Soundtracks of Cinema: ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

Edge of Seventeen Soundtrack

The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack includes music by Santigold, Beck and Pixies. This info article contains spoilers and song details for Kelly Fremon Craig’s 2016 movie on Netflix. Visit the Soundtracks of Cinema section for more streaming guides.

Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine Franklin, The Edge of Seventeen features a soundtrack that matches the protagonist’s personality. The film establishes its indie spirt with the opening needle drop and complementary visuals, while the collective song usage mostly underscores Nadine’s perspective as she attempts to rediscover herself while repairing damaged relationships. Overall, the film includes nearly 30 music moments, including one that involves a body horror drawing of an animated male with penis hands. Here’s a Soundtracks of Cinema guide for every song in The Edge of Seventeen.

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The Edge of Seventeen Soundtrack: Every Song in the 2016 Movie

The Edge of Seventeen Soundtrack - Every Song in the 2016 Movie on Netflix

  • “Who I Thought You Were” by Santigold (00:00:00): The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song plays as Nadine arrives at school. A close-up visual on the character’s shoes establishes a sense of identity, which ironically contrasts with her storyline throughout the film.
  • “Everything” by KAPTAN (00:08:00): In a flashback moment, 13-year-old Nadine eats a cheeseburger during a fast-food trip with her father Tom (Eric Keenleyside). “Everything” can be briefly heard as Steinfeld’s character changes the song on the radio. Seconds later, Tom asks his daughter to switch the music back to Billy Joel.
  • “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel (00:08:00): Tom performs to “You May Be Right” as Nadine giggles. He then suffers a heart attack and crashes the vehicle. The song fades as Nadine leaves the car, and thus becomes associated with a traumatic life experience for the young character.
  • “Ballroom Blitz” by The Struts (00:14:00): After Nadine’s mother leaves for the weekend, she and Krista party at home. The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song complements the spirit of the scene, as the girls consume alcohol and dress up. The song was famously used in the 1992 comedy Wayne’s World.
  • “Don’t Go There” by Giggs featuring B.O.B. (00:15:00): Nadine’s party is interrupted by her brother Darian, whose friends enjoy some pool time as “Don’t Go There” plays loudly. The song continues as Steinfeld’s drunken character chastises her brother and threatens to call the cops.
  • “Trouble” by Cage the Elephant (00:18:00): “Trouble” scores a post-party moment between Krista and Darian in The Edge of Seventeen. As Nadine attempts to recover in the bathroom, her best friend helps her brother clean up the mess. The song foreshadows a hook-up between Krista and Darian, which naturally doesn’t please Nadine.
  • “Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project (00:24:00): When Krista apologizes to Nadine for hooking up with Darian, The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song plays lightly during a diner sequence. The song begins with “Don’t think sorry’s easily said,” which aligns with the point of view for Richardson’s character. The following lyrics also reflect Nadine’s view point: “I am the eye in the sky, looking at you / I can read your mind / I am the maker of rules, dealing with fools / I can cheat you blind.”
  • “Go It Alone” by Beck (00:26:00): After Nadine accepts Krista’s apology, she reluctantly agrees to tag along with her and Dorian at a party. “Go It Alone” kicks in during a car sequence, with the camera zooming in on the emotionless face of Steinfeld’s character. The lyric “I better go it alone” punctuates the moment.
  • “Am I Wrong” by Anderson Paak feat. Schoolboy Q (00:27:00): At the party, “Am I Wrong” plays as Nadine wanders around. She’s an outcast figure, so the song’s lyrics about thinking out of the box parallel her frame of mind. It’s a brief musical moment, but one that further informs the audience about Nadine as a character.
  • “Bad Decisions” by Two Door Cinema Club (00:28:00): Nadine gives herself a pep talk in the bathroom about trying to be social. The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song plays shortly after when Steinfeld’s character realizes that she wants to leave. Specifically, Nadine doesn’t want to watch Krista and Darian enjoy themselves together.
  • “Can’t Do Without You” by Caribou (00:28:00): “Can’t Do Without You” can be heard during a house porch scene. Nadine discusses the movie Twins with a party guest, who subsequently compares the main characters to Nadine and her brother. The Edge of Seventeen’s protagonist is once again reminded about her sibling’s influence.
  • “Psycho” by A$AP Ferg (00:29:00): “Psycho” scores a party sequence in which Nadine calls her mother for a ride home. The song plays for a few seconds and seems to pinpoint the protagonist’s perceived self-image.
  • “People Help the People” by Birdy (00:30:00): The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song functions as a wink-of-the-eye track in a moment between Nadine and her mother. On a deeper level, it reinforces the familial bond between the two characters. Nadine struggles with her own problems but makes sure to ask questions about her mother’s personal issues, specifically her recent date with a dentist.
