THE END OF THE F****** WORLD TOP 10 SIGNIFICANT TRACKS

What’s better than discovering a new Netflix series, that you can binge watch all-day on your days off? Especially one that has an unofficial soundtrack of 48 stunning tracks. Nothing, that’s right, nothing compares. *Sinead o’Conor pun intended.* Recently, Netflix added a new thrilling TV series to their collection, that includes a collection of songs which have an overarching appreciation for peace and love, each track is sombre, yet, echoes a youthful and pleasant touch. 

The End of the F****** World, stars 22 year-old Alex Lawther and 25 year-old, Jessica Barden as the two protagonists. It’s an unusual love story between the two actors and includes a great soundtrack. Within this feature I will be highlighting ten of the most significant tracks from this playlist and explaining the connotations each track has in correlation to the scenes they are featured in.

Series one, episode one opens with a mid-long-shot of James {Alex Lawther} stiffly walking to college. The first track we get introduced to is the beautiful voice of Bernadette Carroll, with ‘Laughing on The Outside.’ A deceitful piece that from afar sounds like a peaceful love song, but strikes a controversial tone as it highlights the dark and sad reality of self conflict. A great song which represents a similar reflection of the character of James, a young, 17 year-old who is particularly shy and naive, however identifies as a psychopath.

The choice of music throughout the series feels like nostalgic soul and jazz and fits perfectly with the aesthetics of the show. In which we have  Jonathan Entwistle to thank for that. Although the storyline of the show is about the twisted love story of two strong-minded teenagers, the scenarios highlighted within are a lot darker than what you would expect of what appears to be a, ‘teenage,’ inspired show. Director, Entwistle tells Billboard, “We made an adult show about teenagers,” he says. “The dawn of teenagers was the ‘50s and because we were playing that whole creepy, suburban thing, I automatically went to a ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s doo-wop thing. I think that’s the saddest music in the world.”

The second most significant song within this playlist would be ‘Angry Me,’ by Graham Coxton. The scene that this track is played in is the very moment the two young adults first meet. It’s the point in which Alyssa has argued with her friends and is walking over to James to, ‘compliment,’ him on his skating. The significance of the first two tracks is that both are supposedly songs that James is listening to through his headphones, on the two occasions James takes his earphones off you hear both ‘Laughing on The Outside,’ and ‘Angry Me.’ Creating a connection between the characters and the music, rather than the music being something only the audience can relate to.

Never Fall In Love Again,’  is played at the scene of Alyssa and James’ first kiss. There’s an obvious innocence and naivety to this song. Although this song express purity and true love, at no point do you feel as though their love is real. In fact, the irony of this track in correlation to this scene is that there is nothing loveable about their relationship.

‘At 17,’ by Janis Ian. This track is played during the scene where Alyssa and her stepdad are talking in the kitchen. This scene gives you a glimpse into the life of Alyssa, a girl who has family issues and struggles to feel wanted or like she belongs anywhere. The song correlates well in the sense of understanding that, at that point in her life, she knew she wasn’t like most other girls and that as you grow older and mature you’re often put into situations you didn’t feel as though you could ever find yourself in. ‘At 17,’ encourages the idea of growth, realisation of adulthood and the adult world, realising the difference between your lifestyle and perhaps others around you. The soft and angelic voice of Janice Ian creates a very pure atmosphere for this scene.

‘Superboy and Supergirl,’ is a twee, pop track released in 1996 by Tullycraft. The song ratifies empowerment, liberty, and change. It’s a fantastic track and is presented in the scene in which James punches his Dad in the face and proceeds to steal his car. It’s the point where the two teenagers are about to leave everything behind and finally start their own life in their own world. Try thinking back to when you were 17, you were all naive, especially if you were in a relationship, it was easy to have an, ‘us against the world,’ attitude and, ‘Superboy and Supergirl,’ explores this ideology perfectly, especially in correspondence to the scene.

‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire,’ by Hank Williams. Entwistle places this track in the third episode, during the scene where Alyssa and James break into a strangers home and are dancing along to the owners vinyl. You see a completely different side to the teenagers relationship, you see that it is sincere, soft and youthful. Whilst, sensing that at this stage of their journey and their relationship, something can only go wrong. The fact Entwistle chose to use Hank Williams, ‘Settin’ the Woods on Fire,’ is interesting, you’d think that he would have used it in the second episode when James accidentally crashes his dad’s car and sets it alight. I think Entwistle’s take on this TV show is that he didn’t want the music to be predictable, or easy to understand. Rather he wanted to strike controversy, make us as viewers think of the associations surrounded by each and every song choice, rather than seeing it as a black and white, simplistic notion to follow, there are hidden meanings within each song choice and that’s the beauty of this playlist.

‘I’m Sorry,’ by Brenda Williams is a soulful and easy listening track, the smooth percussion of her vocals sets the scene so well. ‘I’m Sorry,’ is highlighted in one of the most important scenes in the series. The scene of the murder, *input dramatic music here.* The effect of playing such a soft and elegant song, during this scene is incredible. You’d think that during a scene such as this, Entwistle would have chosen a song that encapsulates a completely different narrative. You’d imagine, with a violent scene there’d be an upbeat or adrenaline rush type of song. ‘I’m Sorry,’ a subtle, slow paced track, which strangely, has an incredibly overpowering affect on the scene.

The eighth most significant track which I have chosen for this feature, is ‘Smile,’ by Timi Yuro. Smile is a pure, endearing track which coveys heartfelt lyrics, the overarching view point to this track is that even if something may go wrong, keep your head up, smile and figure your way out of it. Entwistle plays this track just at the end of murder scene when the kids are trying to get rid of their traces in the house and exposing the murdered mans sick truths. As James discovers a dark and displeasing truth about him. If you were to look at the undertones of Yuro’s song ‘Smile,’ you’d see the sweet irony of how Entwistle has included a song about smiling during a crime scene. But there is much more to it than that.

One of the beautiful aspects of this playlist is that Entwistle has thought carefully about every single track and has placed each one in unusual scenes.  But as you look further into the detail, you understand the significance. The use of older and more nostalgic music was certainly a good decision to make, since it’s had such a powerful affect on the show altogether.

 ‘Oh Daddy,’ by Fleetwood Mac. You get to hear a snippet of this track during the scene where Alyssa and James go to the pub with her Dad. This song is a sweet and innocent track which encapsulates the love Alyssa has for her father and the long, lost connection that she had with him. It’s at this point, in episode seven do you begin to feel positive about their journey and Alyssa’s relationship with her Dad.  ‘Oh Daddy,’ is a soft rock, alternative, blues track that portrays a soothing and emotional story.

The End of The World,’ by Julie London. The tenth most significant track on my list. There are a few reasons as to why I would label this as my most significant track out of them all, one in which being because the name of the song is the name of the show, and is also the last song to be played. There are only two tracks played throughout the whole of the last episode. ‘The End of The World,’ is the final track you hear. It sets a great ending, and is a nice round off to the whole show. It makes you think, did Entwistle base the series on this track title or did he base the series on the idea of naivety and the fact that within just a split second, James and Alyssa had managed to screw up their lives? This can be interpreted in many ways, and that’s what I love so much about this show and the tracks chosen throughout.

Take a listen to the full soundtrack below: