The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack includes music by Roy Orbison, Aaron Neville and Future Islands. This info article contains spoilers and song details for the 2021 Hulu series. Check out more Vague Visages music guides in the Soundtracks of Television section.
Nine Perfect Strangers explores the interpersonal dynamics at a California wellness resort. Nicole Kidman headlines the ensemble cast as the Tranquillum House founder Masha Dmitrichenko, while Melissa McCarthy and Michael Shannon co-star as clients who seek peace of mind. Supervised by Gabe Hilfer (Mare of Easttown), the Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack utilizes familiar retro tunes that underscore the protagonists’ need to mentally escape from cerebral trauma. Here’s a complete list of every track in the Hulu series, which features Unloved’s “Strange Effect” as the theme song.
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- “It’s A Good Day” by Peggy Lee (0:03): Frances (McCarthy) drives to Tranquillum House and sings the Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song. The novelist feels optimistic about becoming “Frances 2.0.” Moments later, Frances learns that she’s being released from her book contract.
- “Problem Child” by Roy Orbison (0:08): Lars (Luke Evans) visits a convenience store en route to Tranquillum House. He meets Carmel (Regina Hall) and learns that phones won’t be allowed. The song title aligns with Lars’ reputation.
- “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” by Gladys Knight & The Pips (0:40): Masha (Kidman) tells Heather (Asher Keddie) that she’s going to “fuck” with each and every one of them. “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” kicks in during the end credits. The lyrics about making the best of a bad situation seem to reflect the guests’ perspectives, but the music could potentially be associated with Masha’s viewpoint, as one of her many clients may have bad intentions.
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- “The Carnival of the Animals: VII. Aquarium” by Hanspeter Gmur & South German Philmarmonic (0:12): Masha looks at the coast during her morning run. She receives a text that reads “It’s your LAST WEEK ON EARTH.” The title of the Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song and aesthetic teases a circus-like atmosphere at Tranquillum House.
- “You Are My Sunshine ” by Jimmie Davis (0:15): Masha’s employee makes smoothies. Carmel and Frances seem optimistic. The lyric “Please don’t take my sunshine away” suggests that the aforementioned characters are clinging desperately to a specific mood.
- “Ramble” by Link Wray & The Wrayman (0:29): Frances enjoys some pool time. The instrumental plays during an overhead shot. The song cuts out as Frances rambles on after being interrupted by Tony (Bobby Cannavale).
- “Pretty Woman Pass on By” by Richard Marks (0:30): The song begins as Tony cannonballs Frances in the pool. It continues during a hiking trip. The title correlates with the perspective of Carmel, who makes passive-aggressive statements while speaking to the social media influencer Jessica (Samara Weaving).
- “Let’s Live” by Aaron Neville (0:32): Frances sleeps in the pool as Tony watches her. Cannavale’s character then tosses a grape and wakes up the novelist. The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song underlines Tony’s willingness to relax, and also Frances’ need to form a genuine connection with another guest.
- “Loyalty” by Gabriels (0:46): Masha convinces Frances to stay one more day. The song plays as Kidman’s character reflects and watches surveillance footage. The lyrics “We’re in deep” and “I ain’t gon’ stop loving you” seem to foreshadow conflict between various characters.
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- “Only You” by The Platters (0:14): The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song plays as Masha stands amongst nature during her morning workout. She dives from a cliff after stating “Today, we give ourselves to the Earth.” As the rest of the characters try to figure out their romantic situations, Masha remains in harmony with her environment.
- “Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056” by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (0:14): The Tranquillum House clients participate in a meditation session. Tony tears upon recalling a football injury. Masha helps him find peace in the moment.
- “A Run for Life” by Dick Dale and his Del-Tones (0:17): A potato sack competition begins. Masha watches the action play out from her surveillance room. Jessica wins the event by doing cartwheels.
- “Michicant” by Bon Iver (0:27): Various female characters spend time near a lake. Heather reflects and states that her son used to sing the Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song. Delilah (Tiffany Boone) takes off her top and enters the water.
- “String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10” by Constantin Bogdanas, Florin Szigeti, Liviu Stanese, Dorel Fodoreanu (0:37): Heather talks about sex and embarrasses her daughter, Zoe (Grace Van Patten). Keddie’s character then states that Frances should have an affair with Napoleon (Shannon). The music ramps up when Heather says that she’s feeling “wonderful.”
- “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (0:40): Tony chases a goat. He experiences flashbacks of his football career, while Napoleon feels overwhelmed by the sunlight. “Cavalleria Rusticana” was famously used during a boxing-themed sequence in Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film Raging Bull.
- “For Sure” by Future Islands (0:45): Various characters dance during a nighttime bonfire sequence. The lyric “Perish the pain” is emphasized to capture the spirit of the wellness resort. The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song drowns out as Frances stares at the pig being cooked.
