrne

‘Dogwood Blossom’ – Fionn Regan

‘Sometimes’ – Goldmund

‘If You Stuff It All Down Deep Inside’ – Department of Forever

‘Hate Dah’ – Super Silly

‘Dear SJ’ – Alex Gough

‘Never Ending Circles’ – CHVRCHES

‘Maybe’ – SOAK

‘Gimme Life’ – TNAN, Viktoria Liv

‘I Know’ – August Roads

‘I Never Got Off The Bus’ – Tebi Rex, Local Boy

‘Alone’ – 7th Obi

‘Deep Blue’ – Mango X MathMan

‘You and I’ – Caribou

‘Tell Me So’ – Herb Johnson

‘Highs and Lows’ – August Roads

‘Dance 4 Sorrow’ – Francis Lung

‘Go Wild’ – Friedberg

‘Nikes’ –  Frank Ocean

‘Hazeldene’ – Royal Yellow

‘I’m Happy Without You’ – Ann Byers

‘Smoke’ – Gia Margaret

‘It’s Alright’ – delush, Strange Boy

‘It’s Okay With Me’ – Broadway Express

‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – Nerina Pallot

‘Old Bear’ – Cloth

‘Klangfall’ (piano version) – Joep Beving

‘Groovy Train’ – The Farm

‘Cannibal Tree’ – Yenkee

‘Good Times’ – Ellie Mae Rose

‘Breathe’ – CamelPhat, Christoph, Jem Cooke

‘The Subterranean Heart’ – Mount Alaska

‘No Such Thing’ – Yumi And The Weather

‘Can’t Move On’ – Wild Youth

The post ‘Normal People’ soundtrack: all the songs played on Sally Rooney’s hit drama appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.


Leave a comment