When we first came up with a list of the “Best Mr. Robot Songs”, the show was barely into its second season. And for us to be able to craft an entire article about the show’s soundtrack on just ten episodes, going into details on why it’s so good and how it perfectly fits certain scenes (and having trouble cramming so many awesome tracks into just 5), speaks volumes of the great work Sam Esmail does in curating music… with mad daps also extended to composer Mac Quayle.
Season Two is no different, and with a slightly longer run, there’s much more songs to choose from. So plug in your headphones and get your Spotify playlist ready because these tunes are going there and will soon be staples on your daily rotation!
Mogwai – I Know You Are, But What Am I?
The Scottish Post-rock outfit Mogwai, are known for their cinematic brand of instrumental rock that most film or television scores are bound to have, and Mr. Robot is one of the recent shows to make use of their material. The song’s minimalist piano-driven somber sound perfectly backs Darlene’s frustrations at being an unprepared leader thrusted in the role by Elliot’s absence.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star – Basket Case
Green Day’s “Basket Case” could easily be Elliot’s theme. But it’s heavy, in-your-face sound clashes with his dour appearance and personality so we can’t really think of a scene that would warrant its use. Enter Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star – a series of albums that recreate songs into child-friendly lullabies. But a lullaby? How the hell could they use that in the show? Easy. Let’s have Elliot imagine a hope spot in which he makes peace with all of his “enemies” (including bit characters like Bill) culminating on a surreal banquet that has to be seen to believe.
Jack Nitzsche – Play The Game
This had to be in the list. One of the most memorable scenes of Season Two in which we find out that the entire first half is taking place in prison all along. Some predicted it, but a large majority (including myself) were caught offguard. This entire sequence is set to a dreamy instrumental number courtesy of the late composer Bernard “Jack” Nitzsche, as all of the events that took place are revealed one by one. Fun fact: This was from “The One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” soundtrack.
Depeche Mode – Walking in My Shoes
It’s one of the few songs in the medley that play on the first few minutes of the episode that followed the big reveal, and it’s the best one. The gloomy bass line as Elliot is escorted to his cell sets the mood perfectly and even has lyrics that describe Elliot’s current situation to the letter.
And last but not the least…
Imagine A World Gone Insane
C’mon, was there any doubt? The first 15 minutes of eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes was notable for a lot of reasons, but the best part was arguably the intro that parodied 90s sitcom tropes with a dark comedy twist – a guy finding out he has cancer and turning to the camera with an “aw shucks” look? Only in Mr. Robot! But an even better part is the song that accompanies it…
- It’s eerily 90s sitcom-esque
Typically, media screws up when creating nostalgic pieces, but the attention to detail on this song is utterly brilliant. The upbeat cheery tone that’s probably a xylophone and tambourine short of being a full on Christmas carol and the copious synths, it truly captures everything that your half-hour primetime comedy used to bombard you every week decades ago.
- The spot-on lyrics
If the song title isn’t a dead giveaway already – Imagine A World Gone Insane – then the lyrics should cue you in on what’s up… or not. After all, with that title and lyrics that look like it should be on a Trent Reznor or Nick Cave album, you’d expect it to have a complementary score – not some catchy pop sounding song. But it does and the lyrics are accurately expository, making it one of the more disturbingly dissonant combinations in music – and that’s what makes it extremely funny.
- It was penned by the “Full House” theme composers
Unless you’re Leon, when you think of 90s sitcom (hell, sitcom in general), you’d think of “Full House”. And when you think of the “best” 90s sitcom intro song, you’d probably think “Everywhere You Look” too. So to add more panache to the already accurate look and feel, Sam Esmail actually tracked down the song’s composers and made them write it in their patented style, but keeping in part the Mr. Robot universe, resulting in this now creepy ditty… well deserved of the top spot in our list.