Playlist for "The Handmaid's Tale"

Updated on April 29, 2020

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale promo image (Offred)
The Handmaid's Tale promo image (Offred)


Although bleak, The Handmaid's Tale story has the ability to come full circle and my playlist will reflect that. The songs will not only reflect the current state of the TV series but the end result of the book as well. Some songs that will create an interesting dichotomy of strength and enlightenment. Here is the playlist for The Handmaid's Tale.

"Wake Up" - Rage Against The Machine

"Wake Up" - Rage Against The Machine is first on the playlist because of its raw rebellious message. The mood behind RATM's music is very anti-establishment and anti-regime. The guitar rifts greatly compliment the lyrical content of racism and government interference. With Offred there is an underlying streak of rebellion that the song tells to. The point where the song breakdown into the stream of "Wake Ups" is chilling is exhilarating and inspirational.

"You Don't Own Me" - Grace ft. G-Eazy

A modern rendition of the 1963 song by Lesley Gore and first featured in the Suicide Squad, "You Don't Own Me" by Grace Ft. G-Eazy speaks to the inner subconscious of the ladies in the society. In the Republic of Gilead, women are property, reproductive sex slaves, and highly segregated. And individuality is non-existent among lower ranked women. "You Don't Own Me" is also a cry out against the system of which the woman live in. Proudly, they proclaim that their bodies aren't owned by anyone or anything.

"Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode is a playful way of discussing evangelism. The Handmaid's Tale's society's government is a theocracy. Therefore, the government is ran by religious leaders and can subject the people to any religious law of their chosen. I picked this song as sort of a tounge-in-cheek way of representing that fact. The song also reflects people may want something to believe in so bad that they cling on to whatever they can. At least, that's how I can rationalize the society's sudden interest in old fashioned Christian fundamentalism.

"Where Is My Mind" - Pixies

"Where Is My Mind" by the Pixies is a song speaking to the insanity behind the acts committed in the Republic of Gilead. The rapes, hangings, and female subjugation are all unfathomable things in today's society. To the characters in the series, this all must be an out-of-body experience. The lyrics "where is my mind", echoes the mindset of the handmaids or people in general. The new indoctrination seemed to have happened overnight and it is to the point of no longer seeming believable.

"Rebel Girl" - Bikini Kill

"Rebel Girl" by Bikini Girls is a kick ass anthem to the empowerment of women and living a non-judgmental lifestyle. Being a punk song, it fuels the rebellious streak in person who is tired of being oppressed. The lyrics talk about sisterhood, friendship, and sexuality. In the show, reproductive rights, sexuality, pay and suffrage are dictated by the government. "Rebel Girl" clashes with the narrative in an interesting way because if the women were to gather together and fight for their rights back, then this song would accompany all the rights of which they've lost.

"Freak On A Leash" - Korn

"Freak On A Leash" by Korn speaks of the control that society has on the Handmaids and other women. Like any other regime, there are very strict rules to follow. The song heavy drums, bass, and guitar is like a release of the frustration the women feel. The following of the rules (especially if it prohibits individuality) can be very damning. Eventually, the women are drained and stripped of everything they hold dear. Like the lyrics say, "Every time I start to believe, something's raped and taken from me, from me."

"Spiders" - System Of A Down

"Spiders" by System Of A Down is another appropriately haunting song for The Handmaid's Tale. Our government has subtly or not so subtly has a way of controlling what we believe. News outlets are no longer an outlet for free speech but for public interest. The powerful vocal performance helps tells the story of the women in the video who's v-chip implant will show her everything she needs to see. In what is almost a perfect parallel, in The Handmaid's Tale, women are treated the very same way by their government. Or, even worse.

"Castle" - Halsey (The Huntsman: Winter's War)

Halsey's "Castle" is the perfect song of conviction that lied within Offred. Offred's goal is to show the debauchery behind the new Republic and to fight against it in what little way she can. The song talks about self sacrifice and wanting to become queen. Offred can be seen in the same way as her actions and story will help lead the new group of women. This song is a song of strength in which the main protagonist embodies in her actions and mind.

"Mad World" - Gary Jules

"Mad World" by Gary Jules is a very sad song about hopelessness. This song easily fits the narrative because of its depressing tone. The narrative paints the society in which the people live in as utterly horrible. And the Republic does everything within its grasps to squash rebellions and uprisings. Like the songer says, "the dreams of which I'm dying are the best I've ever had." The future is gray and bleak for everyone.

"What's Up" - 4 Non Blondes

The final song in this playlist "What's Up" by the 4 Non Blondes is a song about questioning —everything. Before the fall into the Republic of Gilead, there were multiple signs of a sudden shift in attitude and agenda. Subtly the building blocks of freedom were stripped and order was plunged into chaos. In the singers voice, the frustration and emotions are poured out in an attempt to gain some kind of closure or answer. The song also accompanies notions such as purpose and existence. All ideas of which people in The Handmaid's Tale would have to ask themselves in order to live in such a unjust society.


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