Every song is a love song. That’s the catchphrase of Soundtrack, the new musical drama which follows a group of young adults dealing with love, loss and luck and how they all intersect. However, the show wasn’t an immediate go, mostly because the actors wouldn’t be singing, but instead lip-synching to other famous songs, creator Joshua Safran explains on the latest episode of the “Watch With Us” podcast.
“I chose the songs first, and then I made the plot second,” he explains. “So I knew the world and I knew the characters, and I knew some of their dynamics.”
With that, he was off. He originally wanted the first song of the episode to be Kate Bush‘s “Hounds of Love.” However, the executives didn’t feel it told the story best. “So I went and I looked. It was very hard to find another song that fit that but ‘Elastic Heart’ came on one day and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ It was better than ‘Hounds of Love’ ever could have been telling that story.”
Once he had a list of songs he wanted, it was time to approach the artists. At the top of his list was Taylor Swift.
“I had to write personal letters to all 60 artists — or 50 that ultimately are in the show — about why their song was important to me. I had to send in script pages. If it was a mash-up, I’d have to send a demo of the mash-up for proof of concept,” Safran explains. “For Taylor Swift, I never thought she would ever allow her voice to come out of somebody else’s mouth. My music supervisor was like, ‘It’s never going to happen, but we should try.’ That was for her song ‘Delicate’ from Reputation, and she gave it to us.”
However, due to financial costs — not the cost of the song but just the overall production costs — not every song made it in. “Delicate” was one of the songs that was cut.
“I will always be so sad that I was not able to film that scene,” he says. “The show was a big show, and we just had to make some sacrifices.”
As for where the song would have ended up, it does sound pretty perfect.
“It opened episode 6. Mild spoiler alert, at the end of episode 4, Nellie (Callie Hernandez) has brought Sam (Paul James) to meet her parents for dinner and the dinner is gone horribly wrong. He’s heard about how fractured and sort of broken her family is,” Safran explains. “Episode 6 is the next time we see the two of them and it was a series of dates and romantic moments with them where she’s basically wondering, ‘My reputation has never been worse, but you must like me for me.’”
The series, which Safran says is his most personal project yet, is now streaming on Netflix.
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