Trying: Season 2 (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack)

Trying: Season 2 (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack)

In May 2019, Maisie Peters was doing a soundcheck ahead of a gig at London’s Scala when a group of people wandered in. Among them was Jim O’Hanlon, director of the Apple TV+ Original comedy Trying, who was scouting out filming locations. “Jim heard my music and thought it sounded appropriate for the show,” Peters tells Apple Music. “He later got in touch to ask if they could use my track ‘Favourite Ex,’ then I had a little cameo in Season 1.” By Season 2, however, the creators of the show—which follows London couple Jason (Rafe Spall) and Nikki (Esther Smith) and their difficulties starting a family—had greater ambitions for the Brighton singer-songwriter. “They wondered if I would be interested in doing the whole soundtrack, which was crazy and ambitious,” says Peters. “I’d never done anything like that before. Plus, at that point, I was starting to make my debut album. Chaotically, I just worked on both at the same time. I worried that I would have to sacrifice the good of one for the other, but they coexisted beautifully.” The nine original songs here—one written for each episode of the series—find Peters in her “happy place” of soft folk-pop. Inspiration came from immersing herself in the scripts for the second season, having already watched the first. “I had a massive document, and I made a note on everything that I thought could be good,” she says. “Things that characters said that were poetic or poignant and details like denim jackets and kissing on buses and North London.” This may have been her first attempt at a soundtrack, but Peters hopes it won’t be her last. “It was like my treat and was where I went to feel safe and happy,” she says. “It felt like such a home to me.” Read on as Peters walks us through the Trying Season 2 soundtrack in a (spoiler-free) track-by-track guide. Neck of the Woods “This was one of the last songs we did on the soundtrack. I knew we didn’t have the first song and it was weighing on my mind. I’d come up with the title ‘Neck of the Woods,’ and it felt like a really fitting first thing to hear, because this is a show about home and family. I wanted to lean in on a hopeful spin, but I also thought it was important that this first song talks about the fact that things don’t always work out. Then I thought, ‘You found me out, you’re my whole house’ was a really perfect way of describing Nikki and Jason, but it can be about any type of love. I was conscious to keep that line as all-encompassing as possible.” Milhouse “[British producer and songwriter] Joe Rubel lent me a mandolin to write this track. I didn’t know how to play it properly—I’ve still not figured it out—but I found some nice chords to play. I wrote the first verse and chorus super quickly—it was like a train of thought. The lyric ‘everything’s coming up Milhouse’ came out after I googled better ways to say, ‘It’s all good.’ It reminded me of a friend who loves The Simpsons and that saying. There’s a lot in this song that I love.” Funeral (feat. James Bay) “I wrote this in my bedroom in London very much as a duet. I remember saying, ‘I want James Bay to sing this, and I don’t want anyone else.’ Taylor Swift’s folklore came out around when I was writing this track, and ‘exile,’ the duet with Bon Iver, was a big inspiration. It’s a song about being scared of how much you need somebody and how much you care about somebody.” Helicopter “This was inspired by a line in the script where Nikki and Jason talk about being helicopters to each other. I thought, ‘Wow, you’ve made my job so much easier. I’m going to rip that.’ It’s a song about being overbearing, because you love someone, and about being stubborn. There’s a lot of myself in this one, for sure. It was how I was feeling at the time, and I love the honesty in it. I’m really proud of it. It really feels like the inside of somebody’s heart to me. It’s very delicate.” Happy Hunting Ground (feat. Griff) “‘Happy Hunting Ground’ is a mythological name for paradise or Heaven. We did the chorus and it felt really bright. Then we sent it to Griff, who is a friend of mine. She sent back all these amazing vocal layers and harmonies and the middle eight, which was perfect. The song just kept building and building. It happened naturally because it reflected both of our musical styles, and it ended up feeling full and bright and big, which I love.” I Want You to Change (Because You Want to Change) [feat. Bear’s Den] “This was originally called ‘Trying Isn’t Good Enough,’ but the creator of the show worried it was a bad omen, which I totally hear. I think it’s a very naive thing to think that if you just try really hard, everything’s going to work out and everybody’s going to be happy. I wanted this to be a duet because I wanted it to be a conversation. You sympathize with both people in the song—I was keen to make sure you felt equally frustrated and disappointed. Bear’s Den are one of my favorite bands, and when I reached out, they really loved it. They sent back all these harmonies and vocals and guitar parts and it was incredible. It’s a very validating experience to work with artists you love.” The Party “I wanted to put the phrase ‘ankles in your lap’ in a song for about a year and was so happy when I finally got it into this track. For this one, we turned to ‘peace’ from folklore and Bon Iver’s [2019 album] i,i. I wanted to create something slightly poppier to sit on this soundtrack.” Glowing Review “I love working from phrases, and ‘glowing review’ felt right immediately. This song was the very last one we wrote, and I was able to pull in as much from the other songs as possible. Joe used elements of all the other songs in this one, and then there’s the lyrics. I say, ‘Sat in a pub on the heath/First kiss, first Friday in June,’ and if you listen to ‘Funeral,’ you hear that they meet and then go on their first date in May. They never make it to a second date, because they had their first kiss on the heath in a pub in June, and they’re just together from there. That was me creating that story—a fabricated Nikki-and-Jason origin story. I live for stuff like that.” Lunar Years “This track was talking about the first scene in the first episode of Season 2, featuring Nikki’s sister Karen. It’s a scene about furious love: ‘I hate you, but I still love you.’ But it didn’t work for episode 1: It didn’t feel light enough, so it kind of wandered around without a home for a while. Because we wrote it intending it for the first song, I wanted it to have this pace and this immediacy. It feels different—it’s more poppy—and it’s funnier and kind of tongue-in-cheek. It’s a song that says, ‘I guess we just weren’t meant to be in love forever’ balanced with this very fun line: ‘You got good, I got better.’ But I also like its acknowledgement of the time you spend with someone: ‘I know I care about you, and I think I’ll care forever.’ I love that being the last lyric of the soundtrack. It felt like a nice way to wrap it up.”

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