2020s

Soundtracks of Television: ‘Dopesick’

Dopesick Soundtrack - Every Featured Song in the Hulu Series

The Dopesick soundtrack features music by Johnny Cash, Mazzy Star and Elvis Presley. This info article contains spoilers for Danny Strong’s 2021 Hulu miniseries. Visit the Soundtracks of Television section for more Vague Visages music guides.

Dopesick examines the opioid crisis in America over several decades. Michael Keaton stars as Dr. Samuel Finnix, an Appalachian doctor who learns about OxyContin and prescribes the drug to various locals, including a miner named Betsy Mallum (Kaitlin Dever). Peter Sarsgaard co-stars as Rick Mountcastle, a Virginia attorney who investigates a conspiracy involving Purdue Pharma. Supervised by Amanda Krieg Thomas (American Crime Story), the soundtrack aligns with the 90s setting and focal mining community. Here’s a breakdown of every featured song in Dopesick, an adaptation of Beth Macy’s 2018 book.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 1 “First Bottle”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 3 "The 5th Vital Sign"

  • “Wayfaring Stranger” by Johnny Cash (00:03:00): The Dopesick soundtrack song kicks in after the opening title card. “Wayfaring Stranger” plays during an expositional sequence about an Appalachian mining community. The music and visuals establish the blue-collar nature of the Virginia setting, and the song can be heard again at 00:07:00.
  • “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star (00:12:00): Betsy hangs out with her girlfriend, Grace (Cleopatra Coleman). She jokes about her mother’s naivete regarding their sexuality. Betsy drinks from a bottle of Jim Beam; a moment of peace before suffering a life-changing injury.
  • “Lonely Nights” by Tarnation (00:41:00): Betsy and Grace share an intimate moment in bed. The Dopesick soundtrack music plays as the latter character cries. Grace explains that she wants to move to Eureka Springs, Arkansas with Betsy.
  • “Pretty Bird” by Hazel Dickens (00:59:00): Jerry Mallum (Ray McKinnon) prays for his daughter, Betsy. A wide transition shot captures the layout of the community. Samuel drives away in his truck as the episode ends.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 2 “Breakthrough Pain”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 3 "The 5th Vital Sign"

  • “Drop” by The Jesus and Mary Chain (00:25:00): The Dopesick soundtrack music scores a restaurant scene. Bridget drinks a glass of wine. “Drop” continues as the DEA agent remembers meeting with Paul (Raúl Esparza) in 1999.
  • “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore” by Kitty Wells (00:32:00): Samuel and Billy visit a market called Nancy’s. An employee named Bo takes their order. The music fades as Billy reveals that he’s not close with his father.
  • “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley (00:36:00): Grace arrives at her trailer. Betsy states that she’s ready to go after coming out to her mother and being ignored. “Blue Christmas” plays lightly throughout the scene.
  • “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (00:47:00): The Dopesick soundtrack tune scores a 1996 sequence. Samuel attends a Purdue Pharma event in Scottsdale, Arizona. The music continues as he meets Dr. Russell Portenoy (Shane Callahan), a pain expert whose writing helped the Appalachian doctor cope with his wife’s death.
  • “She’s My Baby” by Mazzy Star (00:59:00): Purdue Pharma introduces an 80 milligram pill. Billy claps yet also looks concerned. “She’s My Baby”scores the final sequence in which Betsy trips out with a grin on her face.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 3 “The 5th Vital Sign”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 3 "The 5th Vital Sign"

  • “Thinking of a Master Plan” by YZ (00:33:00): Bridget and Paula eat while watching a street dancer. The 1989 jam plays as Dawson’s character answers her phone. “Thinking of a Master Plan” fades as Mike Wayton from Wayton’s Pharmacy reveals that a thief died from an Oxy overdose.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 4 “Pseudo-Addiction”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 4 "Pseudo-Addiction"

  • “Bad Habit” by The Offspring (00:29:00): Betsy runs into Grace at a convenience store while suffering from withdrawal symptoms. She makes a phone call and plans to “go to Florida.” A dealer picks up Betsy as the the lyric “I’ve got a bad habit” reinforces the thematic message.
  • “Like Spinning Plates” by Radiohead (00:34:00): Drea tells Samuel to delete her number after being asked to provide an Oxy sample. In a transition sequence, a doctor speaks about the pain of withdrawal. The Radiohead track plays again at 00:55:00 when Samuel visits a drug dealer.
  • “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Doris Day (00:57:00): Samuel crushes Oxy pills at home. He plays a record and imagines his late wife. The Dopesick soundtrack song closes out the episode.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 5 “The Whistleblower”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 5 "The Whistleblower"

  • “Cheaters Can’t Win” by Margaret Lewis (00:30:00): Diane Mallum (Mare Winningham) looks at her jewel box. She realizes that her daughter Betsy most likely pawned the items for drug money. The Dopesick soundtrack song fades as Samuel speaks with a doctor about a botched surgery.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 6 “Hammer the Abusers”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 6 "Hammer the Abusers"

  • “Me and God” by Ralph Stanley (00:30:00): Samuel leaves rehab and attempts to remain sober. Betsy prays with her family before a meal. The Dopesick soundtrack music continues as Samuel begins using drugs again.
  • “Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine (00:57:00): Bridget reaches an epiphany in her case against Purdue Pharma. She breaks the fourth wall while screaming “I got you!” “Sleep Now in the Fire” closes out the episode.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 7 “Black Box Warning”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 7 "Black Box Warning"

  • “Messa De Requiem” by Giuseppe Verdi (00:05:00): Mortimer Sackler donates $1 million to The Sackler Center for Arts Education. Richard inquires about the status of OxyContin for children.

Dopesick Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 8 “The People vs. Purdue Pharma”

Dopesick Soundtrack on Hulu - Episode 8 "The People vs. Purdue Pharma"

  • “Black Is the Color” by Jean Ritchie (00:41:00): Samuel picks up Elizabeth Ann McClung (Alayna Hester). He spots a school bus and decides to transport a group of locals to a doctor. The music fades as Elizabeth speaks with a miner.
  • “Gloryland” by Ralph Stanley (00:58:00): The Dopesick soundtrack song plays during an archival news sequence in 2019. Photographer Nan Goldin leads a protest rally. David and Dr. Kathe Sackler defend their family’s actions at a congressional hearing.
  • Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.

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