Earlier this month, HBO shared the latest trailer for its forthcoming religion-focused, political drama series, The New Pope, set to arrive on the subscription-based network in January 2020.
The forthcoming project from Paolo Sorrentino is a follow-up to his 2016 mini-series, The Young Pope, which starred Jude Law as an unusually young Cardinal elected as the new Pope of the Catholic Church in a modern-day setting. The one-season series wasn’t an international smash hit equal to Game of Thrones, but garnered enough interest for HBO to greenlight a new season. Law is set to return as Pope Pius XIII, and John Malkovich—along with Marilyn Manson—have both joined the cast this time around.
While news of the series’ return in early 2020 is itself enough to warrant a write-up amongst most pop culture blogs, music fans should be equally excited considering the show’s ability to actually make religious politics interesting thanks to its incredibly curated and eclectic soundtrack—which was arguably The Young Pope‘s strongest asset behind the casting of Diane Keaton when it began airing in late 2016.
The Young Pope‘s vast and diverse soundtrack was mostly selected by Sorrentino “in the downtime during editing,” according to a 2017 interview with the series creator. The filmmaker is open any kind of strategy when it comes to picking the artist or song to set the mood of his projects, which range from an assistant’s choice in music on any given day to a tune that happened to get stuck in someone’s head.
“In ‘The Young Pope’ the classical themes coexist with electronic music—and from time to time some outrageous forays of pop music,” Sorrentino mentioned in the 2017 interview. “[Soundtrack cues] should not be used extensively and must be used well. Otherwise you risk a corny effect, a sort of radio-station process that ends up weakening the whole thing. But the use of music in general, or its absence, beyond the playful aspect, is the product of a continuous self-questioning about balance.”
Overall, the music featured in The Young Pope was pretty evenly divided between traditional classical with full choirs and chamber orchestras, to the drastically modern sounds of synth-pop and ambient electronic. Music from artists like Flume, Andrew Bird, Labradford, and Recondite was mixed into the same fictional world which also included renowned opera soprano Sumi Jo and Franz Schubert. It’s a strong enough palette of styles which, when added to Sorrentino’s serious-yet-quirky style of filmmaking, keeps the mundane drama of the Vatican both fresh and energized.
Sorrentino and the show’s producers look to pick up right where they left off with the latest teaser trailer for The New Pope, which injects a colorful swirl of holistic beats from Belgian-Caribbean artist Charlotte Adigéry as her song “Paténipat” plays throughout.
Watch the new trailer and experience the thrilling convergence of old world politics fueled by Adigéry’s contemporary energy below.
The New Pope – Teaser Trailer
Fans can revisit the entire soundtrack from The Young Pope in the series’ official playlist below.
The Young Pope: Official Spotify Soundtrack Playlist