How Steve Blackman Chose ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Soundtrack

The Umbrella Academy Netflix’s new superhero sensation – though earning praise for its unique approach to an oversaturated genre, is also receiving admiration for its stellar soundtrack.

'The Umbrella Academy' Cast at Comic Con
‘The Umbrella Academy’ Cast at NY Comic Con | Getty Images

Adding to the show’s impressive ensemble including Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Emmy Raver-Lampman, and Tom Hopper, the soundtrack virtually functions as an additional character.

Elaborate dance numbers choreographed to “I Think We’re Alone Now” and a shootout filmed to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” are just two examples that illustrate the soundtrack’s contribution to the show’s overall absurdity.

Though a superhero show, The Umbrella Academy never takes itself too seriously – always leaving room for a laugh – the soundtrack only augments the show’s thematic undertones.

The songs are part of the script

In an interview with SYFY Wire, Steve Blackman (the show’s creator) explains that the songs constitute part of his script-writing process. He stated:

“I don’t just say, ‘Let’s play a cool song. I write them in the script. In the pilot, when we’re in Griddy’s with Five [Aidan Gallagher] and he’s shooting everyone up, I put a song, They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul,” which really shouldn’t work with what’s going on, but was great…I went out of my way to find songs that shouldn’t work in a scene, and they did. Other times, I just wanted to pull at the heartstrings.”

SyFy Wire

Throughout the first season of The Umbrella Academy, the songs pose an ironic counterpart to the scenes fraught with dramatic intensity. Rather than foraying into the world of action saga cliches, it appears that Blackman took a note from those behind Deadpool; remember when Ryan Reynolds slew a few guys while jamming to Dolly Parton’s “9-5?”

The soundtrack compliments the show to the extent that, without it, something would feel amiss. Blackman explained to SyFy Wire that, unlike making a playlist, you can’t just pick your favorite jams; the songs you choose must improve the scene at hand.

Before getting into the song that the cast would like to see appear in season two, take a look below at the full season one soundtrack.

‘The Umbrella Academy’ soundtrack

  1. Hazy Shade of Winter (feat Ray Toro) – Gerard Way, Ray Toro
  2. Kill Of The Night – Gin Wigmore
  3. Saturday Night – Bay City Rollers
  4. Happy Together (feat Ray Toro) – Gerard Way, Ray Toro
  5. Soul Kitchen – The Doors
  6. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
  7. One – Three Dog Night
  8. In The Heat Of The Moment – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Bird
  9. Istanbul – They Might Be Giants
  10. (Feels Like) Heaven – Fiction Factory
  11. Dancing in the Moonlight – Top Loader
  12. Mad About You – Hooverphonic
  13. Something On Your Mind – Karen Dalton
  14. All Die young – Smith Westerns
  15. Mary – Big Thief
  16. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
  17. Exit Music (For a Film) – Radiohead
  18. Sinnerman – Nina Simone

Season Two: more Queen and a little Prince, please?

According to SyFy Wire, the main cast members have high hopes for the season two soundtrack. Tom Hopper, the actor behind Luther Hargreeves, would like to see more Queen songs appear in the next season.

Emmy Raver-Lampan (Allison Hargreeves) is hoping for a few Prince songs, while Robert Sheehan (Klaus) is pushing for George Michael, according to Syfy Wire.