By Hannah Shearer
I’ll be the first to admit that I got way too into reality television while quarantining. I know myself and I’ve reflected on this fact and I’ve accepted it for what it is.
Even after all the months of losing brain cells watching people drink and fight, I don’t even know if I would call myself a reality TV fan. However, I have such a deep fascination with various aspects of the shows: the constant behind-the-scenes drug scandals, the scripted transition conversations and, of course, the weirdly dramatic music cues.
What I’m specifically talking about is the music on the Netflix original “Selling Sunset,” in which 8-foot-tall women and their 3-foot-tall twin bosses go out to lunch, drink at work and talk about how far Los Feliz is from West Hollywood (it’s really not that far), on top of selling houses in Los Angeles.
The royalty-free, EDM-adjacent music cues on this show are about five notches louder than the rest of the show and every song is about grabbing the night, changing the game and being on the go. Plus, they all use the same notes and lyrics, yet somehow there’s a distinction between each one for specific scenes.
When Taye Diggs goes to a Hollywood Hills open house in a fedora with a peacock feather, who made the decision to have the lyric “color the night in hue” play, regardless of the fact that it’s broad daylight?
When Mary Fitzgerald and Romain Bonnet fight about their wedding in yet another restaurant in Beverly Hills, how does the music supervisor know that the lyric “if this is love, then love is dangerous/Give me that paper cut,” exists? And what does that even mean?
I seriously need to know who wrote these rejected Zara Larsson songs. There is no way that any of these songs are real. They sound like they were written and recorded in a lab and sent directly to Netflix. But the craziest thing is the triple-digit plays on Spotify implying that these songs are widely known outside of this unhinged show, which has kept me up at night.
Who’s listening to these stock photo songs and are they okay? I can’t imagine they are.
What I’ll say in defense of these terrible music choices is that the songs match the surreal energy of the show. Of course a song that sounds like an industry plant set to music is playing while they show a house with eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. Both completely insane.
What else can you play in that context? Nothing. It has to be this. Every time they cut from one person yelling at someone else about literally nothing, they play one of these girlboss-esque songs. But what can I say, I’m obsessed with it.
I have zero answers to these questions and I think about them at least twice a week. However, once I get my Ph.D. in reality television music, maybe I’ll have uncovered the truth and can finally rest.