How the Music of ‘Fallout’ Juxtaposes Lucy’s ‘Sheltered’ Vault Dweller Life With the Wasteland’s ‘Harsh Realities’

Prime Video’s “Fallout” introduces audiences to many notable Easter eggs from the video game source material — from the soft drink Nuka-Cola to the potion RadAway. It also leverages classic songs from artists like Nat King Cole and
Johnny Cash to establish the retro style for which the games are known.

In the game “Fallout 3,” for instance, players can access Galaxy News Radio and hear 20 songs from the ’40s and ’50s. Diamond City Radio plays ’50s rockabilly music in “Fallout 4,” while “Fallout: New Vegas” has Mojave Music Radio, which adds country to the mix.

“We wanted to take what the game had started with and try to elevate that by connecting it to the characters and telling the story with a lot of the music from the (Golden Oldies) era,” music supervisor Trygge Toven told TheWrap. “We were
focusing on the irony of the story and playing up the irony with the songs and having the score be the drama. So it was fun to hand off between the score and songs in that way.”

The use of music is key in showcasing the growth of naive Vault Dweller Lucy MacLean (Ella Purnell), who ventures to the surface on a quest to save her father Hank (Kyle MacLachlan), as well as juxtaposing the harsh realities she encounters
in the Wasteland.

“In the vault, it’s very ironic and sheltered,” Toven explained. “So a lot of the songs are in that realm of ‘everything’s fine, life is good and here we are.’ And then gradually we have a little more doo-wop and it’s more love-driven and a little bit more opened up. But it was still within her world. So that was trying to gradually show her growth in the story as the curtain is pulled and we start to see maybe it’s not as perfect as they think it is. In the Wasteland, it’s a little more gritty and real. So it wasn’t like we’re going to a totally different world, but (we used) songs that were more based in reality, which was fun.”

Some tunes are pulled directly from the games, such as The Ink Spots’ “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire,” Jack Shaindlin’s “I’m Tickled Pink,” Betty Hutton’s “It’s a Man” and Cole’s “Orange Colored Sky.”

“Obviously, The Ink Spots are the main artist because they use so many of their songs (in the games) and we had five of their songs in the season,” Toven said. “That group has this very melancholy vocal and it just speaks to what you feel the character is going through in this crazy world. It’s beautiful and tragic at the same time.”

But Toven noted it was also important to find a balance with lesser-known “hidden gems” from big artists. For example, Cash’s “All Over Again.”

“There are tons of people that are watching this and never played the game,” he said. “So you’re opening up a whole new audience to a sound that isn’t necessarily used all the time. It’s pretty fun to have people, especially a younger audience, listening to this music that their grandparents or great-grandparents listened to.
It’s pretty crazy to think about.”

His favorite song in Season 1 is Cole’s dreamy 1964 track, “I Don’t Want to See Tomorrow,” from the finale.

“We’re watching this chaos finally come to a head and wondering, ‘Oh, can we just go back to the Vault now?’” Toven said. “We’re in absolute chaos, everyone’s fighting. So that one stuck out to me and it’s just a beautiful song. We ended up using it on the teaser trailer as well.”

As for what audiences can expect to hear in Season 2, Toven said he hasn’t had those conversations yet, though he did point out that there are plenty of great tunes from the games that never found a place in the first season.

“There will be some iconic ones from the games, but it’s a matter of going deeper within those worlds and those artists and those sounds,” he said. “It’s all driven by the story and trying to match the emotion of those particular scenes with the character’s journey.”

This story first ran in the Drama Series issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.

The post How the Music of ‘Fallout’ Juxtaposes Lucy’s ‘Sheltered’ Vault Dweller Life With the Wasteland’s ‘Harsh Realities’ appeared first on TheWrap.