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Dearest gentle reader, 'Bridgerton' has created a song for the first dance at your wedding

Ashley Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Each new season of "Bridgerton" brings a bounty of reveals: Steamy romances. Elaborate balls. Whistledown dispatches. And string quartet covers of pop hits to accompany it all.

"We're always looking for covers that are pretty recognizable and also enhance the story we're telling," said music supervisor Justin Kamps. "Sometimes we like the more straightforward cover with the steady tempo that's perfect for the ball sequences, and then other times we like the ones with a bit more creativity in the arrangement so it's a bit more emotional."

Picking and placing orchestral covers for the Netflix series is an intricate process, beginning with what Season 3 showrunner Jess Brownell estimates to be "a playlist of maybe 100 or 200 orchestral versions of pop songs" that — with input from directors, producers and Netflix — is trimmed down to a dozen or so standouts.

According to the Economist, it's led to a surge of classical musicians recording pop covers, string quartet bookings at weddings, and live events that merge classical music and pop. After the release of the third season's first batch of episodes last month, Spotify searches for "Bridgerton" content increased 1,700%, while the creation of "Bridgerton"-related playlists on Spotify spiked nearly 400% in the U.S.

"It's been so exciting to watch the 'Bridgerton' sound become solidified and become so popular," said the series' composer Kris Bowers. "In the beginning, it was really an experiment, but now that we're a few years into it, there's this huge ocean of classical covers of pop songs that exists, either because of how many people were inspired by 'Bridgerton' or people who make one in hopes of getting into the show."

After renditions of hits like BTS' "Dynamite," Ariana Grande's "pov" and Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me," Season 3 ends with an orchestral cover of "All I Want," the franchise's first original song. The cover evokes the series' now-signature sound (this one performed by a string quintet instead of a quartet, noted Bowers) and echoes the pop sensibilities of songs regularly covered for "Bridgerton" — which is coincidental, because the songwriters for "All I Want" didn't even know they were writing for the hit show.

"The prompt was to write a love song for a Netflix project that could be a first dance at a wedding," said Rogét Chahayed, who wrote "All I Want" with friends and fellow songwriters Wesley Singerman, Taylor Dexter and Nicole Cohen in the span of a day. "It can be a lot of pressure to write to a prompt, but in the middle of the session, we all looked at each other and agreed that it sounded like a song you'd want to hear at a memorable event you share with your family and friends."

 

According to Bowers, an original "Bridgerton" song has been in the works for years; he was part of an attempt to create one for last year's spinoff series "Queen Charlotte," but it didn't come to fruition. For "Bridgerton" fans, "All I Want" is worth the wait: the full track features the intricate vocals of Tori Kelly; its lyrics are a litany of similes for perfect fits and long-lasting love.

"A lot of people [writing music today] try to be aware of TikTok and trends and things like that," added Chahayed. "But we really wanted this song to almost outlive social media and feel timeless, sound beautiful and say something really heartfelt."

So with all the work put into "All I Want," why does the orchestral cover play during the final episode's end credits, a section regularly cut short for the viewer by Netflix's previews, instead of during a key "Bridgerton" scene? It's because of timing. According to Kamps, the initiative was "mostly spearheaded by the Netflix music team and the Netflix marketing team" for the "Bridgerton" wedding event earlier this year (Kelly debuted the track for the first dance between two newly wedded superfans).

"Everyone loved the song so much that they wanted to try to find a way to incorporate it into the actual show as well," he explained. "Kris then did an amazing job with the cover and we were looking for somewhere [in the show] that made sense, but we had already found all these other spots for music that we love. So now it's a lovely way to cap off the season."

Thankfully, fans who want to hear "All I Want" in full — both the Kelly version and the orchestral cover — can listen to it on the season's soundtrack, now streaming on all digital platforms.


©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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