[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Last of Us, Season 1 Episode 8, “When We Are In Need.”]
HBO’s new series The Last of Us premiered to the approval of fans of the video game and viewers who are new to the franchise. Though the thrilling story has just begun, the first episode established the importance of the soundtrack in setting the mood for the post-apocalyptic world.
Created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann (the latter also wrote and directed the video game), The Last of Us stars Pedro Pascal as grizzled survivor Joel and Bella Ramsey as a teenage girl named Ellie. Taking place after a fungal plague has ravaged the globe, it centers around Joel fulfilling his task of smuggling Ellie beyond a quarantine zone in Boston.
Depeche Mode’s 1987 hit “Never Let Me Down Again” played a significant role during the series premiere. After Joel and his partner Tess (Anna Torv) set out for their journey with Ellie, they miss hearing it on the radio as a coded warning from a friend of the danger ahead. Read more about its significance here.
Over the course of the season, the show also spotlighted Linda Ronstadt’s “Long Long Time,” which ended up propelling the song, Kate Bush style, to the top of three different Billboard charts. The full soundtrack, released at the end of February, featured Nick Offerman’s cover of the Ronstadt track as well as the original score by David Fleming and Gustavo Santaolalla, the latter of whom spoke with Consequence about adapting his music for the original games into the soundtrack for the series.
Read our review of the first season here. See the full list of songs from The Last of Us soundtrack below.
Episode 1: “When You’re Lost in the Darkness”
Gustavo Santaolalla – “The Last of Us” (Main Title Theme)
Avril Lavigne – “Tomorrow”
Dido – “White Flag”
Depeche Mode – “Never Let Me Down Again”
Episode 2: “Infected”
Ari Lasso – “Hampa”
Gustavo Santaolalla – “Allowed to be Happy” (from the soundtrack to The Last of Us Part II)
Episode 3: “Long, Long Time”
Fleetwood Mac – “I’m Coming Home to Stay”
Cream – “White Room”
Linda Ronstadt – “Long, Long Time” (as performed by Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman)
Max Richter – “On the Nature of Daylight” (Orchestral Version)
Erasure – “Chains of Love”
Linda Ronstadt – “Long, Long Time” (original)
Episode 4: “Please Hold to My Hand”
Hank Williams – “Alone and Forsaken”
Lotte Kestner – “True Faith”
Episode 5: “Endure and Survive”
Agnes Obel – “Fuel to Fire”
Episode 6: “Kin”
Pedro Dralha – “As Palavras na Canção”
Jessica Mazin – “Never Let Me Down Again” (cover)
Episode 7: “Left Behind”
Pearl Jam – “All or None”
aHa – “Take On Me”
The Cure (Carousel Cover) – “Just Like Heaven”
Etta James – “I Got You Babe”
Gustavo Santaolalla – “The Choice”
Episode 8: “When We Are In Need”
No needle drops, only instrumental score.
Episode 9: “Look for the Light”
aHa – “The Sun Always Shines On T.V.” (as performed by Ashley Johnson)
New episodes of The Last of Us premiere Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.