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Sharp Objects: The Director on the Score by Led Zeppelin and More #playlist

Camille (Amy Adams) & room-mate Alice (Sydney Sweeney)  bond over music in Sharp Objects

Initially, I was disappointed that Sharp Objects didn’t have theme music, one identifiable track that would bring the vibe of the show to mind. Cue the music for Big Little Lies or True Detective and you know what I mean. Music that both haunts you and creates a recognizable picture. But then I realized that the music for Sharp Objects within each episode grabs me every single time, the way director Jean-Marc Vallee’s uses classics like Michel LeGrand’s Le Moulin de Mon Coeur (The Windmills of My Mind) sent soaring through the mansion by stepdad Allan via his $80,000 sound system juxtaposed against all the Led Zeppelin tracks Camile listens to on her cracked iPod is mesmerizing. Wanting to know more I found a playlist for Episodes 1-4 (I’ll update when HBO publishes the playlist for the entire series. Most exciting though is this Rolling Stone piece where Vallée weighs in on the use of music:

‘ So Camille, Alan, Amma. These three characters are the main DJs of the series.’ Director Jean-Marc Vallée

It might look or seem that it’s just happening and it’s there in the room, but every single piece of music — this is another thing where it’s part of the editing — it’s source music. And the music is in the center of their lives, just like our lives.
Music helps define it. Music defines us, defines me. And this is what I love to do the most, besides directing actors. It’s the use of music and putting it in the center and deciding who is going to be the DJ in this feature film or show. This one, just before we started to shoot, I couldn’t find Camille’s music background. And then it became, “Oh, fuck yes: She’s not a music person.” Which is rare, but there are some people like this. She’s going to listen to the music of someone else, her roommate that committed suicide, and her roommate is using music to escape, too. Not physically, but in her mind, to just fly away and feel better. And she taught Camille how to do this, how to use music to escape. And she uses her phone, and she has a broken glass phone — Camille loves to touch the broken glass, of course, she’s a cutter — but she plays this kid’s music and we discovered this kid’s music that will become Camille’s music. And that’s why Led Zeppelin came in and all these tracks on this iPhone that belongs to this young girl, it becomes Camille’s music. So Camille, Alan, Amma. These three characters are the main DJs of the series.
The music of our lives
You wouldn’t necessarily think of Zeppelin, and especially some of the Zeppelin deep cuts that you used, as the obvious choice for somebody young like Alice. When you were coming up with that as the idea, did you have to decide in your head how this girl in this era discovered this music?
I’ve been wanting to use Zeppelin in a project forever, and I tried on Café de Flore, didn’t work out. It’s very tough to license and expensive. And I had a feeling that Sharp Objects was the perfect project to get a Zeppelin soundtrack, overall. To have this sound that is so sharp, that is so rock ‘n’ roll, that is so loud. And this voice that is so sexy — they know how to fucking rock and they know how to feel the sexiness. I’m such a Zeppelin and a Stones fan, but the Stones never got that sexy. And for Camille, and the way she expresses her sexuality, I thought Zeppelin was great, so I went, “Could [Alice] be a Zeppelin fan?”
And I went, “Why not?” [Alice is] 17. I’ve got a 21-year-old and a 26-year-old, and of course they’re into my music, because I wake up in the morning, I press play and sometimes, I go to bed I don’t even press stop. So there’s music all the time, and I contaminated my sons with my taste. So she probably got contaminated by either an older sister or mom or dad. To me, it’s seeing kids relate to vintage rock ‘n’ roll, British rock ‘n’ roll, and the sound makes sense. Particularly for a girl who wants to escape, Zeppelin is a great sound to escape. To feel like, “I want to rock.” And rock ‘n’ roll is to make noise and to tell the establishment to fuck off.

 There’s amazing, beautiful, soft tracks that are part of their repertoire — but mainly, the energy of it, even in “What Is and What Should Never Be,” is very soft, when Camille is in the car. Like, “What is she going to do? Is she going to have another masturbation sequence right now like we saw her?” But when she had one there wasn’t any music. Now what is she going to do? And then suddenly, she starts to head-bang, and then we get out of there. And then in episode three, this is where we realize, “Oh, this music comes from this girl.” When [Alice] asked [Camille], “What kind of music are you listening to?” “Ehh, I’m not really into music.” “Really? No wonder you’re here girl, not enough music in your life.” “Uh, you’re here too girl, FYI.” And then [Alice] goes, “Yeah, but with this, I can get the hell out of here whenever I want” and she shows [Camille], and the song that she picks at this moment is “Thank You.”

It’s funny how it becomes almost a thing where, “Are these two going to have a love story? Is she going to fall for this kid?” And we’re not sure yet who is Camille. There’s a sexual tension there, because of Zeppelin. It’s a love track. And these two women are listening to it, are looking at each other and she goes like this on her eyes, shuts [them]. It’s tender, it’s soft, it’s two women connecting, and we’re not sure yet: Who’s this girl? How come she’s obsessed with this phone and with this girl? And we’ll find out at the end. And there is nothing sexual, but it feels like it a little bit, and it’s alright to feel like that because it’s the nature of the thing and the story and the song. 

Read the rest of the story at Rolling Stone

If, like Camille, you wouldn't necessarily describe yourself as a music person, is there somebody who opened you up to a new way of listening? Perhaps introduced you to a band that you now love?

 Tell me about it, I'm all ears.

Playlist Episodes 1-4:

 Come Down – Sylvan Esso

 Tumbling Lights – The Acid

 I Can’t Quit You Baby – Led Zeppelin

 Small Town Heroes – Hurray for the Riff Raff

 Dietro casa – Ludovico Einaudi

 Motherless Children – Steve Miller Band

 Ring of Fire – Eric Burdon & The Animals

 What Is and What Should Never Be – Led Zeppelin

Episode 2 – Dirt – 15th July

 A Woman’s Hands – Joe Tex

 In the Evening – Led Zeppelin

 Les moulins de mon coeur – Michel Legrand

 There’s a Key – M. Ward

 Black Screen – LCD Soundsystem

Episode 3 – Fix – 22th July

 Port De Bras – Michael Roberts

 Plus tot – Alexandra Stréliski

 Thank You – Led Zepellin

 There’s a Key – M. Ward

 I Was Wrong – Chris Stapleton

 Concerto in D Minor (After Alessandro Marcello), BWV 974: II. Adagio – Alexandra Stréliski

Episode 4 – Ripe – 29th July

 Dance and Angela – Mark Batson

 In the Evening – Led Zepellin

 You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It) – Patsy Cline

 You Don’t Know – Leon Bridges

 Dear Mama – 2Pac

 Basic Instinct – The Acid

 Texas Flood – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

 Thank You – Led Zepellin

 Tumbling Lights – The Acid

 Les parapluies de Cherbourg – Nana Mouskouri

 Mama’s Gonna Give You Love – Emily Love

 Thinking of a Place – The War on Drugs