The Starling soundtrack includes music by The Lumineers, Nate Ruess and Brandi Carlile. This info article contains spoilers for Theodore Melfi’s 2021 Netflix movie. Visit the Soundtracks of Cinema section for more Vague Visages music guides.
Written by Matt Harris, The Starling follows a couple whose daughter passed away from SIDS. American actress Melissa McCarthy stars as Lilly Maynard, while Irish performer Chris O’Dowd co-stars as her institutionalized husband, Jack. The film’s soundtrack — supervised by Julie Michaels (A Star Is Born) — is full of adult contemporary music which thematically connects to the bird-in-flight subtext. Here’s every featured song in The Starling.
The Starling Soundtrack: Every Song in the 2021 Movie
- “Isabelle Fly” by The Lumineers (00:01:00): The Starling soundtrack song begins after the opening scene. “Isabelle Fly” scores the film’s nature-themed title sequence, in which a starling tends to a nest with its mate. The lyric “There’s only one way to fly” establishes the familial tone for the film’s narrative.
- “One Day at a Time” by Tacoma (00:04:00): After the title sequence, Lilly works at Save Everyday. She stares at various items, including a baby bob, before getting called to the produce section. The song title captures the protagonist’s frame of mind after losing her child to SIDS.
- “Find Another Reason Why” by Judah and the Lion (00:13:00): Lilly prepares for a day of outside work at home. As the song implies, she intends to distract herself from emotional stress by keeping herself busy. The music cuts abruptly when a starling interrupts Lilly’s work.
- “Simple Sound of Morning” by Nate Ruess (00:18:00): Lilly decides to get rid of Katie’s carriage. The lyric “All of my fears start to subside” aligns with a close-up of the character’s face. Lilly also removes various pieces of furniture and sits in a recliner while remembering a poignant moment with Jack during her pregnancy.
- “Out on the Road” by The Gravitons (00:31:00): Lilly visits a greenhouse for bird deterrent. The song plays lightly in the background and quickly fades. Moments later, Lilly purchases a fake owl.
- “Morning Sun” by Melody Gardot (00:48:00): Lilly plays music on her tape recorder. She sits next to Katie’s sock on a porch as the rain falls. The lyric “This world wasn’t made for you” correlates with Lilly’s perspective as she thinks about her deceased child.
- “Be Loved Actually” by Alyssa Garcia (00:54:00): Lilly and Jack travel in their car during a flashback sequence. The Starling soundtrack song plays as they discuss Hostess snacks while gazing at each other. “Be Loved Actually” cuts as Lilly avoids a car accident, not long after telling Jack that she got rid of items from Katie’s room.
- “Way Too Fine (Latin Remix)” by Tia P. (01:08:00): Lilly works at Save Everyday. The Starling soundtrack music can be heard as Travis (Timothy Olyphant) confronts McCarthy’s character about lowering prices on products.
- “The Last Time” by Brandi Carlile (01:10:00): Lilly spots new life in her garden. She repeats her name while looking at herself in a mirror. The lyric “Love is something you earn” underlines the concept that Lilly is ready to love herself once again, and also ready to begin a new life with her husband.
- “That Wasn’t Me” by Brandi Carlile (01:34:00): Lilly and Jack reunite. Seconds later, the lyric “These are better days” underscores the overall theme of the climax. The Starling soundtrack song continues during a character montage update and concludes with the final shot of the main characters figuratively building a new nest.
The Starling soundtrack also includes “Sunshine” by The Jaynetts.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.