Setting the Mood: an Interview with Music

Supervisor Anna Romanoff

Adapted from the original film and novel by the same name, Zoe Kravitz plays Rob Brooks in the TV series High Fidelity (2020). Kravitz, a personal favorite nepo baby of mine and muse of the buccal fat removal craze, was only seven when her mother starred as one of the love interests in the original film. Contrary to previous iterations of Rob, the show complicates the character through telling the story from a queer, Black woman’s perspective. Rob owns a record shop and struggles to support her business in an industry that, similar to her love life, is crumbling. With Brooklyn’s Crown Heights as a backdrop, she tracks down her exes to understand why they left her. Neuroticism, perhaps? But the true star of the show is none other than its very own soundtrack; a carefully curated collection of odes to classic Soul, Funk, 90s RnB, Punk, Reggae, and contemporary Indie/Alt music. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, High Fidelity’s music supervisor, Manish Raval remarked that, “Music is the main character in the series; it’s the forefront of everything.” Raval, alongside Alison Rosenfeld and Tom Wolfe, gives the perfect gift of hits for the heartbroken as they sulk in silk pajamas, nursing their sorrows on a joint. 

Here are some of my recommendations straight from the soundtrack: 

America runs on Dunkin, Nummit runs on 65% of your dining dollars:
  • “Ashamed” – Omar Apollo
  • “Pains” – Silk Rhodes 
  • “Prototype” – OutKast 
  • “Day Dreaming” – Aretha Franklin
  • “Unsatisfied Woman” – Barbara Stant 
  • “Didn’t I” – Darondo
  • “In Search of Balance” – Reginald Omas Mamode IV
  • “Electric Relaxation” – A Tribe Called Quest
  • “Baby” – Gabriella Cohen
  • “Ndola-ngo” – Tim and Foty 
  • “Geninha” – Bango
  • “Baby Where You Are” – Ted Lucas

Worst for acapella, best for “not going through a phase, mom:” 
  • “You Make Me Sick” – Satan’s Rats
  • “Holiday in Cambodia” – Dead Kennedys 
  • “Burning Down the House” – Talking Heads
  • “I Just Might Crack” – The Makers 
  • “Alternative Ulster” – Stiff Little Fingers 
  • “House of Suffering” – Bad Brains
  • “Wild in the Streets” – Circle Jerks 
  • “War is Hell” by Ho99o9
  • “Rock-N-Roll Victim” – Death 
  • “Buchanan Hammer” – Los Tones 

The Verdict Is In: The Indie Boy Who Claimed To Be A Nice Guy, Is In Fact Not A Nice Guy:
  • “I’m Lonely” – Darondo
  • “Dancing Is The Best Revenge” – !!!, Lea Lea
  • “Violent” – Grapetooth 
  • “The Man Who Sold The World” – David Bowie 
  • “Lonely” – Swamp Dogg
  • “Skyway” – The Replacements 

Your parent with taste drives you to school:
  • “You Got Me” – The Roots, Tariq Trotter, Erykah Badu, Eve
  • “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
  • “Bobby Brown Goes Down” – by Frank Zappa 
  • “Arrow Through Me” – Wings 
  • “It Ain’t Easy” – David Bowie
  • “Ram Dancehall” – Double Tiger 

So you agree, you think you’re pretty: 
  • “La Foret” – Lescop
  • “I Can’t Stand the Rain” – Ann Peebles 
  • “Is It Any Wonder?” – Durand Jones and The Indications, Aaron Frazer 
  • “Juarez” – BOYTOY
  • “De Lejos” – Y La Bamba
  • “Memorabilia” – Soft Cell

Movie montage of a family baking pancakes: 
  • “Somebody Help Me” – Otis Brown 
  • “My Love For You” – ESG
  • “Merry Go Round” – The Equatics
  • “Straighten Up” – Yvonne Fair 
  • “Claim Jumpin” – Sam Dees