The Painkiller soundtrack includes music by Simon & Garfunkel, Beastie Boys and Rick Ross. This info article contains spoilers and song details for Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster’s 2023 Netflix miniseries. Visit the Soundtracks of Television section for more Vague Visages music guides.
Painkiller stars Uzo Aduba as Edie Flowers, a federal investigator who learns about an OxyContin problem in America. Matthew Broderick co-stars as Richard Sackler, the head of Purdue Pharma. The storyline follows Edie as she desperately tries to prevent an epidemic. Composer Matt Morton (Apollo 11) scored the Netflix miniseries; music supervisors Marc Mondello (The Rookie) and Liza Richardson (Friday Night Lights) handled the featured needle-drops. Here’s every song in Painkiller, an adaptation of Patrick Radden Keefe’s 2017 article “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” and Barry Meier’s 2018 book Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic.
Read More at VV — Soundtracks of Television: ‘Black Mirror’
Painkiller Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 1 “The One to Start With, The One to Stay With”
- “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel (00:01): The Painkiller soundtrack song accompanies the opening sequence. Richard wakes up and looks around his home. He throws fruit at a smoke alarm.
- “Down in My Hometown” by The Flatlanders (00:08): Edie talks about when she first learned about OxyContin. The music continues during a flashback scene. Edie meets with a doctor in Hillsville, Virginia.
- “Top Yourself” by The Raconteurs (00:10): Edie talks about the process for acquiring OxyContin. Glen (Taylor Kitsch) works in Mount Airy, North Carolina. He gives orders to his step-son, Tyler (Jack Mulhern).
- “I Know” by Collin McCoy & August Whitaker (00:14): Tyler works at Kryger Tires. The Painkiller soundtrack song drops as Glen complains about unfinished work. Tyler operates a machine.
- “Blow Your Whistle” by Chuck Brown feat. The Soul Searchers (00:27): A 1998 scene begins. Edie checks her mail in Roanoke, Virginia. She plays a video game.
- “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys (00:37): Britt (Dina Shihabi) delivers a speech. She says that doctors don’t respect pain. Shannon (West Duchovny) applies lipstick to her mouth.
- “Candy” by Iggy Pop (00:47): Edie asks a doctor about OxyContin. The track continues during a transition scene. Edie speaks to investigators about medical malpractice.
Read More at VV — Soundtracks of Television: ‘FUBAR’
Painkiller Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 2 “Jesus Gave Me Water”
- “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads (00:00): The Painkiller soundtrack song scores the opening sequence. Edie talks about Arthur. She explains his advertising strategy for OxyContin.
- “Who Do You Love?” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers (00:04): Britt exits a doctor’s office with Shannon. She tells her to get used to aggressive flirting. Shannon says, “Fuck that guy.”
- “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by Rev. James Cleveland (00:24): Edie talks about “the power of showmanship.” Glen appears in a Purdue Pharma commercial. He speaks to Shannon at a convention.
- “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard (00:28): Glen looks for missing OxyContin pills. The Painkiller soundtrack song continues during a transition scene. Britt pops a bottle of champagne.
- “El Diferente” by Frankie Figueroa (00:33): A brief montage begins. Edie talks about the first human trials for OxyContin. Women receive treatment in Puerto Rico.
- “Daydream” by The Lovin’ Spoonful (00:42): Edie finishes a prison meeting with Shawn (Jamaal Grant). The track continues during a transition scene. Glen visits Cracker Barrel with his family.
Read More at VV — Soundtracks of Television: ‘XO, Kitty’
Painkiller Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 3 “Blizzard of the Century”
- “Hustlin'” by Rick Ross (00:09): Edie cracks her knuckles. The Painkiller soundtrack song kicks in as she talks about knowing “two things.” Edie explains how Curtis Wright (Noah Harpster) left the FDA for Purdue Pharma.
- “Tusk” by Cast (00:10): Richard hosts a party. Tuba players perform a Fleetwood Mac cover song. Richard talks about “The Wise One.”
- “TBA” by TBA (00:13): A news report begins. The track scores a montage sequence. Reporters talk about OxyContin and Purdue Pharma.
- “Get It Get It” by Kikback (00:25): Shannon drives a vehicle. The Painkiller soundtrack song plays from the speaker system. Shannon parks her car.
- “Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crüe (00:28): An interior scene begins. Britt works out and listens to music. Shannon enters the room.
- “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (00:37): Edie talks about America being on the verge of an epidemic. The track continues during a transition scene. Glen consumes OxyContin while driving a vehicle.
Read More at VV — Soundtracks of Television: ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’
Painkiller Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 4 “Is Believed”
- “Chicken Train Stomp” by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils (00:05): Edie talks about “things at the bottom.” The Painkiller soundtrack song is featured during a flashback scene. A man drives a vehicle in Blacksburg, Virginia.
- “Feel So Good” by Mase (00:17): Richard folds a tie. The track continues during a transition scene. Britt enters a car dealership with Shannon.
- “Hustlin'” by Rick Ross (00:28): The track scores a montage sequence. Curtis meets with Purdue Pharma executives. Edie says, “Oh, they’re real good.”
Read More at VV — Soundtracks of Television: ‘The Diplomat’
Painkiller Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 5 “Hot! Hot! Hot!”
- “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” by The Platters (00:00): The Painkiller soundtrack song plays during the opening flashback sequence. A 50s scene begins in New York City. Young Raymond (Daniel Henkel) exits a vehicle with Young Richard (David Kohlsmith).
- “TBA” by TBA (00:06): Shannon drives a vehicle. Music plays from the speaker system. Shannon talks to a recruit.
- “TBA” by TBA (00:38): Britt and Shannon attend a convention. A woman in an OxyContin suit performs. She sings about Purdue Pharma.
- “Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite (00:45): A club sequence begins. The Painkiller soundtrack song plays from the speaker system. Shannon consumes a shot of alcohol with Britt.
- “Macarena” by Los del Rio (00:52): A club sequence continues. Britt trips out on OxyContin. Music plays from the speaker system.
- “Step into the Breeze” by Spiritualized (00:55): Shannon navigates a club. She continues to trip out. Glen struggles in a bathroom.
Read More at VV — Soundtracks of Television: ‘Beef’
Painkiller Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 6 “What’s in a Name?”
- “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground & Nico (00:14): Glen exits a clinic. The Painkiller soundtrack song continues as he enters a vehicle. Tyler inquires about methadone.
- “This Gift” by Mudhoney (00:29): Glen wakes up in a motel room. Music plays loudly from an adjacent room. Glen discovers dead bodies and OxyContin.
- “Kettering” by The Antlers (00:36): Glen dies in his vehicle from an overdose. The track continues during a transition scene. Lily (Carolina Bartczak) eats with her daughter.
- “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel (00:42): Richard hears a smoke detector. He walks up a staircase. The Painkiller soundtrack song scores the episode’s final moments and end credits.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.