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Inside the Massive Music Moments of Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’

todayDecember 15, 2022

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There has been so much to love about Netflix’s latest hit show Wednesday, from the coming-of-age storyline and deadpan demeanor of the titular Addams Family character (played by Jenna Ortega) to the goth style choices and supernatural mysteries surrounding the show’s Nevermore Academy setting. But what has captivated audiences just as much is the thrilling soundtrack. Within the show’s first season, there’s a tapestry of classic Latin ballads, string concertos and multiple generations of rock. The combination of the song choices themselves and the scenes they’re set to has stirred up conversation all over the internet.


While Netflix is no stranger to such virality (see how the streaming service revived Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”), it was thrilling to see Wednesday give a similar bump to The Cramps’ 1981 post-punk classic “Goo Goo Muck,” thanks to a dazzling dance scene in episode four where Ortega shows off some of her kookiest moves. Of course, it wasn’t long until TikTok users put their own spin on the quirky scene by dressing up as Ortega’s character and dancing to Lady Gaga’s 2011 track “Bloody Mary.” The trend has caught on so much so that Gaga’s song has re-entered the Billboard Global 200’s top 40, while even the pop star herself dressed up like Wednesday and danced to her Born This Way number. 

Following the success of the series, Billboard spoke to music supervisors Jen Malone and Nicole Weisberg about setting the tone for the series, the Gaga TikTok craze  and what Cramps song they almost used instead of “Goo Goo Muck.”

How did doing music supervision for shows like Yellowjackets and Euphoria help inform the process of putting together the soundtrack for Wednesday?

Jen: Each show is very different in terms of the overall vision, sound and tone. It’s really just a collaboration with the showrunners, as it is with each other show and each other team that we work with. On any show, music can be used in different ways. So it’s really just following their lead, and a lot of listening to how they see the character and how they see music as a character in the show. We’re really lucky in that in a lot of shows that we work on, music is a character, and I think that’s definitely the same for Wednesday.

How did you concept the sound for Wednesday

Nicole: It was a very collaborative process, and the intention the whole time is to pay homage to Wednesday’s story. [Looking at it through] her lens to make all of these choices was such a fun way to approach an Addams Family project. So it was sort of a combination of just looking for that perfect vintage song that sounds [like] classic Addams Family, but is serious vintage cool that has a wink to it and feels like we’re still having fun. 

What did you envision Wednesday listening to as a teen?

Nicole: We really leaned into a lot more vintage. Wednesday doesn’t have a phone, she doesn’t have social media. So we really leaned into a lot of the Latinx vintage and female vocals, but then also combined [that] with some of the later placements, like The Cramps [and] this goth, post-punk sound. Obviously, the chorus with the cello was a huge, huge part of our show.

What did the moodboard for the show’s soundtrack look like?

Jen: We really drew from the Addams Family in general, knowing that this is Wednesday’s story. We started with a big playlist of songs from anywhere and everywhere, that we thought could somehow somewhere fit into this series. It really ranged from several different genres and several different time periods. We also were also true to telling Wednesday’s story, and the Addams Family franchise is our cornerstone for the music story.

Wednesday’s solo dance scene to “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps has become a viral moment from the show. Was that song always meant to be used for that scene?

Jen: It was not scripted in. When we got to shooting that episode, we really collaborated with [creators] Al [Gough], Miles [Millar] and Tim [Burton] and got them a bunch of options that they would obviously also discuss with Jenna, who was going to be doing the choreography for the dance. We actually were talking about “Human Fly” from The Cramps, and those guys ended up coming back and they’re like, “Let’s do ‘Goo Goo Muck.’”

Nicole: These things unfold where we have the script, and then we’re figuring it out before it’s going to shoot, and we haven’t even worked on all the other episodes. It was a big moment to really ground the show. The Cramps were on our playlist from the beginning, and it just happened organically where we would go back and forth with the producers and Tim. Like Jen said, Jenna was a big part of taking the temperature on most of these big moments, because she just embodied Wednesday so much. It was like, if she feels like this would be natural for her to do, then we kind of got the green light. She was the pinnacle of every moment.

Jen: Even the cello pieces, Jenna was involved in those discussions. She actually had made her own cello playlist, which was really really cool.

It’s been a big year for Netflix’s viral music moments, especially following the resurgence of Kate Bush love after Stranger Things used “Running Up That Hill.” How do you balance those kinds of standout moments so that they feel organic?

Jen: Our job as music supervisors is to serve the director and the showrunner’s vision and serve the story. That’s the only thing that we focus on: collaborating and providing ideas to Al, Miles and Tim. Having moments go viral, that’s just the icing on the cake. That’s super exciting, but not something that we set out to do. 

Wednesday‘s dance scene popularized Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary” again, thanks to TikTok. How has that impacted the hype around the show?

Jen: It’s just so exciting to see how fans are reacting to the show and creating their own videos. I just like seeing the dances and the costumes they put together. It’s super fun to watch these kids create their own moments. It’s funny, you’re not seeing people watch TV. Now, you’re getting to watch your fans react in real-time to something. It’s definitely a surreal experience because we worked on the stuff a year ago, and you don’t think about this happening this way.

Lady Gaga has shown her support for Wednesday on social media and even made her own “Bloody Mary” dance video inspired by the show. Have you considered featuring a Gaga song next season?

Jen: We don’t know the long-term plan for the show, but I hope we will be able to create more notable music moments.

Obviously, Wednesday and her roommate Enid have such distinct personalities. How did that affect their music taste on-screen?

Nicole: That was always going to be polar opposites, just because of the nature of their characters. Enid is bright and fun-loving, so it was natural to fill her playlist with pop music and feel-good, uptempo [songs] — and then Wednesday is like, ‘I’m serious and I want vintage quality,’ and doesn’t care about Enid’s music taste very much. It was fun to play a contrast in those moments when they’re hanging out in their bedroom, and you can’t have both girls’ music playing at once. 

What made you guys decide to use “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac during the Crackstone Memorial sequence?

Jen: I think that one actually came from Al, Miles and Tim. 

Nicole: When the statue was on fire, [it was] building up to that moment. We loved the Metallica cover with the cello and everything was building up to that moment. Fleetwood Mac was intended to play contrast to all the darkness that’s about to come right after it. What I thought was carved out really nicely was when we had the Beach House song, right into Fleetwood, right into Vivaldi, right into Metallica. It just felt like a perfect storm of just setting up the rest of the season for the chaos that’s about to ensue. 

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todayDecember 15, 2022

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