2020s

Soundtracks of Television: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 1

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack - Every Song in the Hulu Series

The Only Murders in the Building soundtrack includes music by Dua Lipa, Daniel Johnston and The Police. This info article contains spoilers for the Hulu series. Check out more Vague Visages music guides in the Soundtracks of Television section.

Only Murders in the Building takes place in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The narrative explores a murder investigation led by three true crime aficionados: Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), Charles Haden-Savage (Steve Martin) and Oliver Putnam (Martin Short). Supervised by Lauren Mikus (Green Room, Teenage Bounty Hunters), the Only Murders in the Building soundtrack thematically underlines the loneliness of the main protagonists, all of whom fill an emotional void by working together. Here’s a breakdown of every song in the Hulu series, which features a score by Goldspot’s Siddhartha Khosla.

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 1 “True Crime”

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack on Hulu

  • “Manhattan” by Jan & Dean (00:00): Charles and Oliver race through The Arconia. They find Mabel with a dead body. The narrative shifts to two months earlier, with the Only Murders in the Building soundtrack song capturing the vibe of the Upper West Side setting.
  • “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa (00:02): A New Yorker recognizes Charles but doesn’t want a photo with him. The music begins at the tail end of the sequence and continues during Mabel’s narration. The character’s comments about aggressive men thematically align with the song.
  • “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile” by The New 2012 Broadway Cast (00:03): Oliver’s introduction. He narrates about people feeling like orphans in New York City. The Only Murders in the Building soundtrack song is from the 1982 movie Annie.
  • “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy (00:03): Oliver’s narration sequence continues. He recalls seeing a dance piece on the internet about man climbing a staircase and falling. The iconic composition was recently used as a recurring musical motif in Open Your Eyes season 1. “Clair de Lune” also plays at 00:28 as Oliver learns about a break in the case and feels a sense of peace (or purpose).
  • “Don’t Be Scared” by Daniel Johnston (00:32): The episode ends with a picture of Mabel and Tim Kono (Julian Cihi), proving that Gomez’ character has been lying to Charles and Oliver. “Don’t Be Scared” plays over the credits. The lyrics correlate with the collective characters’ voiceover narration about protecting secrets.

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 2 “Who Is Tim Kono?”

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack on Hulu

  • “Odessa” by Caribou (00:21): Mabel attends a party with Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) and Zoe (Olivia Reis) during a flashback sequence. The Only Murders in the Building soundtrack song plays for just a few seconds. Lyrically, the track tells the story about a bickering couple.

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 3 “How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?”

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack on Hulu

  • “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police (00:32): Oliver finds a threatening message on his door, and discovers that his dog Winnie has been poisoned. He narrates about his neighbor, Sting, and how he knows little about the famous singer. The episode concludes with The Police musician performing his 1980 hit single — a thematic connection to an elevator encounter between Sting and Oliver.

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 4 “The Sting”

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack on Hulu

  • “If You’re Happy and You Know It” by Joe Raposo (00:14): After Jan plays a concertina, Charles plays the popular children’s song on his accordion.
  • “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart (00:14): Jan performs the 1978 single in response to Charles’ first song. Her selection thematically connects to an earlier scene where she wears a sweater that reads “The Only Thing Sexier Than a Bassoon… Is Me With a Bassoon.”
  • “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer (00:14): Charles plays another traditional song in response to Jan’s music. He gets lost in thought and then realizes that his musical partner has left the window. Jan leaves a note at Charles’ door moments later.

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 5 “Twist”

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack on Hulu

  • In “Twist,” the Only Murders in the Building soundtrack includes barely audible music at 00:14 when Mabel and Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) visit a convenience store, and also at 00:21 when Charles and Oliver confront Mabel.

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 6 “To Protect and Serve”

Only Murders in the Building Soundtrack on Hulu

  • “To Protect and Serve” features a barely-audible song at 00:14 when Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) speaks with her pregnant partner. The closes captioning text includes the description “soft music, indistinct singing.”

Only Murders in the Building season 1 airs weekly on Hulu through October 5, 2021. New episodes premiere every Tuesday. This article about the Only Murders in the Building soundtrack on Hulu will be updated as the series progresses.

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

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