Westworld season 3 has come a long way from the player piano at the Mariposa Saloon.
The first season of HBO’s sci-fi series featured haunting Western piano covers of modern hits like Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.” Then in Westworld Season 2, the show brought more of the same energetic saloon piano with Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” and Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” joining the fray.
Now Westworld season 3 has entered the real world and left the piano covers behind in favor of the real thing. While the energetic first trailer did feature a “Sweet Child O’ Mine” piano cover, Westworld season 3 episode 1 opted for the full versions of several very good, very appropriate songs. Death Grip’s “Bubbles Buried in This Jungle” and Pulp’s “Common People” are the highlights – effectively scoring two very different scenes in “Parce Domine.
And it stands to reason that Westworld season 3 is going to keep up its superb diegetic soundtrack, whether the songs come through a player piano or through someone in nu-Los Angeles’s headphones. Here is a Spotify playlist of every song that’s popped up in the third season of Westworld thus far, along with some composer originals that have re-occurred.
Djawadi was working on Person of Interest with Jonah Nolan when Nolan pulled him aside and asked if he would be interested in doing the music for a project he was developing: Westworld. Djawadi was immediately interested as the Westworld movie had been one of his favorites growing up, and didn’t wait to get started on crafting a sound for the science fiction western…
“I started writing music for it very, very early on, which most of the time I don’t do. Usually I come in towards the end during post-production when the episodes or the movie are already shot, and I get to see visuals. But this one I started writing just based on the conversations with Jonah. Then he started giving me scripts, and from that I started writing more. It was great just having that back and forth with him before there were even any visuals.”
The Westworld soundtrack quickly became partially defined by its minimalist piano covers of modern pop songs. For Djawadi, those moments are a “subtle reminder that, ‘Wait, there is something not right. This is not real.’ It’s just such a powerful tool that only music can do.”
Here are the featured piano songs and their original cousins for Westworld season 2.
And here are the featured songs for Westworld season 1.