  • “Save Me” by Aimee Mann (00:32:00): At home, Nadine looks at the social media profile of her crush, Nick Mossman (Alexander Calvert). “Save Me” plays as Steinfeld’s character contemplates a potential romance. The song tells the story of a woman who views herself as a freak, and wonders if she can possibly fall in love.
  • “Genghis Khan” by Miike Snow (00:32:00): After Nadine decides not to message Nick, she calls her history classmate Erwin. He happens to be listening to “Genghis Khan,” which is a song about someone who knows exactly what he wants. Erwin celebrates upon learning that Nadine wants to hang out.
  • “Angel’s Serenade” by Valentino (00:33:00): At the carnival, The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song scores a conversation scene between Nadine and Erwin. Steinfeld’s character tells a joke, while her love interest attempts to calm himself down. Thematically, the title foreshadows a romance between the two students.
  • “Circus Theme 2” by Craig Austin (00:34:00): As Erwin becomes even more nervous, “Circus Theme 2” parallels his demeanor. Nadine takes a proactive approach by asking personal questions about her fellow history student. Specifically, she requests “a tour” of Erwin’s psyche, which thematically links to the song title.
  • “True” by Spandau Ballet (00:44:00): “True” is used as background music during a scene between Nadine and Nick. At an aquarium, Steinfeld’s character asks to be directed towards cat litter, and fumbles her words as her crush broods and smiles. The song cuts right after the lyric “Oh, I want the truth to be known,” suggesting that Nadine isn’t really sure about Nick’s motivations for being kind.
  • “Don’t You Wait” by Cloves (00:53:00): The usage of The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song correlates with the aquarium scene. As Nadine pops a pill and lies on her couch, the lyric “Don’t you remember when you said what I wanted to hear?” connects to her most recent conversation with Nick. She looks at pictures of her crush and sighs.
  • “Lights & Music” by Cut Copy (00:56:00): A song about anticipation and secrets, “Lights & Music” scores a pool sequence in The Edge of Seventeen. Nadine is surprised to learn that Erwin is “rich,” and then asks him questions about a film festival project. In this particular moment, the characters learn more about each other and recognize their chemistry.
  • “The Dickhead Song” by Miles Betterman (00:57:00): After Nadine jokes about having sex in the pool, Erwin delivers a message to Nadine by playing ‘The Dickhead Song.” He’s upset about being sexually teased but wisely decides to make his love interest laugh. The characters resolve their conflict and return to the pool.
  • “Somebody Else” by The 1975 (00:58:00): The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song scores a hot tub sequence in The Edge of Seventeen. It plays for only a few seconds as Erwin discusses his animation project with Nadine. There’s a physical distance between the two characters, but they soon grow close after investing more time in each other.
  • “When They Fight, They Fight” by Generationals (00:58:00): “When They Fight, They Fight” complements the inherent comedy of Erwin’s art project. He jokes about his parents loving a drawing of a character with penis-shaped fingers, with the song lyrics implying that he’s destined to have a life-long romance with filmmaking. As for Nadine, she’s impressed by Erwin’s passion and commitment, which makes her appreciate him even more.
  • “Snakes” by Pixies (01:03:00): After an argument, Nadine takes her mother’s car keys and drives away. Inside the vehicle, Steinfeld’s character tears up out of pure frustration. The musical usage of “Snakes” implies that Nadine is largely responsible for all the conflict in her life.
  • “Hard Luck” by Black Pistol Fire (1:10:00): After Nadine agrees to meet Nick, The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song scores a date preparation sequence. Steinfeld’s character scrambles through her room and tries on different outfits, all the while knowing that she sent a sexually-explicit message to her crush. The song title aligns with Nadine’s bold move, one that demonstrates her willingness to take risks.
  • “When I’m Small” by Phantogram (01:12:00): In a car scene, “When I’m Small” emphasizes the romantic chemistry between Nadine and Nick. It plays just briefly, with the dreamlike aesthetic complementing the moods of both character (“So, show me love / You’ve got your hands on the button now”).
  • “Big Jet Plane” by Angus & Julia Stone (01:14:00): “Big Jet Plane” plays during a first kiss scene between Nadine and Nick. Both characters acknowledge the song, which includes a sexual innuendo that complements the moment. The music drowns out when Nadine asks Nick to back off.
  • “To Build a Home” by Cinematic Orchestra (01:20:00): After an argument with Nick, Nadine cries alone during an outdoor scene. Thematically, The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack song aligns with the character’s hopes and fears, as she wanted to build a romance with her crush but now realizes that it wasn’t meant to be. The song continues as Nadine runs into her history teacher, Max.
  • “Sky on Fire” by Handsome Poets (01:38:00): The Edge of Seventeen ends with Nadine attending Erwin’s film screening and being introduced to his inner circle of friends. In the moment, she experiences a personal reawakening, with the song’s lyrics about dreams and new beginnings suggesting that Steinfeld’s character now has a positive outlook on life. Plus, the big smile on her face shows that she’s ready to explore a relationship with Erwin.

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The Edge of Seventeen soundtrack also includes:

  • “Bitter Seed” by Nantucket Reds

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.