The Americans second season ended in May, but it’s more than a month later and this recap is only now coming out.
What gives? Perception was that the end of the season, while excellent for viewing and overall enjoyment, kind of lacked in its signature soundtrack. The final five episodes only had two recognizable songs, and one doesn’t technically count if you’re only tallying awesome timely tracks being utilized. This followed a feeling the first third of the season also promoted, but the result is the same now… The Americans S2 has every bit the soundtrack of its predecessor.
From a strict numbers standpoint, it’s a virtual standoff: 20 (S1) v. 19 (S2), but that’s without accounting for unidentified tracks and allowing for promotional tracks (i.e. what was in the pre-season commercial) to count. But S2 kept up in the cache department too, bringing us Townshend, more Peter Gabriel, Rod Stewart and notable singles from Modern English and Golden Earring.
The feeling that the season was quieter led to some snooping on old unidentified tunes though. “Beer Bar Blues” by Lloyd Conger was what Phillip played during his car ride at the very beginning of the season, and apparently “Loan Me A Dime” by Boz Scaggs was the guitar solo happening when Stan first lets him know about his cheating heart; (For good measure some season one snooping happened too—back in then in episode nine, there were two songs completely missed—“Good Days” by the Gringos and “Whatcha Gonna Do” by Pablo Cruise).
It all adds up to an overall playlist that keeps growing deeper (albeit with a few classical tracks to skip). And with Paige getting a bit older, Oleg loving America and the team knowing very well they;re looking at S3 and beyond, The Americans should continue to sound better than any other show on TV.
Episode Nine—”Martial Eagle”
[Unidentified coffee shop song] when Elizabeth works a potential source from AA, they have an emotional (and appropriately scored) bonding session. Various sites including IMDB and TuneFind list this as “Up To You” by Bonnie Ferguson, but the song is seemingly non-existent through YouTube, Google Search and Spotify. Any info?
Pete Townshend—”It Must Be Done” for simultaneous schemes of murder and sex-for-information, it takes something tonally appropriate. Actually, not just something tonally appropriate… something entirely original from Townshend even though it sounds straight out of the 1980s. (A cool deviation from The Americans formula and a nice bit of cat nip for soundtrack fans lacking otherwise in the season’s last third.)
No significant soundtrack moments?!? (Third time in eleven episodes, more than 25 percent.)
Episode Twelve—”Operation Chronicle”
No significant soundtrack moments again?!? (OK, now we’re at one-third.)
Golden Earring—”Twilight Zone” is perfectly positioned between obscure and overplayed (probably in the “familiar zone”), a fitting second-most-popular-song to score your season ending montage.
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