It’s hard for a television show to be great without careful attention to music. Smart music supervision is kind of like the Astroglide (I’m sorry) of great TV, guiding the viewer in and out of scenes (I’m actually really sorry for this metaphor) with ease and panache.
What is Insecure without braggadocious rap interludes or the rich pulse of R&B? Or Succession without sweeping orchestral strings and a Big Showbiz™ score?
(By the way, the Insecure season 2 soundtrack is actually absurd. It’s an elite collection of r&b and hip-hop and rap that I go back to all the time. I’m pasting it below.)
The most recent meshing of music and screen that I’ve encountered and enjoyed has been on HBO’s Industry.
Following recent graduates through the harrowing initial months of work at fictitious bank Pierpoint in London, the show lives off of slutty adrenaline rushes, dramatic power plays and frantic mood swings. The show is one part corporate venom, one part horny and one part cocaine. After every episode on my binge, I felt extremely manic and had to either keep watching (hair of the dog…) or, like, cold-email people for networking opps (not something I enjoy doing usually).
A huge factor in why the show works so well, conveying such a volatile workplace and culture of avoiding burnout by going on a bender on a Tuesday night, is the music. Think exuberant house, fucked-up 5 AM techno, glitch-y genre-less gore and sobering pop/r&b.
Nathan Micay is in charge of music for Industry, and I just want to hold some space to thank him for his work on this show. Some of his own music is woven into the show, too, which is really cool. The surreal highs of party scenes, the fraught, tense moments within the pressure-cooker office, the crushing lows through each main character’s story arcs– these would not have the gut-punch emphasis that they have without the music.
So, thanks, Nathan! Seriously, amazing job. Everyone should watch Industry, it’s addicting and awful and amazing all at once. In the meantime, I urge you to put the show’s playlist on. Whether you have a shit ton of work to do or you just want to inject some mania into your day, this one’s for you.