The official fifth season soundtrack to Starz’s “Outlander” is on the way. Sony Music revealed the new album from award-winning composer Bear McCreary drops May 15, days after the show’s May 10 finale. For fans wanting to get into the 18th century mood before the season wraps, the company is also making the first single, “Clementine,” available to download a week early, and you can stream it now on IndieWire.
The vocal duet is performed by stars Sophie Skelton (Bree) and Richard Rankin (Roger), and first debuted as the haunting lullaby playing over the end credits in Episode 8’s “Famous Last Words.” The song also holds major significance for the MacKenzie family, as it’s the last song Roger sings to his young son the episode prior, before losing his singing voice from a hanging that left him for dead.
“This song signifies loss. The loss of innocence, the loss of a sense of security, and most literally, the loss of Roger’s singing voice,” McCreary said. “This lullaby represents the type of casual, intimate singing that their family will never again be able to experience. That is why we only hear it in the end credits, as a ghostly reminder of what could have been and shall never be again.”
The composer reveals the single is unlike the others featured on the soundtrack, which digs deeper into the atmosphere at Fraser’s Ridge. For the first time in the show’s history, the geography and century of the story was consistent throughout the season, which eliminated the need for new instruments and styles. As a result McCreary faced the new challenge of digging deeper into the drama and music that had already been established. Connecting the “Clementine” song to one of the most anticipated moments from Diana Gabaldon’s novel “A Fiery Cross,” on which the fifth season is based, was one of the dramatic inspirations.
“The producers and I felt strongly that the power of the song came from hearing our two brilliant lead actors sing it. So, I went into the recording studio with Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin and worked with them to create this recording,” McCreary said. “The performance is very much a character study, so I encouraged them to perform the song as if in their characters from the series. This resulted in a raw, emotional, intimate performance that really sets this song apart. Yes, Sophie and Richard are singing it… but they are channeling Brianna and Roger.”
One of the major themes this season has been Roger acclimatizing to the 18th century as a scholar trying to find his place among men of the time. Up until the hanging, song was one of the only ways he connected with his comrades as he was thrust into a leadership role by his father-in-law Jamie (Sam Heughan). Losing his singing voice was a major blow, one that was explored in full during Episode 8.
“The producers and I were moved by the way that Roger’s singing voice affected the story, in particular through this haunting lullaby. We thought his performance of ‘Clementine’ would be a fantastic way to close out the episode,” McCreary adds.
Heading into Sunday night’s Season 5 finale, Roger and Bree’s journey takes another twist as they discover that their time-travel through the stones didn’t take them where they intended. Meanwhile the majority of the episode promises to focus on Jamie’s hunt to track down Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who was kidnapped at the end of the penultimate episode.
“Outlander” Season 5 wraps Sunday, May 10 at 9 p.m. ET on Starz. The series has already been renewed for Season 6. Listen to the song below: