The ’90s Songs We’d Love to Hear in “Yellowjackets” Season 2

These are the period-appropriate tracks we'd love to see turn up on the survival show's next season

January 25, 2022 6:35 am
Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci in "Yellowjackets."
Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci in "Yellowjackets."

Warning: this post contains spoilers for the first season of Yellowjackets.

It’s been over a week since Yellowjackets aired its highly anticipated season finale and left us on a major cliffhanger, and we still can’t stop thinking about what the second season of the Showtime drama might have in store for us. (Who will play adult Lottie? Will Adam’s body be found? And did Taissa really consciously sacrifice her dog and leave its head on a makeshift altar in her basement to win an election!?)

We’ll leave all the plot theorizing to Reddit detectives, but while we wait patiently for the show’s next season — which the network confirmed will debut later this year — we can’t help but wonder which beloved ’90s tracks will turn up in its sophomore effort. Season 1 already brought us memorable moments soundtracked by the likes of Hole, Dinosaur Jr., Portishead and The Offspring; with that in mind, we’ve put together a wishlist of some of our favorite period-appropriate songs we’d love to see next time around.

For the purposes of this list, we’re limiting ourselves to songs that were released no later than 1996, the year the main characters’ plane crashed. It is, of course, entirely possible that next season will flash forward to some point in ’97 or beyond (after all, we know they were stuck out there for 19 months). But for accuracy’s sake, we’re sticking with pre-’97 bangers here. Give ’em a spin while you wait for any news of Season 2, and remember that in the words of Lottie, we won’t be hungry much longer.

The Breeders, “Cannonball” (1993)

Season 1 featured tracks by Throwing Muses and Belly, so it only feels right that the second go-around should complete the Tanya Donelly trilogy and include a Breeders song. Of course, Donelly had left the band to focus on her work with Belly by the time Last Splash was recorded, but still, “Cannonball” feels like the most obvious pick.

Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun” (1994)

There’s a certain level of psychedelic creepiness to “Black Hole Sun” that makes it right at home on a potential Yellowjackets soundtrack — it could definitely serve as the perfect backdrop to one of Lottie’s episodes — and lines like “Boiling heat, summer stench, ‘neath the black, the sky looks dead” seem like they could easily be applied to being stranded in the wilderness during a heat wave.

Bikini Kill, “Rebel Girl” (1992)

This one seems like a no-brainer for some sort of flashback to Natalie giving it a spin in her room pre-plane crash — or maybe the soundtrack to even present-day Natalie fighting back against the cult that captured her at the end of Season 1. It’s too bad Jackie died in the finale, though; “That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood” applies perfectly to her.

Radiohead, “Creep” (1992)

“Karma Police” is the more fitting choice to soundtrack some sort of sinister scene where the surviving members of the Yellowjackets are haunted by their past actions, but unfortunately that wasn’t released until 1997. “Creep” is still an extremely solid choice though, full of an appropriate amount of self-loathing for these women who have been holding onto guilt and drama for 25 years now.

Nirvana, “All Apologies” (1993)

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the more obvious choice, but for a show about a group of teens in the ’90s, it’s almost too obvious. If we have to go with a Nirvana song, which we definitely do at some point, “All Apologies” is a better fit thematically, both in a figurative and literal sense. (“All alone is all we are” feels pretty apt for a show about people stranded in the woods.)

No Doubt, “Just A Girl” (1995)

Part of the brilliance of Yellowjackets is the way it works the mundane horrors of being a teenaged girl into its survival drama. Even in the wilderness, they’re confronted with double standards (seriously, get out of here with your faux outrage over how many guys Natalie has slept with, Travis!). What better way to highlight those feminist themes than with “Just A Girl,” in which Gwen Stefani skewers the patronizing way society views young women?

Green Day, “Basket Case” (1994)

It seems inevitable that a show set in 1996, just two years their massive hit record Dookie was released, would eventually include a Green Day song. What’s more fitting to pair with the girls’ slow descent into madness than “Basket Case”?

All-4-One, “I Swear” (1994)

Season 1 already brought us one of the most beloved slow-jams of the ’90s by relying heavily on Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” and while it’s unlikely Jeff and Shauna will get another spotlight dance next season — gotta wait for the 30-year reunion for that one — we’d still love to see someone (anyone!) sway awkwardly to this nostalgic track.

Fuzzy, “Flashlight” (1994)

This one fits in sonically with the general aesthetic of the show, but beyond that, a literal flashlight would probably come in handy for the girls in the woods.

Yellowjackets has done a great job of illustrating the social hierarchies teen girls are forced to navigate, even when they’re miles away from civilization. It’s too bad former homecoming queen Jackie died before the show had a chance to work this one into one of her scenes, but maybe we’ll luck out in a flashback?

Ace of Base, “The Sign” (1993)

We already got an Ace of Base song in season 1 — “All That She Wants” played during the finale while Shauna was talking to Randy at the reunion — but given the way Lottie and some of the others have begun searching for supernatural “signs,” it might be time to trot out “The Sign” in season 2. There’s nothing like the juxtaposition between some upbeat Swedish pop and some horrifying on-screen cannibalism, right?

