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Russian Doll Has a Time-Traveling Soundtrack to Match Season 2

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We can say that Russian Doll is a show about a lot of different things. First and foremost, it’s a show about a jaded-yet-charismatic woman named Nadia Vulvokov, played by he effortlessly-charming Natasha Lyonne. It’s also a show about, for all of its good and bad, New York City. It’s a show about friendship, family, history, self-awareness, knowing your place in the world, and even learning to be a better person through lived experience. It’s a show about all of these things. But for just a few moments lets look beyond that—because more than anything else, Russian Doll is a show about vibes.

It’s a show that makes you feel a certain way when you watch it. Part of that is because Lyonne and the rest of Russian Doll‘s cast of characters are just so charming and watchable. But another part is because the show’s music so perfectly captures exactly the mood and feeling of any given moment. If you’re feeling happy, there’s usually a song that can capture that. If you’re feeling shitty, well, there’s also going to be a song that can capture that. And if you’re stuck in a potentially-eternal time loop, depending on who you are, there’s going to be a song that can capture that too.

Season 2 of Russian Doll (mostly) forgoes the Time Loop stuff, with a whole bunch of Back to the Future-esque time travel taking its place. And that means going decades back, and finding the right songs, and, thus, creating the right vibes, for each of those decades, and moments within those decades, as well. And Russian Doll once again does it wonderfully.

russian doll natasha lyonne as nadia vulvokov in episode 201 of russian doll cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

COURTESY OF NETFLIX

The person most involved in making those decisions, and finding those vibes, is music supervisor Brienne Rose, who spoke with Men’s Health to explain some of the thought process that went into picking the season’s music.

MH: What went into choosing the music for Russian Doll Season 2?

BR: The new season tickles with so many fascinating themes; time travel and the time space continuum, existential dread, epigenetics, addiction, ghosts of the past… so it felt important to mirror some of those themes in the music. We’re always aiming to capture the Russian Doll/Nadia/ New York of it all, but this season expands into new time periods and new places, so we needed to weave those into our dark, complex, cerebral Russian Doll sounds in new ways. We wanted to expand the sound of the universe to include a timelessness that also supports our characters.

How did you work with Natasha to pick out specific music choices for specific moments?

Natasha has such a vast understanding of music and is so invested in the cohesion of the Russian Doll World (both visually and audibly, making sure it all works together), that it makes this process very exciting and extremely thoughtful. Every song choice is deliberate, even the very background pieces; they all have a purpose of informing the scene or the world. Each one has meaning. That doesn’t always mean lyrically—sometimes it can be a rhythmic element.

What would you say is the unifying theme of the music in Season 2?

Certainly playing with themes of time; timelessness, time identifying. Artists like Bauhaus and Depeche Mode fit squarely into our dark, gothy, cerebral world. Other pieces like The Alley Cats, Little Anthony and the Imperials play a fun juxtaposition, but they all inform the overall sound, which encapsulates song and artist that are mind bending, confronting, and pursue a deep examination of humanity.

Late in the season, we finally hear “Gotta Get Up” again. How important was it for that story to come back in a big way in Season 2?

So important! This is where the story comes back around to its roots from Season 1, and since that song was our reset button reach time in the first season, it became crucial for the storytelling, to be able to take us back to this moment and tie the pieces together. We love Harry!

And so without further ado, here is a full list of all the era-spanning, time-traveling, vibe-tastic songs of Russian Doll Season 2.


Episode 1, “Nowhen”

“Personal Jesus” – Depeche Mode

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“Violin Concerto in 2F Major, Allegro Assai” – Bach

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

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“Hungarian Bonchida” (traditional)

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“Mother” – Danzig

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“Get It While You Can” – Janis Joplin

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Episode 2, “Coney Island Baby”

“Angel Eyes” – Big Debbie

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“Love In Outerspace” – Sun Ra

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“Never Gonna Let You Go” – Michael Miglio

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“Goin Out Of My Head” – Little Anthony and the Imperials

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Episode 3, “Brain Drain”

“Put A Straw Under Baby” – Brian Eno

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“Puddin N Tain” – The Alley Cats

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“Black Night” – Cheryl Thompson

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“Sunday Morning” – The Velvet Underground

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“Der Kommissar” – Falco

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Episode 4, “Station to Station”

“Morgen” – Ivo Robic

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“Wasurenawa” – Peggy March

“Mindkilla” – Gang Gang Dance

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“Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58” – Beethoven

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“Personal Jesus” (Alex Metric Remix) – Depeche Mode

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“99 Luftballoons” – Nena

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Episode 5, “Exquisite Corpse”

“Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 In D Minor” – Liszt

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“Liebestram No. 3, Op 62 – Liszt

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“Hungarian Dances, D Minor” – Bizet

“Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5 in E Minor”

“I Found Out Too Late” – the Sapphires

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“Thin Ice” by Pink Floyd

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Episode 6, “Schrödinger’s Ruth”

“Runnin’ With Then Devil” – Van Halen

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“Piano Concerto No. 4 In G Major”

“Drip” – Getdown

“Gotta Get Up” – Harry Nilsson

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Episode 7, “Matroyshka”

“Gotta Get Up” – Harry Nilsson

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“Front” – Vex Ruffin

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“Shine On You Crazy Diamond” – Pink Floyd

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