The music for the BBC show Fleabag, composed by the creator’s sister, is a perfectly bold yet tongue-in-cheek sound for the dark, dirty comedy.
In May of this year, we finally got a second season of Fleabag: a dark and poignant BBC comedy that is the incredible Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brainchild. Waller-Bridge wrote, directed, and starred in both seasons of the show, which follows around a drily hilarious, lonely woman (who we know only as Fleabag) as she deals with grief, a dysfunctional family, her failing business, and her relationships. As she reacts to events and people in her life, she constantly breaks the fourth wall, giving snarky little asides into the camera. It’s a genius, gritty, slightly surreal but also very authentic show. Waller-Bridge keeps us laughing with infinitely clever and relatable humor, but around every corner is hiding a lone tear.
Part of the series’ charm is the perfect music. Season one backs the unusually short title sequence with a tiny, cacophonous burst of orchestral noise. The ending credits song is a heavy metal jam that, paired with the “FLEABAG” name splashed across the screen in large, blatant letters, perfectly caps each episode with an irreverent and badass note. Much like Fleabag herself.
The music for the show is actually composed by Waller-Bridge’s own sister, Isobel Waller-Bridge. Isobel is an award-winning composer who’s created scores for Black Mirror, Vanity Fair, and more. She told Radio Times that making music for Fleabag was “the dreamiest collaboration” — the two sisters are very close, and they love working together. Isobel is amazing at capturing the hilarious and raunchy tone of the show. For the second season’s music, she composed a score of religious-sounding choral music to match Fleabag’s brush with religion (or, rather, with a sexy priest).
But there’s a twist: hidden in the Latin and Greek lyrics are secretly sexual words and phrases. For example: the Latin double entendre “nos venit” or “we’re coming,” along with words for certain… body parts. The sweeping choral music provides a suitably dramatic backdrop to the season’s emotions and misadventures, but the hidden meaning is like a knowing nod to the audience — like one of Fleabag’s own little teasing glances. Fleabag doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither does its music, and neither does Fleabag herself. She knows it, and we know it, and we love her for it.
Image from ABC