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The Complete Soundtrack of Ozark Season 4, Part 2

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After five years, four seasons, 44 episodes, and millions of drug money laundered from a Mexican cartel, Ozark is leaving our lives, but not without some of the best musical moments of the entire series. Ozark‘s soundtrack has always been an integral part of the show’s DNA, serving different purposes depending on the scene. The surprise Season 3 finale death of a character we thought would make it to the end is punctuated by Run The Jewels’ bombastic “Ooh La La,” punching us out of our shock. Looking Glass’s upbeat “Brandy” soothes us during a ride in the country that suddenly turns deadly for another key character while the song still plays, almost as a balm for the band-aid that was just ripped off. Ozark has been a show where anything can happen, and any song can be heard at any moment.

The soundtrack of the final episodes maintains that same spirit of the previous 37 episodes, but with a feeling of finality in the form of experimentation. Episode 8, titled “The Cousin of Death,” is the first episode in Ozark history soundtracked by one album, Nas’s Illmatic, as Ruth goes on a crusade that ultimately changes everything about the show. Laura Linney directed episode 11 “Pound of Flesh and Still Kickin'”—the first and only episode she’s directed in the series— and let “I Saw The Light” by Todd Rundgren play over Marty acting in a way we’ve never seen him act ever.

To truly understand the thinking behind these music choices, Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy broke down why he chose Nas’ Illmatic to soundtrack an entire episode, how the fact these are the final episodes of the series influenced the song choices, and what song he really wanted to get into the show but couldn’t.

ozark julia garner as ruth langmore in season 4 part 2 episode 2 of ozark cr tina rowdennetflix © 2022

TINA ROWDEN/NETFLIX

MH: Episode 8 feels like the first episode spiritually narrated by one album, Illmatic.

Chris Mundy: 100%. I wanted it to be like a trance. I wanted it to be deep in Ruth’s head. I wanted to use that record, which I love, as her way of not breaking out of the moment.

Why that album?

We knew we wanted it to be something old school. I told Gabe [Hilfer], ‘I wanna be deep in Ruth’s head.’ He said, ‘Illmatic.’ The second he said it, it was exactly right. One, because it’s one of the best records of all time. Two, the parallels between Ruth and Nas. I mean, in one way, they’re very different. She’s a 19, 20-year-old white woman who lives in a trailer in Missouri. That’s very far from Queensbridge. At the same time, she’s around the same age as he was when he wrote that album. I could understand her identification with it, or her love of it. The parallels seemed too perfect. I also felt the way the album lays out, it feels very whole, but there are different moods in there that were going to suit what we shot. The second we decided it should be Illmatic, it couldn’t be anything else. It was just a matter of trying to get it cleared, which is difficult sometimes with ‘90s hip-hop because not all the samples were always cleared, so it just gets into some legal stuff. We had to work like crazy to get the songs that we got.

When Ruth is sneakily replacing the license plates, you can hear Nas on “Represent” talking about cops watching her. It appears like the lyrics are paired perfectly with the scenes. When you wrote the script, did Illmatic influence it or was that more so afterwards?

It had a fair amount when I was writing it. A song like ‘Memory Lane’ fit perfectly for one of the things in there, but then we couldn’t get it. We couldn’t get every song we wanted. As we were editing it, our editor Cindy Mollo was really amazing. She was very aware of when it was appropriate to have it link up thematically. There might be an extra layer if anybody was paying close attention.

What scene was “Memory Lane” going to be used for?

It was going to go under when young Ruth goes to young Wyatt, and they’re arguing upstairs, and she crawls up, and he’s sitting up on the roof, and she holds his hand. It was going to take us in and out of that.

Overall, how did the soundtrack factor into the storytelling of the last batch of Ozark episodes?

It always feels important, but as you get to the very end, you realize these are the last opportunities for things. The last song in the car with Ruth is ‘They Reminisce Over You.’ It was really important that it was that song because it was a different mood. Life was great for her at that moment, but the energy and content of that track just fit. You just became more aware that this is our last chance to do such and such. Same for the scene where Marty punches the guy in the street. Laura Linney, who directed that episode, made the call on the song [“I Saw The Light” by Todd Rundgren]. We were very aware these were our last shots.

ozark l to r skylar gaertner as jonah byrde, sofia hublitz as charlotte byrde, laura linney as wendy byrde, jason bateman as marty byrde in season 4 part 2 episode 7 of ozark cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

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Below, you can find every song used in Ozark, Season 4, Part 2:

Episode 8, “The Cousin of Death”

“N.Y. State of Mind” – Nas

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“Represent” – Nas

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“Life’s A Bitch” – Nas ft. AZ & Olu Dara

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“One Time 4 Your Mind” – Nas

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Episode 9, “Pick A God And Pray”

“Can It Be All So Simple” – Wu-Tang Clan

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“If I Could” – Spanky Wilson

Episode 10, “You’re The Boss”

“New King of The Mountain” – The Romany Rye

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“Brother” – The Romany Rye

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Episode 11, “Pound of Flesh and Still Kickin'”

“Energy” – Sampa The Great ft. Nadeem Din-Gabisi

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“My Desire” – WITCH

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“I Saw The Light” – Todd Rundgren

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Episode 12, “Trouble The Water”

“Right Down The Line” – Gerry Rafferty

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Episode 13, “Mud”

“Renegade” – Styx

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“Twilight Zone” – Golden Earring

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Episode 14, “A Hard Way To Go”

“Bring It On Home To Me” – Sam Cooke

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“They Reminisce Over You” – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

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“Love and Happiness” – Al Green

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