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Why Umbrella Academy Season 2’s Bizarre Soundtrack is Actually Brilliant

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The Umbrella Academy Netflix

A show’s soundtrack plays an incredibly important role when it comes to storytelling. Even the most casual fans can spot when a soundtrack works and when it doesn’t. And while soundtracks that miss the mark can create cringe-worthy moments even in your favourite TV shows, a show’s soundtrack can also help create iconic and unforgettable moments that will forever be etched into the annals of television show history.

One show that has embodied this is Netflix’s Umbrella Academy. Now on its second season, the show based on the comic book written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, has created many memorable moments through its creative use of music. If you want to know more about how the show does this, read on for a quick discussion on why Umbrella Academy season two’s bizarre soundtrack is actually brilliant!

(Note that this article will contain some spoilers for the second season of Umbrella Academy).

Setting the Tone

If you’ve seen the first season of the show, then you should know that the show has a unique focus on style. I mean, who can forget the iconic dance scene set to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”? However, the show’s song choices go way beyond just style, as there are cases when it’s also used songs and music to set (or in some cases even amplify) the mood of a certain scene. One great example of this is the show’s bold choice of using a Swedish version of Adele’s “Hello” for a Viking funeral. The song choice is particularly brilliant due to the fact that Adele’s “Hello” is one of the most recognisable songs in the world but the show subverts the audience’s expectations by playing an altered version of the song. This subversion, in a sense, increases the song’s impact and makes an already sombre moment even more sombre.

Another great example of a song enhancing the tone of a scene is the fight scene between Five and Lila. The Interruptors’ rendition of the popular pop song swaps out the spacey beats and synthesisers with heavy distortion pedal fuelled rock riffs that give the song a more aggressive and edgier sound that’s perfect for one of the show’s more exciting fight scenes. It also helps that the lyrics also complement the scene rather well, as it involves the ex-time travelling assassin Five and one of the show’s main antagonists.

Part of the Story Itself

The show also uses music as part of the actual plot. One obvious example would be Klaus. Klaus starts a cult by using song lyrics that have yet to be written and passing them off as platitudes. He uses the lyrics of TLC’s iconic song “Waterfalls” as one of the main tenants of his cult, telling his followers “Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to”.

Klaus does this again when he finally decides to abandon his cult, leaving his loyal followers with some final nuggets of wisdom courtesy of the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. These songs helped create some of the most memorable moments of the show and also reveal how intertwined music is to the show’s entire creative process.

If you have seen season 2, we recommend you go back and listen to its bizarre but brilliant soundtrack. For more TV news and features on your favourite shows do check out our other articles.