When the first season of Westworld arrived on our screens back in 2016, it became a talking point amongst viewers worldwide. Not only was the HBO drama (based on the eponymous 1973 film) fusing together sci-fi and western, but it was making it exciting, dangerous, and highly addictive. Westworld was a show that settled comfortably into a genre all of it's own while obtaining a mass following. And of course, with a killer show, you'd hope it comes with a killer soundtrack – and boy did Westworld deliver in a way that could not have been predicted.
Without revealing too much for those who haven't yet had the chance to view, the plot sees Dolores Abernathy from the town of Sweetwater (played by Evan Rachel Wood) a host, or a robot in layman's terms, and her peers Maeve, Hector and Teddy (Thandie Newton, Rodrigo Santoro, and James Marsden) following the journey to consciousness. In the Westeros park, designed specifically for humans to interact with hosts, paying guests can live out a wild western adventure. It gets slightly more complicated with two timelines running parallel throughout the series, the addition of "The Man in Black," played by Ed Harris, and the iconic Anthony Hopkins, joined by Sidse Babett Knudsen and Jeffrey Wright, playing God.
During each episode the star studded cast, breathtaking special effects, and stellar storyline are teamed with a truly phenomenal soundtrack. Composed by Ramin Djawadi (who also composed the music for Game Of Thrones), the soundtrack features some outstandingly beautiful original pieces in the score – but arguably the most impressive part of the soundtrack is the remakes of modern music. We've compiled the greatest cover versions Ramin Djawadi gave the Westeros revamp ahead of Season 2, before the show returns on April 22. It’ll air at the same time in the UK as in the US on Sky Atlantic, and be shown again on UK a day later on April 23.
Soundgarden – "Black Hole Sun"
Maybe my personal favourite from the soundtrack, Ramin Djwadi's version of Soundgarden's 1994 hit "Black Hole Sun" is the first known melody and features in the very first episode. Played on the piano which stands in the Mariposa, a bar and brothel in the town of Sweetwater, "Black Hole Sun" prepares us for what's to come.
The Rolling stones – Paint It Black Featured as the fast paced companion for a stand off between Rodrigo Santoro's bandit Hector and the townspeople of Sweetwater, the orchestral rendition of 'Paint It Black' makes an already edge-of-your-seat kind of scene even more tense.
Radiohead – "No Surprises"
In Episode 2, again back in the Mariposa saloon, Radiohead's "No Surprises" begins to play on the piano and is somehow charming, eerie, troubling, and beautiful… all at the same time. The song also loops on the old piano while Maeve, the madam of the Mariposa, talks about a voice inside her head to a guest. Creepy.
The Cure – "A Forest"
The classic Cure song which saw it's release in 1980 features in Episode 4 during a scene where hosts begin to truly question their reality and suffering breakdowns comes into play.
The Animals – "House Of The Rising Sun"
As with all the piano pieces, we are once again back at the Mariposa and soundtracked by the 1964 cult hit by The Animals. This song feels more like a connection between the title and the saloon, with Maeve observing her surroundings with disdain.
Amy Winehouse – "Back to Black"
The glitches for the hosts in the park are really beginning to take over as we draw to the close of the season, and beloved Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" serves as an aid to a jaw-dropping 8th Episode.
“You see the settings and the way people are dressed, and even though you know it’s robots and it’s all made to be modern entertainment, you would think the people in control would make everything authentic, including whatever is played on that player piano. It would be from that time period. And when it’s not, it’s that subtle reminder that, ‘Wait, there is something not right. This is not real.’ It’s just such a powerful tool that only music can do.” – Ramin Djwadi
Check out the trailer for Season 2 below which features a cover of Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box."