The art of music supervision requires its practitioners to be in a constant state of juggling—often jumping between multiple projects, various genres, and loads of research. 2023 was a particularly busy year for Franke Pine—her song selections could be heard in Prime Video’s Carnival Row, With Love, and Daisy Jones & The Six; Netflix’s Florida Man; Apple TV+’s The Last Thing He Told Me; and theatrical releases Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. and Book Club: The Next Chapter.
Here, in conversation with Awards Daily. we focus in on the Jennifer Garner-starring mystery series, The Last Thing He Told Me, and the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s beloved classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Two wildly different projects, both rich in emotionally charged song choices. Musically, The Last Thing He Told Me is moody, atmospheric, and modern; while ‘Are You There God’ is all about sweet 70s nostalgia.
Read more to learn about Frankie Pine’s approach to music supervision and her “nonstop” year.
Awards Daily: What a crazy year you’ve had with all these fantastic projects. You already spoke to Awards Daily about Daisy Jones & The Six, so we won’t touch on that, but I loved it so much! Congratulations on everything!
Frankie Pine: Thank you! I miss watching it. I’m ready to rewatch it again.
AD: Music supervisors are constantly handleing multiple projects. Were you working on these simultaneously, or is it a coincidence that everything was released so close together?
FP: It just happened that they’re all being released at the same time. I mean, lots of shows were delayed or on the back burner because of Covid. Daisy Jones came out, and two weeks after the finale of that, we had Florida Man, and then the day after Florida Man was The Last Thing He Told Me, then Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. And Book Club: The Next Chapter. It’s been nonstop. I feel like it’s been quite a journey over the past year, and I’m happy that all this stuff is finally coming out.
AD: They’re all so musically different. How do you compartmentalize that?
FP: When I get an assignment of the kind of music something is looking for, the moment you hear something, it’s like, ‘Oh, I need to put that on this playlist.’ I have a general playlist of things that I love based on what I hear, and they get divvied up into different worlds, and when I’m ready to step into that world, I start at that playlist.
AD: What’s your general philosophy or approach to music supervision?
FP: I’m here to serve the collective agreement as to what the music of a particular project is. So, typically I start with feeding [the team] music. With The Last Thing He Told Me, it took us a while to really hone in on what the style of each end song was going to be—something that would act as a summation of each episode and lead us into the next episode—that’s what the end songs of that show actually do for us.
Every project requires something different. I get brought on at different times, depending on if I have to be on set. If I don’t need to be on set, I’m usually not brought on until later. And once they get a rough cut going, then it’s us experimenting and, what I call, throwing the spaghetti up against the wall and seeing what sticks.
AD: Frankie, tell me more about those end songs and finding the right fit. How did you end up with the songs we saw in the final product?
FP: Everything about The Last Thing He Told Me is really of the mind of Laura Dave and Josh Singer, and a lot of what they like. Laura had told me that she had a playlist of music she would listen to while writing the book. And a lot of that is great music, but it doesn’t translate into music that is of the moment. So it took us kind of experimenting with that older music that she loved that inspired her and finding things that did the same thing, but the music was from within the last few years. And we knew it was a dark and moody show, so we felt like the music needed to be reflective of that and mysterious. Everything we chose tells a little bit of the story but also feels right.
AD: What are some of your favorite tracks from The Last Thing He Told Me?
FP: They’re all very different songs. But I love the ending of episode six, where we used a song called “In a Blackout” by Hamilton Leithauser. It’s not something from a huge band, but it was the perfect sentiment of where we started in the episode and how it brings us to fruition of what will come next.
It was on a playlist. It was in my bag of tricks. And it was kind of like, ‘That’s the episode. It has to be in it.’ It’s all about, ‘Where are all the perfect little spots that all this music will fit into.’
We got “Ruby Tuesday,” at the end of episode four. The Rolling Stones are always challenging to get, but we just loved how it worked, and that came from the mind of Josh Singer. He is the one who said, ‘I really want to use this Rolling Stones song.
Another great song that I love at the end of the entire season is Caroline Spence and Matt Berninger’s song, “I Know You Know Me.” Lyrically, it’s so spot on for the story, and without giving away any kind of spoilers, it really propelled the end of the story. That song just brings all of it to life.
AD: With The Last Thing You Told Me, you sought something current. Are You There God? is all about tapping into nostalgia, girlhood, and the seventies. It’s an entirely different wheelhouse.
FP: Well, I read that book when I was in fifth grade, so to me, it was the Bible of all Bibles and the things that your mom would never talk to you about. It was a little bit ahead of my time period in the sense that I was way too young when the book came out, but there’s such a love for that music. I love 70s music, and we wanted the music to represent a bit of the innocence of Margaret.
And there’s so much variety in 70s music; you’ve got disco in the 70s, classic hard rock, and the beginning of punk in the 70s. There was this early AM soft rock used in the film to make us feel even more innocent when we watch it.
There’s nothing better to me than when Margaret gets picked to go into the seven seconds of heaven closet and gets the kiss. At a very specific moment, all of a sudden, it transitions into “Son of a Preacher Man.” And there’s just something about that song that is sneaky yet innocent and almost sexy, even though lyrically, it’s not talking about anything dark. There just was a quality to that song that made you feel everything that Margaret was going through. I think that’s what is so special about what we do as music supervisors. It’s the story behind the story through the music, and I think that’s a really special skill.
We were only covering 1968 to 1972 while Margaret was in middle school. It makes the job harder because you have to really dig to find those special gems. [Director] Kelly [Fremon Craig] was great because she kept saying, ‘I don’t want every song you can hear on K-Earth 101. K-Earth 101 is a radio station here in L.A., and it’s every hit song from that time period. There are just those little special gems that pull everything together little by little. It took a long time for us to find the right sentiment.
It also took us a while to find the film’s opening song. I probably sent 75 songs for the opening, if not more. We wanted something that would move you straight into the movie and still tell a story. We chose “Birds of a Feather,” it’s a sweet, very early seventies kind of pop song that lets the audience know that you’re about to embark on a fun ride inside the mind of a 12-year-old.
AD: How does your work influence your personal relationship with music?
FP: I’m a singer, so any chance that I can sing at the top of my lungs, I’m happy. There’s music constantly happening in my house, music from all over the place.
I love the research act aspect of my job. I just got a brand new film that will be all Italian music. I love that research, digging in, and finding music that’s about specific time periods or specific genres or regions. I love diving into those worlds. And like I said, anytime I get a chance to sing, I’m going to do it.
The Last Thing He Told Me is streaming on Apple TV+; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is playing in theaters; Daisy Jones & The Six is streaming on Prime Video.