- “Running Red Lights” by The Avalanches feat. Rivers Cuomo & Pink Siifu (0:53): Heather asks if she and the guests are being medicated. The lyric “wonder” aligns with Masha’s big smile. “Running Red Lights” continues over the end credits of the episode and teases a potential conspiracy at Tranquillum House.
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- “Sostanze Inferiori” by Giovanni Tornambene: The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song scores a montage sequence. Tranquillum House employees prepare smoothies. The camera highlights the special doses that guests discuss in the opening scene.
- “Angel Baby” by Rosie and the Originals: Masha brings the guests another “delicious meal.” Unbeknownst to them, the drug dosages have been increased. Masha toasts to the Tranquillum House experience.
- “No More ‘I Love You’s'” by Annie Lennox: The song plays over the end credits after Masha discovers that Tranquillum House has been vandalized. She looks at a message that reads “It’s Good to Die” and says “shit” in Russian. “No More ‘I Love You’s'” begins with the lyric “I used to be a lunatic,” which seems to thematically link to Masha’s past life as a businesswoman.
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- “You’re the One That I Want” by John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John (0:06): Napoleon sings on the morning of Zoe’s 21st birthday. He shakes his towel and makes both his wife and daughter giggle. The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song continues during a smoothie montage.
- “What Makes Me Think About You” by Nicolas Godin (0:26): Heather and Napoleon jump from a cliff. Yao and Delilah have telepathic sex. Masha receives a threatening text.
- “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” by Soul Explosion (0:39): Zoe celebrates her 21st birthday. She informs the group of her father’s singing tradition. Napoleon performs the Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song as various characters dance together, and Zoe sees her deceased twin brother.
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- “Money Money” by Joel Gray, Liza Minnelli (0:03): Frances dreams about Paul Drabble (Ben Falcone), a man who catfished her. He dances to the Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song and brags about receiving $128,000. The music cuts briefly when Frances slams a pillow down, and it picks up again before the novelist flushes her tiny dream character down a toilet.
- “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna (0:19): Frances and Tony discuss their friendship. The song plays as the characters gaze at each other. Tony gets unnerved when Frances speaks her interior thoughts. Shortly after, “Love on the Brain” scores a kissing moment.
- “Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley (0:22): Zoe roams outdoors with her family. Heather explains that it takes a bit for the medication to kick in. Zoe carries on by herself to the lyric “I carry this feelin.'”
- “Enfant” by El Michels Affair, The Shacks (0:28): Jessica admires herself while looking at a mirror. She panics after spotting a facial blemish. The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song drops as Jessica hallucinates about her nose falling off.
- “Windmills of Your Mind” by Dusty Springfield (00:52): Masha mediates at the pool. She has memories of a young girl being hit by a vehicle. The moment implies that the victim is the daughter of Kidman’s character.
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- “Moon River” by Audrey Hepburn (0:22): Frances hears music after offending Tony. She hallucinates and sees a younger, more happier version of herself. The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song fades as Yao speaks with Carmel.
- “Game of Love” by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders (0:33): Delilah cruises down a Tranquillum House road in her truck. As the vehicle stops at a gate, so does the music. The lyrics correlate with Delilah’s romantic frustration with Yao; the song continues when Boone’s character crashes through a fence.
- “Xanadu” by Olivia Newton-John (0:36): Carmel sings while washing her face. The Nine Perfect Strangers song underscores the character’s fractured mind, as she attacked Masha earlier in the episode. The recorded version of “Xanadu” plays three minutes later as Carmel packs her suitcase.
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- “True Love Ways” by Buddy Holly (0:08): Masha looks at herself in the mirror after learning the truth about Carmel. The lyric “Sometimes we’ll cry / Sometimes we’ll sigh” aligns with painful memories as Kidman’s character attempts to calm herself. The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song fades as Masha consumes a strange brew.
- “Never My Love” by The Association (0:17): Carmel hallucinates in a sensory deprivation tank. She sees visions of her daughter and experiences a moment of peace. The song fades when it appears that Carmel has finished her journey.
- “Motion Picture Sountrack” by Radiohead (0:19): The Marconi family trips out in the forest. Lars documents the experience with his camera phone while Yao watches. Napoleon’s deceased son helps with a nose bleed.
- “Michicant” by Bon Ever (0:38): Zach’s spirit asks his family members to separate him from the day of his suicide. Zoe embraces her twin brother, while Napoleon and Heather figuratively say goodbye to the past. Zach walks away as the Marconis find closure during their drug trip.
- “Silent Lucidity” by Queensrÿche (00:50): The Nine Perfect Strangers soundtrack song plays over a ending montage. It’s revealed that Lars — now a father and reunited with his partner — wrote a story for The New Yorker called “Psychedelics to the Rescue.” Carmel speaks to a group about self-forgiveness. Jessica and Ben emerge as the new leaders of Tranquillum. The Marconis drive together as a family. Frances, now in a relationship with Tony, writes a new book called “Nine Perfect Strangers.” Masha sees a clear vision of her daughter while driving along the coastline; the lyric “I’m smiling next to you” closes out the Hulu miniseries.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.