Music plays a major role on Tig Notaro’s Amazon series, One Mississippi, whether its punctuating the stories told on the radio by Notaro’s onscreen alter ego or articulating her pent-up emotions in a fantasy sequence. But not every song that influenced the show’s second season is actually heard in its six episodes: Some, like Peter, Paul And Mary’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” had their lyrics quoted as episode titles; others, like Pink’s “18 Wheeler,” were in heavy rotation during the writing process. Notaro and showrunner Kate Robin have assembled those tracks and 20 others that had an impact on One Mississippi into the following Amazon Music Unlimited Playlist, which is debuting exclusively on The A.V. Club. “This playlist includes many of the songs we chose for season two and some of the original songs we wrote into scripts as a guide or inspiration for the music supervisors,” Notaro and Robin said. “Generally, we all wanted to find less well known artists, and of course that’s something Tig’s character does on her music show as well.”
Read on after the player for the complete track listing, along with commentary on the songs from Notaro and Robin. (Fair warning: Their commentary discusses specific plot points from season two.)
“This is a song ‘Tig’ plays when she’s dealing with the fact that the town where she records the show has attempted to change the name of Martin Luther King Day to Great American Day to honor Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
In the script, the original inspiration song for [the Great American Day cue] was this iconic tune.
This is the title of 201, which starts with a fantasy in which Tig never lets go of Kate’s hand through all manner of challenging environments and circumstance, so why not include this great song too?
Gorgeous tune that ends the first episode.
The song that ends 202 and Tig’s radio show after she tells the story of how and when she knew she was gay.
Another great song writer Stephanie Allynne pitched for this moment.
In the first few drafts of 203, Tig was inspired to play this song in response to her conversation with Kate about leaving Trump America. Not only is it a great song, it also contains the lyric “Kiss me and smile for me,” (the episode title) in an episode in which all three main characters have major kiss moments.
The great newer song that the music supervisors found that starts with the lyric “Imagine yourself in a plane, far away, far away…”
This is a song we all love from Fun Home, a musical we all love. I had originally put this song in 104. When she’s up on stage as Mardi Gras Queen, Tig searches the crowd hoping to see Kate and has a fantasy that Kate will come through the crowd singing this song to her, essentially realizing she’s gay and loves Tig. We shot that scene last year and it was amazing but we realized it advanced the story between Tig and Kate too fast so we cut it hoping we’d have a second season in which we could do the same fantasy again at the right point in their relationship. We did and we did!
A beautiful poignant tune that evokes the heartbreaking end of 203 in such an emotional and haunting way. (I think editor Peter B. Ellis who has a great sense of music, plucked this one out of “the bin” which refers to the files of song options the Music Supervisors send to the editors to worth with.)
A great song we almost used to end the episode. I love it so much (especially the powerful apocalyptic lyrics) I want to include it here.
The actress who played Cassandra performed this tune, here sung by the writer. We wanted to find a singer-songwriter who sounded like our character would and this song was a perfect choice for the scene in which Tig and Cassandra connect. Tig says the song got her through her struggled with cancer and Cassandra is she says she wrote it when her Mom was going through cancer.
Just a gorgeous song for the end of 204 after Tig sees that maybe Remy’s relationship isn’t a disaster and that he might actually be growing because of it. I’m pretty sure Tara Timpone, an editor who also has an incredible ear for the right song in the right moment, chose this one from “the bin.”
This was actually the first song I put into the script for the moment Tig and Kate are listening to songs from New Zealand artists. I love it because it also alludes to the revolutionary impulse of starting a new life in another country.
This is the title of episode 205 and the songwriter and co-executive producer Cara Dipaolo chose it for the closing song.
We didn’t know if we could afford to use [“Can’t Fight This Feeling”], so looked for contemporary alts and I fell in love with this find from our music supervisors: Arthur Russell, an amazing musician who died in 1992 but whose music has been rediscovered recently. I’m so happy to keep his light shining.
I’m including this Police classic because for a while we had a beat in 205 when Kate tells Tig what Jack did to her, and Tig says they should go to the police and when Kate hesitates, Tig did a bit of hers where she says “I meant, the band.” This led into a fantasy of going to a Police concert with Kate where Sting sees them and calls out from stage that he supports their fight against sexual assault. We riffed a whole monologue about Sting and Trudie’s commitment to making the world better and actually tried to get Sting to do the show but it didn’t work out, so we ended up cutting the moment, but we had a lot of laughs about it in the writer’s room.
This was another song that I wrote into the script for episode 6. I heard this artist on NPR one day and loved this song so much and when I was writing this scene, I remembered it.
Another idea from an early draft of the script, and a classic!
I wanted Desiree to be listening to Lauren Daigle, a Christian pop diva, and we chose this one because it fits the vibe so well.
Just a fantastic song about survival that I played a lot when I was writing 206.
The phenomenal epic anthem that ends the season. It’s the title of the episode and says so much about the triumph of surviving assault and other traumas of inhumanity. Tig pitched this and we were blessed by her friendship with the great Sia who graciously gave us the rights immediately.
All episodes of One Mississippi are streaming on Amazon Prime Video; you can read along with The A.V. Club’s coverage of season two here.