Warning: Contains spoilers for Yellowjackets episode 2.
The Yellowjackets soundtrack plays a large part in establishing the world and atmosphere for the show with a collection full of well-known songs. With a complex narrative full of intrigue Yellowjackets can be hard at times to follow. This is additionally complicated by the dual stories playing out in both 1996 and 2021, but the songs on the Yellowjackets soundtrack help to make the show less opaque.
Yellowjackets follows a soccer team in 1996 as they prepare to head to a national championship. On the way, their private jet crashes for unknown reasons, and the survivors band together as they struggle to stay alive in the wilderness for 19 months — eventually forming into cannibalistic tribes that wear ritualistic masks. In 2021, some of the survivors are now finding that the secrets they kept from their time in the wilderness risk being exposed, as people pry into the mystery of what happened to the Yellowjackets on the 25-year anniversary of the event.
The background music for the show serves an important purpose as it helps to establish various atmospheres and underscore the emotional tones of the scenes. However, Yellowjackets’ soundtrack also includes songs that are playing within the scenes themselves, put on by the characters and are sometimes sung along to. Especially in the first episode, this helps to establish the flashback sequences as having a true mid-1990s feel with songs by the likes of Salt-N-Pepa and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Here’s every song that appears on the Yellowjackets soundtrack.
Yellowjackets Episode 1, “Pilot”
“Today” – The Smashing Pumpkins: This Smashing Pumpkins’ song from 1993 is the first song to play in Yellowjackets episode 1, coming in as the title card appears and the camera pans over New Jersey after the team discover that they’re going to the national championship. The song fades into the background as Jackie and Jeff fool around in bed and Jackie fakes an orgasm, cutting off abruptly at the end of the scene.
“Supernova” –Liz Phair: Liz Phair’s 1994 “Supernova” is the song that Shauna listens to in the car while she waits for Jackie outside her house.
“Informer” – Snow: “Informer,” Snow’s 1992 single, plays when Jackie ejects the tape from Shauna’s car to listen to the radio instead and continues in the background through the rest of the scene.
“Shoop” –Salt-N-Pepa: As the Yellowjackets prepare for the pep rally in the locker room, the team listen to “Shoop,” the 1993 hit from Salt-N-Pepa and sing and dance to the song.
“Good Vibrations” – Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch: When the Yellowjackets are introduced and run in at the pep rally, the song that plays over it is 1991’s “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch, the short-lived hip hop group fronted by Mark Wahlberg.
“What If…” –Dore Soul: Dore Soul’s song “What If…” from their 1994 release The New Shit plays as Jackie and Shauna get ready for the party in Shauna’s bedroom.
“Let Me Find Out” –POS NEG: As the teens arrive at the keg party in the woods, POS NEG’s “Let Me Find Out” is playing.
“Miss World” – Hole: This 1994 song from the Courtney Love-led band Hole joins the Yellowjackets soundtrack as Natalie takes LSD and the scene cuts to her older self being picked up from rehab by a cab. It continues to play as it transitions to a more upbeat section of the song and goes back to the party as Shauna watches Jeff and Jackie.
“Down By The Water” –PJ Harvey: The 1995 song “Down By The Water” by PJ Harvey plays as Natalie feels the effects of the LSD while staring into the fire and thinks that she sees Misty standing by the woods.
“Never Tear Us Apart” – Paloma Faith: The first anachronistic song to appear in Yellowjackets is Paloma Faith’s “Never Tear Us Apart” which plays over a montage of the morning following the party as the Yellowjackets teen soccer players get ready to leave for the national competition and begin to board the plane.
Yellowjackets Episode 2, “Heart-Shaped Black Box”
“Hold On” – Wilson Phillips: Wilson Phillips’ song “Hold On” plays at two key moments for Misty in Yellowjackets episode 2. First, in Misty’s room in 1992 when she answers the phone and is harassed, and then again towards the end of the episode as Misty and Natalie go on the road together where it appears to be playing on the car stereo. The song continues for the flashback to Misty smashing the plane’s black box in the woods in 1996.
“Mother Mother” – Tracy Bonham: “Mother Mother” is the song that plays after Misty has cut off assistant coach Ben Scott’s (Steven Krueger) leg and continues over the title card for Yellowjackets.
“Medusa” – Noonday Devils: Noonday Devils’ “Medusa” plays in the background of the car scene in Yellowjackets as Misty and Natalie explore possible suspects that might have sent the postcards before they’re approached by Natalie’s old friend Kevyn Tan.
“Kick It” – Peaches, Feat. Iggy Pop: Peaches “Kick It” is the song that is playing when Natalie is drinking in her motel room and eventually calls Travis.
“Glory Box” – Portishead: “Glory Box” by Portishead begins to play as Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) explains that she killed a rabbit for dinner and then connects to 1996. As it continues playing, the surviving Yellowjackets cover up the bodies of the dead in the plane with a banner, Lottie (Courtney Eaton) finds her medicine in her luggage, and the team discusses their survival and plans around the campfire.
Yellowjackets releases new episodes Sundays on Showtime.
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