Westworld Season Two's Top Five Song Covers
Fans have come to expect the popular HBO original series Westworld to deliver great original music by composer Ramin Djawadi, as well as his amazing instrumental covers of popular songs. Subsequently, identifying these covers has become a fun activity for fans. Season 2 follows the footsteps of season 1 by providing more memorable music. Here are my favorite song covers this season:
5. The Entertainer – 2x01 “Journey in Night”
Djawadi’s cover of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” closely resembles the original, with an added Western twist. The recognizable tune is eerily played over footage of a desolate Sweetwater filled with bodies of dead hosts, and Dolores shooting down guests on horseback. The incongruity of this cheerful song - coming from the player piano - over violent imagery ironically reminds us that the hosts and park no longer exist for the humans’ entertainment.
4. Runaway – 2x02 “Reunion”
We hear the cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway” in a flashback where Logan is being convinced about the hosts, still in their controllable state. The instrumental arrangement is optimistic and lighthearted, reflecting the happier, simpler times during the hosts’ early creation. However, it ends on a more dramatic note, foreshadowing the serious events to come. Meanwhile - whether intentional or not - the title could be referring to the fact that the hosts have gone rogue. It’s another unlikely song cover that Djawadi magically arranges to perfectly fit the scene.
3. Seven Nation Army – 2x03 “Virtù e Fortuna"
Djawadi’s sitar cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” helps introduce us to The Raj, a theme park based on a British-colonized India. At first, the iconic song is subtle. But as it hits the main riff, the track is instantly recognizable and sounds wonderful. Covering a modern rock song with sitars in a archaic setting sounds like an unlikely combination, but Djawadi is able to pull off something great. Like all the popular song covers in Westworld, this piece of music naturally fits the setting while also highlighting the artificiality of the park.
2. Heart-Shaped Box – 2x08 “Kiksuya”
In one of the more heartfelt episodes this season, we hear a cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” played over Acheketa discovering his wife in cold storage among other decommissioned hosts. The sombre, melancholy track perfectly fits the heartbreaking scene by capturing the love and loss Acheketa feels for his wife and fellow hosts. The arrangement seamlessly fits into the rest of Westworld’s score, while retaining the original song’s distinct tune.
1. Paint It, Black – 2x05 “Akane No Mai”
Yes, we’ve already heard a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” back in season 1, in a very similar situation. But man, is this cover great. In Shogun World, we get a heist scene that mimics the one back in Sweetwater, with the music accompaniment also paralleled. However instead of a western themed arrangement, this time we get one with traditional Japanese instruments. The familiar opening tune of the song cues viewers in to the mimicked heist. This arrangement both fits the heist setting, whilst also being amusingly uncanny in its repetition. The whole action set piece is glorious to watch, and the stirring music elevates it further.