The Last Of Us Is Bringing The Bops
Did the dystopian drama introduce the next "Running Up That Hill"?
When The Last of Us, the video game, arrived in 2013, it took gamers by storm. The post-apocalyptic tale of Joel (the main player) trying to get Ellie west to see if her DNA can be used to create a vaccine against a deadly fungal infection turning humans into zombies was beautifully designed and well written. It also had an iconic soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla, and for The Last of Us’ Season 1 soundtrack, HBO hired Santaolalla back to recreate the aural world of the video game for TV.
In any adaptation for TV, there are changes between the source material and the show. However, video games are already a televisual medium, sometimes making it harder for those adapting to change things without some fan complaint. However, the musical decisions the series has made so far have been a hit. By flashing back to 2003, when the infection first took hold, the series was able to bring in songs from the early aughts, grounding the series in the sense of the real the video game never had available to it.
The series also added more details to the world of Bill and Frank, foreshadowing Joel and Ellie’s trip to their ranch. The premiere episode explained there’s a code: 1960s pop tunes mean nothing new for trade, whereas 1970s songs mean new inventory. Anything from the 1980s implies danger. Ellie notes Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” played earlier.
The danger had not passed either, as the show closed with the radio playing another haunting tune from the era: Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down.” Like with Stranger Things 4’s effect on Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” a nearly 40-year-old song has now shot the song up the charts, with streams of “Never Let Me Down” tripling overnight after the series premiere debuted.
Here are all the songs from HBO’s The Last of Us, episode by episode.
The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 1: “When You’re Lost in the Darkness”
- “The Last of Us (Main Title Theme)” by Gustavo Santaolalla
- “Tomorrow” by Avril Lavigne
- “White Flag” by Dido
- “Chonophobia” by New Oblivion
- “I Can’t Believe You’re Back” by Jad Mhanna, Roy Abdallah & Carole Aoun
- “Never Let Me Down Again” by Depeche Mode
The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 2: “Infected”
- “Hampa” by Ari Lasso
- “Allowed to be Happy” by Gustavo Santaolalla
The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 3: “Long Long Time”
- “I’m Coming Home to Stay” by Fleetwood Mac
- “White Room” by Cream
- “Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt (performed by Nick Offerman & Murray Bartlett)
- “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter
- “Chains of Love” by Erasure
- “Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt
This list will update weekly as the series progresses. The Last of Us continues with new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.
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