Whether or not you knew immediately that Atticus’ (Jonathan Majors) vision of monsters at the start of the series would become real by episode’s end or not, one thing is certain from the second you set foot in Lovecraft Country: This soundtrack does not mess around. In episode 1 alone, the new HBO series has already sampled great blues singers like Etta James and Big Maybelle, alongside the audio directly from James Baldwin’s famed debate on race with William F. Buckley. By the time that first episode wraps, we’re treated to a cover of Nina Simone’s version of the traditional spiritual song, “Sinnerman.” And that’s all before you can even whisper “episode 2.”
It’s no wonder the soundtrack is full of such heavy hitters. Misha Green's Lovecraft Country, adapted from the book of the same name, has some serious backing from executive producers Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams. The story itself takes on a literary history that is both mammoth, and rife with inequity: The book and series’ namesake H.P. Lovecraft was one of the godfathers of sci-fi horror, known widely as the creator of the Cthulhu Mythos (put simply, a universe of monsters)... and for his own famously racist beliefs.
Atticus, Leticia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), and Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) travel through the titular Lovecraft Country, the series’ soundtrack will continue to dole out classics from throughout the 1950s. And as each episode airs, we’ll catalogue them all here for you.