If you're going to have a romance between a music publicist and a man in love with his own great taste, you're going to need a killer soundtrack. Fortunately for fans of You're the Worst, creator Stephen Falk and music supervisor Tiffany Anders have a sharp ear for the sort of fuzzy indie rock and naughty hip-hop that adorable narcissists Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere) and Gretchen Cutler would have on their playlists and make fun of you for not knowing.
Falk's anti rom-com understands the role that music plays in the elegantly wasted lives of restless types like Gretchen and Jimmy, and he's often used music to comment on the emotional journeys his characters are trudging through. Throughout its five-year run, You're the Worst has found room for guest appearances by alt-rock icons, dramatic karaoke moments and plenty of deliriously raunchy rap songs. In honor of the upcoming series finale—which will no-doubt have its own iconic musical moments, we've broken down some of the best musical moments in the show's run.
TV On the Radio's "Will Do"
At the end of the first episode, Gretchen and Jimmy have already proved they have good...chemistry. But they're both convinced they're too cool for anything as conventional and lame as a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, until they realize they both really like each other. The Brooklyn band TV On The Radio's "Will Do," a pleading ballad about a love so powerful it's terrifying, plays as the couple decides to give things a shot.
Lindsay Sings Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work"
Episode: "Fists and Feet and Stuff"
In the final episode of the first season, all four of the main characters find themselves at emotional crossroads, but none more than Gretchen's best friend Lindsay Jillian, who gets dumped by her husband Paul. (The dumping won't exactly take.) Feeling regret (or as much regret as she is capable of) for how she cheated on him, and also maybe feeling bad that she ruined her sister's party, Lindsay purges her demons by singing Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work," and actress Kether Donohue serves up a very convincing imitation of the English singer-songwriter's theatrical voice.
The LCD Soundsystem Name-Check and This Is the Kit's "Misunderstanding"
Episode: "LCD Soundsystem"
No songs by LCD Soundsystem are played in the episode named for the Brooklyn art-rock band, but their presence is felt nevertheless. LCD frontman James Murphy made his name writing painfully funny and painfully sad songs about trying to hold on to your ideals as you grow old and not lose what makes you special, which is also one of the main underlying themes of You're the Worst. In this episode, Gretchen tries to fight off her increasingly depressed state by obsessing over a seemingly perfect married couple who appear to have found bliss without becoming lame, and who ask her if she listens to the titular band. When she later learns what a creep the husband is, Gretchen's depression worsens as This Is the Kit's heartbroken balled "Misunderstanding" plays the episode out.
Ben Folds Plays Himself
Episode: "The Only Thing That Helps"
Gretchen branches out a bit, taking on alternative rock hitmaker Ben Folds as a client. He'll go on to be a bit of a recurring character, and Folds proves himself to be a good sport up for some self-mockery. For example: faking a paparazzi moment to look cool and then needlessly reminding everyone he wrote "Brick," in this episode, and later enthusiastically rapping an acapella version of Sam's hit "P--y On Swole."
Lindsay and Sam Lay Down "New Phone, Who Dis"
Episode: "A Right Proper Story"
The rap trio of Sam (Brandon Mychal Smith), Shitstain (Darrell Britt-Gibson) and Honeynutz (Allen Maldonado) are Gretchen's main clients, and also one of her main headaches, especially after they temporarily break-up. After her attempt at group therapy fails to end their feud, Sam recruits Lindsay to sing the hook on his diss track "New Phone, Who Dis," a petty ode to pretending you don't recognize someone. It's not exactly his best work (he's been blocked creatively by the feud and can't up with better insults for his friends than "doo-doo head") and Sam gets clowned for it an episode later, but Lindsay's chorus gets stuck in your head anyway.
Starlight Tidepool Takes the Edge Off
While it can be debated who the worst person is on You're the Worst, Iraq War veteran Edgar Quintero (Desmin Borges) is easily the best. He's sweet and loyal to a fault, but there are demons. "Twenty-Two" gets us inside his head as his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms increase to the point where he feels constantly, miserably on high alert. To soothe his nerves, Edgar repeatedly plays "Something Like a Feeling (That Feels So Right)," a 70's style soft-rock ballad written by Falk and the show's composer Adam Blau (and credited to the fictitious band Starlight Tidepool) that's sweet and gentle enough to offer momentary solace.
Gretchen and Jimmy Love The ‘90s
Episode: "It's Been"
Jimmy and Gretchen pride themselves on being cooler than thou. But we all have our guilty pleasures, and when the couple separate, they both seek inebriated solace in the sort of disreputable but catchy '90s one-hit wonders they would both normally mock, with Jimmy drunkenly belting out Meredith Brooks' "Bitch" at a bar, and Gretchen going in on Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" during a moment of distress. (It's impressive that, even after smoking crack, she remembers all the words in the rap part, even the bits about LeAnn Rimes and Busta Rhymes.)
Nock Nock, Who's There?
Episode: "This Brief Fermata"
If Sam and his crew seemed modeled after the L.A. collective Odd Future, then Nock Nock (played with sleazy charm by guest star Lou Taylor Pucci) seemed modeled on SoundCloud-based rappers such as Lil Peep and Lil Uzi Vert, right down to the face tattoos and tendency to mumble more than rap. It's an extremely perceptive joke than aging hipsters like Jimmy and Gretchen aren't even sure if Nock Nock is any good or not, though Gretchen signs him and hooks him up with Sam anyway, only for Sam to worry he'll get overshadowed.
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