How The Boys Chooses Its Billy Joel Songs (and Entire Season 2 Soundtrack)

By | September 17, 2020
  • The Boys has one of the best soundtracks on TV—and a whole lot of Billy Joel.
  • Each needle drop is meticulously plotted and chosen for the specific moment in the series.
  • “I put an incredible amount of love and attention into picking the right songs for The Boys,” says showrunner Eric Kripke

    We’re only midway through Season 2 of The Boys, but the characters are already so well defined that it’s easy to explain their personalities in just a word or two. Homelander (Antony Starr), for example, is evil. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), certainly, is brash. The Deep (Chace Crawford) is lost, Starlight (Erin Moriarty) is down-to-earth and kind, and Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) is well-adjusted (all things considered, that is). With Hughie (Jack Quaid), well, his thing is special. Because his thing is that he loves Billy Joel. And when we say he loves Billy Joel, we mean he loooooves Billy Joel. Listens to him all the time. Talks about him all the time. References him all the time. It’s a thing.

    And when you’re a TV show, and your de facto main character loves Billy Joel, well, that means you get to play a lot of Billy Joel. And that’s exactly what The Boys does. There’s a ton to like about The Boys, from the compelling story to the dark humor to the great performances, but one of the most important factors to all of that sticking together is the show’s A+ soundtrack, which can start with Billy Joel and transition to punk rock or hip-hop—whatever fits, really—with a moment’s notice.

    “I put an incredible amount of love and attention into picking the right songs for The Boys. The editors, music supervisors and I will try dozens and dozens of tracks in the editing room until we land on the right one,” showrunner Eric Kripke says. “We tend to lean towards punk rock because it seems to fit the anarchic spirit of The Boys, or lots of classic rock just because I really, really love classic rock.”

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    And he’s lived up to those loves so far in Season 2, obviously with multiple Billy Joel songs, but also opening the season with a Rolling Stones classic and closing episode 2 out with the fitting “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads. It’s all done in service of the show and what fits best—which is why we can also find a moment where The Deep is getting entrenched in a cult, tripping on a psychedelic, listening to the Goo Goo Dolls.

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    Kripke is constantly looking for songs that might work in the show. And that can mean sudden ‘aha!’ moments. “Sometimes, like Iggy Pop in The Boys pilot, I found the song on my car radio as I was driving in,” he says. “But each and every time, it takes a lot of trial and error.”

    Quaid is just as into music as his Joel-obsessed character is; he says he makes a playlist for every character he plays (he’s previously appeared in HBO’s Vinyl and the romantic comedy Plus One, among others) and has shared his own selections in an expansive playlist for Hughie with Amazon over on Spotify.

    So when you find yourself watching superheroes-behaving-badly in The Boys and tapping your toes to the Goo Goo Dolls, or air-strumming a Talking Heads bassline, or singing along to “We Didn’t Star The Fire” like Hughie and Starlight know that you can feel good about it. That was the whole point.

    Below, you can check out all the songs on The Boys Season 2 soundtrack so far. This story will be updated after every episode.

    Episode 1 “The Big Ride”

    “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones

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    “Double Audition” – Medine

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    “Pressure” – Billy Joel

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    Episode 2 “Proper Preparation and Planning”

    “Indé-structible” – Guizmo

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    “Iris” – Goo Goo Dolls

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    “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” – Billy Joel

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    “Psycho Killer” – Talking Heads

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    Episode 3 “Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men”

    “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” – Billy Joel

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    Episode 4 “Nothing Like it in the World”

    “Le Temps” – Kaaris

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    “We Didn’t Start The Fire” – Billy Joel

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