2020s

Soundtracks of Cinema: ‘8-Bit Christmas’

The 8-Bit Christmas soundtrack includes music by Darlene Love, Black Sabbath and Steely Dan. This info article contains spoilers for Michael Dowse’s 2021 HBO Max movie. Check out Vague Visages’ Soundtracks of Cinema section for more music guides.

8-Bit Christmas stars Neil Patrick Harris as Jake Doyle, a Chicago resident who reflects about his childhood. Winslow Fegley co-stars as a younger version of the protagonist who hopes to acquire a Nintendo system during the 1988 Christmas season. Composer Joseph Trapanese (Shadow and Bone) scored the holiday film; music supervisor Madonna Wade-Reed (All American) selected the featured tracks. Here’s every song in 8-Bit Christmas, an adaptation of Kevin Jakubowski’s 2013 book.

8-Bit Christmas Soundtrack: Every Song in the 2021 HBO Max Movie

8-Bit Christmas Soundtrack - Every Song in the HBO Max Movie

  • “A Marshmallow World” by Darlene Love (00:01:00): The 8-Bit Christmas soundtrack song plays during the opening sequence. Adult Jake and Annie (Sophia Reid-Gantzert) walk down a Chicago sidewalk. The music fades after Harris’ character slips and answers his phone.
  • “Paperboy Theme” by Warner Bros. Entertainment (00:03:00): Adult Jake introduces Annie to his Nintendo console. He blows on a Paperboy cartridge to “maybe” remove the dust. The theme music can be heard as the game starts.
  • “Waiting for Your Phone Call” by Anoraak (00:04:00): Adult Jake tells Annie a story about receiving his first Nintendo when he was 11 years old. The music sets in during a transition sequence to the late 80s. “Waiting for Your Phone Call” scores the title sequence.
  • “Jingle Bells” by Patti Page (00:09:00): Young Jake decides that he needs to get his own Nintendo. The 8-Bit Christmas soundtrack song accompanies an exterior home shot. Jake strategizes about acquiring an 8-bit entertainment system.
  • “Die Young” by Black Sabbath (00:15:00): Josh Jagorski (Cyrus Arnold) pushes kids at the top of a snow mountain.  Jake narrates about the character’s uncertain age. The kids begin a new game of King of the Mountain.
  • “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler (00:18:00): Timmy Keane (Chandler Dean) holds court outside his Chicago home. The music plays as various kids cheer and hope to try out Nintendo’s new Power Glove.
  • “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy (00:20:00): Timmy demonstrates the power of the Power Glove. Jake narrates about witnessing history. Tammy Hodges (Brielle Rankins) wins a Nintendo battle using a regular controller.
  • “Obsession” by Animotion (00:25:00): Young Jake heads to school wearing girls boots. He describes his mother’s accidental purchase as a “death sentence.” Adult Jake notes that the boots were also flowered and French.
  • “Town Called Malice” by The Jam (00:32:00): Young Jake sells wreaths and spots a competitor, Jeff Farmar (Max Malas). Adult Jake recalls kids working hard “in the name of Nintendo.” He states that a swarm of “snot-nosed Gordon Gekkos” had been born.
  • “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” by Mabel Scott (00:39:00): Young Jakes arrives at Prairie Pines Nursing Home. He intends to sell Christmas wreaths, in collaboration with his sister, Lizzy (Bellaluna Resnick). The 8-Bit Christmas soundtrack song plays as Jake assists elderly people.
  • “Peg” by Steely Dan (00:41:00): John (Steve Zahn) plays a cassette tape in his vehicle. Adult Jake narrates about selling 43 wreaths at the nursing home. He tries to help his sister Lizzy get a Cabbage Patch Kid.
  • “Rampage Theme” by Warner Bros. Entertainment (00:45:00): Young Jake imagines a Nintendo console speaking to him. He plays Rampage while hypnotized by the 8-bit entertainment system. Adult Jake narrates about the game of his life.
  • “Let’s Get On with It” by Clarence Murray (00:57:00): Young Jake wins a wreath-selling contest. He receives a brand new set of world encyclopedias instead of a Nintendo system.
  • “Tell No Lies” by Spoons (01:03:00): Adult Jake reflects about a roller rink miracle. The 8-Bit Christmas soundtrack song plays during a flashback sequence. Young Jake attends a birthday party.
  • “Sleigh Ride” by The Ronettes (01:20:00): Young Jake wakes up on Christmas Day. Lizzy checks out the Christmas tree. Jake can tell that he didn’t receive a Nintendo.
  • “Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney” by The Hutchinson Sunbeams (01:24:00): Young Jake receives a Lite-Brite gift from his uncle. The older version of the character reflects about Christmas 1988. The song fades as Jake talks on the phone with Trotter.

*

The 8-Bit Christmas soundtrack also includes:

  • “Days of Glory” by Jesse Gnaedinger
  • “Silent Night” by Mai Tai Orchestra
  • “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” by Traditional
  • “Train to Win” by John Pickup
  • “Cook Book” from OPERATION: RABBIT by Carl Stalling/Warner Bros. Entertainment

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

2 replies »