Episode 3 of Westworld, “Années Folles,” had two big treats for those addicted to composer Ramin Djawadi’s instrumental covers of pop and rock tunes. Meanwhile, Episode 4, “Generation Loss,” was a little more subtle. Speaking to Consequence as part of our ongoing series on the music of Westworld Season 4, Djawadi reveals that this week’s episode did feature a snippet of music you might have heard before, in a very different context: “Pink + White” by Frank Ocean.
The short burst of solo piano can be heard at the 24-minute mark of the episode, accompanying an establishing shot of the New York restaurant where Christina (Evan Rachel Wood) is about to meet her latest blind date — who happens to look a lot like Teddy (James Marsden), the deceased companion of Dolores (also played by Wood).
Djawadi acknowledges that “it’s very hard to catch because it’s very brief, like 45 seconds,” but when the producers suggested it for that moment, he was happy to try it as a solo piano arrangement because “it’s a beautiful song.”
As he continues, “I never want to be the one that gets too much into interpreting lyrics or anything because I’m never that familiar with lyrics to begin with — I have to be honest, I’m very much an instrumentalist. But if I understand it correctly, the lyrics are very abstract, but I think it’s about a past relationship or past memories. So I think it actually is very much in line with Christina seeing Teddy and having that spark. Because as we know, she has had other dates before, which were just not happening, and then she meets Teddy and then there’s a spark there.”
The “Pink + White” cover is once again done using solo piano, which Djawadi has enjoyed using for Westworld over the years because it “has such a powerful sound to it. Like they always say, there’s nothing that sounds like a piano. It has that wide range with the bass and the highs and everything — there’s a warmth to it, but there’s a loneliness to it. And so I feel like there’s so many ways you can interpret a solo piano because there’s literally just nothing around it.”
If you’re wondering, the full arrangement of “Pink + White” Djawadi created is a little longer than its on-screen appearance, but not by much. “I sometimes do longer versions, but many times I don’t. In this case, I did not do the full song, but it is longer than what’s in the scene — just so that it’s easier to cut in and out. I want to say I did maybe around a minute or so.”