I was very late to the Dune train. I only watched it for the first time this summer, and I have to say, it’s one of my favorite films ever. I love the juxtaposition of a futuristic society presented as a sort of medieval court. As per usual with my previous media obsessions, I have made a playlist with a few songs that try to emulate the plot and tone of the film. Here are a few songs that I thought could adapt the Dune film into a playlist:
“Everything Matters”— Aurora, Pomme
The first track off of Aurora’s newest album, The Gods We Can Touch, this song regards the god Atlas. In Greek mythology, Atlas was a god condemned to holding the earth on his shoulders. I think this could apply to the beginning of Dune during the ceremony in which House Atreides accepts the Emperor’s order to go to Arrakis. Aurora’s gorgeous metaphors regarding both a loved one and the world itself could reflect Duke Leto’s inner thoughts, thinking of his family, friends, and house when acting in the dangerous Imperial court. The plucked guitar notes at the beginning of the song that melds into the flowing piano chords reflect the conflict of the tense political situation and the love/loyalty that Duke Leto has for his family. The mysterious tone created by these instruments, in combination with Aurora’s somewhat whispered and distorted refrains, is reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for the film.
“The Prophet’s Song” — Queen
This lesser-known Queen song is a whopping 8 minutes and 20 seconds long. The song was actually based on a song from a dream that Brian May (the ingenious guitar player for the band) had. The song begins and ends with a powerful blend of guitars and drums interwoven with the haunting chord progressions that change at the end of each refrain. In the middle of the song, however, Queen experiments with an echoing type of voice equipment that bounces Freddie Mercury’s chants between your left and right earbuds without any background music. Considering the great complexity and artistry of this song, I thought it could act as Paul’s experience being tested with the Gom Jabbar (a painful test that judges, whether one with powers inherited from their mother, is worthy to wield it). The minor chords at the beginning of the song express his distrust of the test and those who order it, the Bene Gesserit. The experimental middle section of the song could reflect Paul’s visions of his destiny on Arrakis during the test. The song also begins and ends with whispered gusts of wind which foreshadow Paul’s “road lead[ing] into the desert.”
“Ya’aburnee” — Halsey
This Halsey song encapsulates the idea of a parent and lover wanting their child or partner to outlive themself, for fear of living without them. The simple bass and guitar strumming make the song’s intimate tone, reflecting Duke Leto, Lady Jessica, and Paul’s fears of losing each other in the impending doom that they sense coming to House Atreides. This song could also exemplify Duke Leto’s final thoughts before dying; the line “Wrap me in a wedding ring, You know I swear I’d give you anything” ties into Duke Leto’s last line to Lady Jessica, “I should have married you.”
This song begins Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift which is a story album reimagining the animated Disney film, The Lion King. In the album’s context, the song is from Simba’s mother’s perspective, expressing the ever-flowing love she has for her child and reminding him of how significant he is. Beyoncé begins the song with a soft and endearing tone which grows into a proud maternal sound. I think that this can tie into Dune by reflecting Lady Jessica similarly expressing her love for her son and encouraging him to accept his destiny after House Atreides falls apart.
I hope you enjoyed these songs and their musical recreation of Dune! Dune is currently streaming on HBO Max.