One of the most consistent elements across all three seasons of the Netflix series “Dear White People” has been the music. From Kris Bowers’ unmistakable jazz-infused score to the wide range of musical selections that help punctuate some powerful episode-ending moments, the show has always sounded as good as it looks.
This year, as the show moved confidently on to its Season 3, that meant an entirely new group of songs to help illuminate the many different character changes that dotted the season. As Lionel learned how to become direct in his own pursuits, as Sam struggled with various creative roadblocks, and as Troy wrestled with expectations placed on him at various turns, those evolutions rarely came without something to accent the changes. (Though, not actually “Changes” — that was a Season 2 song.)
In the process, this soundtrack helps put forward the power of context. Whether it’s a beat that samples a ’40s standard, spinning one particular song’s generalizations to a subversive advantage, or an unexpected genre choice that helps underline one character’s imagined bizarre alternate reality, there’s purpose behind how and when these get deployed.
Of course, the show also brings back some cuts from classical pops standbys to sprinkle in with the occasional club track. (This season finds some Dvorak to go along with some of Chopin and Tchaikovsky’s greatest hits.)
But above all, there’s emotion in it, too. Enjoying a summer release for the first time in the show’s history, when taken altogether, the show’s music makes for an excellent bonus summer soundtrack. Relaxing by the pool? Try a Kaytranada remix. Need something more low-key for escaping the heat indoors? Here’s some Toro y Moi and Elujay. There’s plenty of ways for turning the higher temperatures into a reason to dance.
It all leads up to a closing track over the final episode’s end credits that helps give a hint as to where the show might be heading in the future.
For a collection of songs that make up this season’s playlist, check out the Spotify tracklist below:
“Dear White People” Season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix.