- The Fargo season 5 soundtrack has a ton of great needle-drops in between pieces from its foreboding original score.
- The use of licensed music in FX’s Fargo ties back to the classic Coen brothers movie it was based on, which featured songs by Merle Haggard and Boy George.
- Fargo season 5 includes songs by such renowned artists as Yes, Rush, and Marilyn Manson.
The Fargo season 5 soundtrack is full of great needle-drops. The original Coen brothers movie is remembered for its creepy, foreboding score by regular Coen collaborator Carter Burwell, but it had its fair share of licensed music, too. “Big City” by Merle Haggard can be heard in the King of Clubs when Jerry meets with Carl and Gaear. Boy George’s cover version of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” is playing in the garage while Shep works. Carl and his escort watch a live nightclub performance of “Let’s Find Each Other Tonight” by José Feliciano.
Noah Hawley, the creator of the TV adaptation of Fargo, has kept that spirit alive with a bunch of awesome needle-drops. The latest season of Fargo, which stars Juno Temple as a Midwestern housewife with a dark past and Jon Hamm as the crooked lawman on her tail, has a terrific soundtrack. In Fargo season 5, Hawley has featured rock ‘n’ roll hits by Yes and Rush, classic tunes performed by Ralph Stanley and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and even a catchy number from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Fargo Season 5, Episode 1, “The Tragedy Of The Commons”
- “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes
- “Gloryland” by Ralph Stanley
- “Hey Joe” by Charlotte Gainsbourg
“I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes – This prog rock hit plays over the opening titles and into the opening scene of Fargo’s season 5 premiere. Dot is arrested for unwittingly tazing a police officer during a brawl at a meeting of the town’s fall festival planning committee.
“Gloryland” by Ralph Stanley – This song is playing when Dot is processed at the police station and thrown in a holding cell. The lyrics present America as a land of hope and glory, which adds an ironic bite to the show’s depiction of America as a lawless wasteland where something as unsuspecting as a small-town fall festival planning committee can descend into violence.
“Hey Joe” by Charlotte Gainsbourg – Charlotte Gainsbourg’s cover version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Hey Joe” plays as Dot dreams about Sheriff Tillman. The lyrics are all about a man who plans to kill a woman for cheating on him. This is similar to Dot’s connection to Sheriff Tillman, who wants to track her down for betraying him.
Fargo Season 5, Episode 2, “Trials And Tribulations”
- “Working Man” by Rush
- “Paranoid” by Grand Funk Railroad
- “This is Halloween” by Marilyn Manson
“Working Man” by Rush – This rock ‘n’ roll gem plays as Sheriff Tillman takes a bath in a big barrel outside and puffs on a cigarette. The use of this song reflects how Tillman sees himself and presents himself to the community: an honest, blue-collar working stiff (when the reality is that he’s an iron-fisted tyrant).
“Paranoid” by Grand Funk Railroad – This song can be heard as Dot and Scotty rig the house with gruesome Home Alone-style booby traps; they glue broken glass to a door handle and suspend a sledgehammer over the front door. The funky beat adds to the hilarious juxtaposition of the creation of grisly deathtraps with a heartwarming mother-child bonding experience.
“This is Halloween” by Marilyn Manson – Marilyn Manson’s cover of this spooky Halloween-themed ditty from The Nightmare Before Christmas plays as Gator pulls into the gas station where Dot’s standoff with Ole Munch took place. This song ties into the fearmongering tactics that Gator uses in his attempts to enforce law and order. It also sets up the horror-like sequence of Gator finding his partner murdered.
- “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford
- “Bogey Wail” by Jack Hylton
- “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves
- “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta” by Béla Bartók
- “Smack My B**** Up” by The Prodigy
“Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford – This folk classic about a coal miner can be heard in the opening scene of episode 3 as Tillman is driving late at night. Much like Rush’s “Working Man” in the last episode, this is another blue-collar anthem that ties into Tillman’s fabricated facade as an honest, hard-working, red-blooded American lawman. He listens to these songs because he believes they reflect his own life.
“Bogey Wail” by Jack Hylton – This spooky Halloween melody plays on the soundtrack as Dot sneaks around the neighborhood in the middle of the night and switches the road signs around to stop any more kidnappers with her address from finding the house. The creeping music pairs perfectly with the deviousness of Dot’s plan to throw the Tillmans off her tail.
“He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves – This song can be heard as an elderly lady gets home with several six-packs of beer, cracks open a couple of the beers, and watches tennis on TV. The song’s whimsical tune gets deeper and creepier and more distorted (and eventually morphs into a tense orchestral score) as she hears footsteps upstairs and realizes there’s someone in her house.
“Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta” by Béla Bartók – This unsettling classical tune plays on the soundtrack as Ole Munch lies in bed listening to the police scanner, waiting for a clue as to where he can find the Tillmans. This piece has been used in movies and TV a few times; it’s best known for its appearance in The Shining when Danny Torrance is invited to sit on his dad’s lap.
“Smack My B**** Up” by The Prodigy – This controversial big beat classic can be heard as Gator and his crew head out in their van to find Dot’s house on Halloween night. Trick-or-treaters head out for Halloween festivities while Tillman lights a candle in the church and calls Dot’s landline. The violent themes of the lyrics link to the menacing intentions of Gator’s manhunt for Dot.
Fargo Season 5, Episode 4, “Insolubilia”
- “I Got You Babe” by Tiny Tim
“I Got You Babe” by Tiny Tim – Tiny Tim’s ukulele cover of the Sonny & Cher classic plays as Gator and his crew break into Dot’s house and search for her. This happy-go-lucky tune creates an unnerving juxtaposition over such a scary, suspenseful scene.
Fargo Season 5, Episode 5, “The Tiger”
- “Fargo, North Dakota” by Carter Burwell
“Fargo, North Dakota” by Carter Burwell – The main theme from the Coen brothers’ original Fargo movie plays at the end of the episode when Dot finally tells the truth to Olmstead and leaves Scotty to stay with her while she heads off to sort out the Tillman business.
Fargo Season 5, Episode 6, “The Tender Trap”
Unlike its predecessors, Fargo season 5, episode 6, “The Tender Trap,” doesn’t feature any needle-drops on the soundtrack. The only musical accompaniment in this episode is the original score by long-time Fargo composer Jeff Russo.
Fargo is a Black Comedy Crime Drama television series that is based on the film of the same name, which was originally created by the Coen Brothers. The TV adaptation was developed by Noah Hawley and follows an anthology format for each of its seasons, taking place in a different time period or location within the “Fargo” universe. So far, the series has seen big-name stars like Billy Bob Thornton, Ewan McGregor, Chris Rock, and Kirsten Dunst.
- Release Date
- April 15, 2014
- Billy Bob Thornton , Allison Tolman , Martin Freeman , Kirsten Dunst , Patrick Wilson , Jesse Plemons , Ewan McGregor , Carrie Coon , Chris Rock , Jessie Buckley , Jason Schwartzman , Juno Temple , Jon Hamm