If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t completely head over heels with excitement for this show or the plot when it showed up on my Netflix feed. However, as I finally got myself to start this masterpiece I was pleasantly stunned by the eccentric storyline along with the nonchalant genius behind the whole thing. Not only is the acting phenomenal, The Queen’s Gambit carries you through a tranquilizing, (pun intended) yet exhilarating joyride through all 7 episodes of the series and I couldn’t walk away from it. Chess and Beth Harmon have so much in common, more so because Harmon is such a complex individual, her aesthetic matching that of the game and the entirety of the show; sullen, yet sharp, pastel, but vivd all at once.
Taking place in the 1960’s, we follow Harmon through her childhood and into her adulthood as she takes on the world of chess by storm. Although I wished there was more, I personally loved this short but quality collection of stunning 60’s inspired music in this soundtrack. Perfectly wrapping the unique cosmopolitan ambiance of the characters and visuals, this line up of songs is bound to gather your attention, perfectly blended with every aspect of the viewing experience. Featuring sound from The Kinks, The Monkees, and Peggy Lee, this show doesn’t miss, and that statement holds true with it’s musical selection as well.
Here are some of my favorites from season one:
25th of the 12th- Bill Compton
Beth and her mother travel to Houston over Christmas break to compete in another tournament.
You’re the One- The Vogues
Invited to a small get together by some of the posh girls at her high school, Beth tries alcohol and tranquilizers together for the first time.
The End of the World- Skeeter Davis
A bittersweet ending to an episode; Harmon’s first loss up against Benny Watts in Chicago.
Somewhere I Belong- Gabor Szabo
Getting high with her classmates from her Russian class…
Bert’s Blues- Donovan
… and losing her virginity where the guy apologizes at the finish line. Gives you an indication on how that went.
Fever- Peggy Lee
For one of my favorites off the soundtrack, Beltik and Beth reunite in her hometown to get her ready to face her next opponents in Ohio.
I’m Not Your Stepping Stone- The Monkees
Beth works up the courage to go hang out at a cafe outing with Benny Watts and his friends.
Teach Me Tonight- Nancy Wilson
This Nancy Wilson gem is played at the end credits after Beth agrees to go to New York with Benny.
Stop Your Sobbing- The Kinks
Beth and Benny share a sweet and light moment of carpool karaoke together on their drive up to New York
Yeh, Yeh- Georgie Fame
A game of simultaneous speed chess, Beth vs. 3 other guys.
Tut Tut Tut Tut- Gillian Hill
After an unsuccessful game of chess, Beth goes back to Lexington, Kentucky with efforts to make her childhood home feel more like her own with her mother gone.
Venus- Shocking Blue
After giving into a couple drinks at a bar, Beth starts spiraling headfirst into a hole of self destruction.
The Final Game- Carlos Rafael Rivera
Although this piece is a film score from the limited series and not a song, I wanted to include this 7 1/2 minute masterpiece. The music portrays Harmon’s emotions and thoughts so beautifully, having so much depth within one track. This one is definitely a winner.