Helium, “XXX” (1994)

An alt-rock tale of murder in which our narrator sneers, “You’re gonna pay me with your life” feels pretty appropriate given that Shauna has already killed and dismembered a guy in one timeline, while the whole “hunting and eating each other” thing seems imminent in the other.

Beck, “Loser” (1993)

This one would be a strong fit for the show’s ’90s teen-girl drama, but it actually works extremely well in its present-day timeline as well. What better way to reflect Shauna’s dissatisfaction with her own life? She’s stuck in a dead-end marriage, her own adolescent daughter is, as she puts it, “an asshole” — the self-deprecation of “Loser” seems like it would speak to her.

Garbage, “Only Happy When It Rains” (1995)

Nothing says “teen angst” quite like this classic. And again, the fact that our main characters are stranded and exposed to the elements means there’s a potential literal interpretation here as well. (Maybe a summertime drought?)

Sleater-Kinney, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” (1996)

It seems pretty safe to assume that Natalie is a huge Sleater-Kinney fan, both as a teen who picked up Call the Doctor just months before surviving a plane crash in 1996 and as a present-day adult haunted by the trauma she experienced as a teen.

Pulp, “Common People” (1995)

Jarvis Cocker’s “Common People” is obviously a shrewd takedown of the UK’s upper class, but it’s not hard to imagine a line like “I wanna live like common people” also feeling relevant to the surviving Yellowjackets as they struggle to adapt to normal life after 19 months in the wild.

Alanis Morissette, “You Oughta Know” (1995)

If you were alive in 1995, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point you shriek-sang along to this one with your friends. We’ve already seen the Yellowjackets gleefully dancing and singing along to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” and Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” before battery in the Walkman they used to play the latter in the woods died and disrupted their fun. Maybe they can find another power source and blast some Alanis next season?

R.E.M., “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” (1994)

This R.E.M. track takes its name from the phrase uttered by a man who attacked Dan Rather in 1986, and while that perpetrator’s paranoid delusions may not be exactly the same as the hallucinations poor Lottie is experiencing while off her meds in the woods, she seems equally disconnected from reality.

Spice Girls, “Wannabe” (1996)

This pop classic was actually part of a continuity error on the show in season 1. It wasn’t released until June 1996, a month after the girls’ plane crashed, but it appears in Jackie’s journal in a list of her favorite songs — despite the fact that she would have never gotten a chance to hear it before freezing to death in the woods. In another episode, Taissa mentions Sporty Spice as being “the most underrated Spice Girl.” Again, it’s highly unlikely she’d know the Spice Girls if she’d been living outside of civilization for a month before they released their debut single, but we don’t care. Stop teasing us and let us zig-a-zig-ah.

Pearl Jam, “Alive” (1991)

Pearl Jam’s debut single is about a young man finding out that the man he believed to be his biological father is actually his stepfather, but the general feeling of having the rug pulled out from under you is one that feels particularly fitting for Yellowjackets, and the chorus of “I’m still alive” feels sufficiently ominous as we know that in some ways, dying early on in the immediate aftermath of the crash would have been easier than enduring all the chaos and suffering while attempting to survive for 19 months.

Ginuwine, “Pony” (1996)

Look, is there a scenario in which the ultimate boner-jam, Ginuwine’s “Pony,” makes sense on Yellowjackets? Probably not. Do I still want it to happen? Absolutely. Who knows? Maybe Jeff and Shauna will put it on while rekindling their lost spark.

Sheryl Crow, “All I Wanna Do” (1994)

“‘All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die,’ says the man next to me out of nowhere,” sings Sheryl Crow. Despite the song’s upbeat nature, it’s kind of a grim sentiment, especially if you were to pair it with, oh, I don’t know, a story of a bunch of teens missing their prom while starving to death in the woods.

My Bloody Valentine, “Soon” (1991)

In a recent interview, Sophie Tucker, who plays the teen version of Natalie, said the character probably was a big My Bloody Valentine fan, and we’re inclined to agree. Let’s get some Loveless onscreen.

Rage Against the Machine, “Killing in the Name” (1992)

“Killing in the Name” is, of course, a protest song that reminds us that “some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses.” It’s exactly the kind of reminder that polite society is just as savage as anything that happens in the wild that would fit in ideologically with Lord of the Flies or Yellowjackets. And on a more abstract level, we know these girls are about to start doing some killing of their own next season; in whose name, exactly, remains to be seen.

Fugees, “Killing Me Softly” (1996)

It may not happen in season 2, but eventually we’re going to have to see how Jeff and Shauna started officially dating (and later married) after Jackie died and she was rescued, and though Jeff likely doesn’t have a musical bone in his body, it seems likely that Shauna could relate to the feeling of “strumming my pain with his fingers” and connecting with someone over shared trauma.

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