Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.
As the Emmys swerve just around the corner, I wanted to look at one of the year’s best shows — Showtime’s Yellowjackets, which is currently up for three Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series. The witty, darkly comic series tracks the trials and traumas of a high school girls’ soccer team stranded in the mountains by a plane crash and how their situation ripples into the future of the survivors decades later.
It’s a (literally) killer showcase for its cast, including Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis as adult versions of the crash’s few remaining survivors. And the story is filled with amputations, poisonings, blood sacrifices, and explosions — and that’s only one-half of the show’s time-hopping tragedy. With its heady mix of Lost and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s easy to see why it’s getting so much praise.
One hardly-undersung element, ironically enough, is the score courtesy of Craig Wedren and this week’s guest, Anna Waronker. A veteran of the LA alternative/indie scene, Waronker made her bones as frontwoman of alt-rock band that dog; she soon moved into film and TV composing with films like Josie and the Pussycats and, most recently, shows like Hulu’s Shrill. Those grungy alt-rock roots are in full force in her and Wedren’s work on the Yellowjackets, personified in its earworm of an opening title track, “No Return.”
This week, I’m here with Anna to talk about coming up as a composer, how her riot-grrl sensibilities translated to film and TV scoring, and the subversive approaches she and Wedren took to Yellowjackets (as well as her solo work for fellow Showtime comedy I Love This For You.
Both Yellowjackets and I Love This For You are currently streamable on Showtime. You can also listen to the score for the first season of Yellowjackets on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Lakeshore Records.