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The Spiderhead Soundtrack Is Fit for a Mad Scientist

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Director Joseph Kosinski has already been behind the camera for 2022’s biggest blockbuster yet—Top Gun: Maverick—and now he’s trying to make it a winning streak with Netflix’s Spiderhead. Based on a short story by George Saunders, Spiderhead boasts a star-studded cast that rivals if not exceeds that of Maverick, but contains a decidedly more intimate story. The film still lets Kosinski put his visual prowess to work (it’s set at a top-secret prison on a mysterious island, so that means a lot of gorgeous shots of the ocean and the sky for starters), but focuses mainly on characters played by three key stars (Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett) as opposed to the huge ensemble in Maverick.

At its core, Spiderhead, tells a story that almost feels like a play. That secret prison is called Spiderhead, and inside we meet our characters, who include a pair of prisoners named Jeff and Lizzy (Teller and Smollett) and a man named Steve (Chris Hemsworth) running medicine-based experiments on them, presumably as part of their sentence—what they did to earn that sentence, however, we do not know. But one thing that’s clear is that these experiments are not always of the pleasant variety.

As we’re dropped into Spiderhead, it’s not exactly clear what’s going on in this facility—but tension is high, and sometimes environmental factors can help to alleviate things like that. And that’s where Spiderhead‘s Yacht Rock-heavy soundtrack comes in. “I liked the notion of Steve programming a background music playlist for the Spiderhead that gave the whole facility a sense of calm, relaxation, and safety—like a dentist’s office,” Kosinski tells Men’s Health. “It would serve to mask the true nature of what is going on inside its walls.”

The movie also has an intimate relationship with its music; if it seems like the songs you’re hearing are vital to the story being told, well, that’s because it was. When “I’ll Take You There” by The Staples Singers plays during an integral flashback scene, Kosinski says, that same song was actually playing on set—no post-production decision-making happening here. Likewise with another key music moment; Chris Hemsworth himself came up with the idea forRoxy Music to play when Steve is alone in his suite.

It might seem kind of out there for a movie with such a complex plot—and one that can get, at times, so dark—to be filled with these sorts of upbeat sing-a-long songs. But that’s exactly the point. The final song in the film? Well, its’ one you’ve certainly heard before (we’ll let you see for yourself at the bottom of this piece). But does it fit with what we’re seeing in Spiderhead?

Kosinski wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s absurd and totally inappropriate—which makes it the right choice for this particular film.

Every song in Netflix’s Spiderhead:

“The Logical Song” – Supertramp

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“Feelin’ Like” – Bad Colour, Jarv Dee

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“Blitzkrieg” – Blitzgrieg

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“I’ll Take You There” – The Staple Singers

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“What a Fool Believes” – The Doobie Brothers

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“Feels So Good” – Chuck Mangione

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“More Than This” – Roxy Music

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“She Blinded Me With Science” – Thomas Dolby

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“Breezin'” – George Benson

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“Rise” – Herb Alpert

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“Crazy Love” – Poco

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“You Make My Dreams (Come True)” – Daryl Hall & John Oates

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