A Playlist for Taking Over Your Dad's Media Empire With Your Siblings
By Karenna Umscheid
Kendall Roy sympathizers, Shiv Roy devotees, and Tomgreg truthers rejoice! The final season of smash HBO hit Succession premieres on Sunday, March 26. My combined Roman/Shiv self set out to create a playlist with as much chaos as possible, to accompany a show with the wittiest writing, most insane characters, and most hilarious and devoted fans possible. These are songs for suing Greenpeace, swallowing your own load, accidentally sending nudes to your dad, running for President, committing vehicular manslaughter, being a constant disappointment to your family, and any other darkly comedic adventures season four takes us.
Crash by Charli XCX
There are few TV characters as Charli XCX-coded as Kendall Roy. The literal interpretation of this track almost exactly mirrors that fateful season one finale, ase chorus says, “I’m about to crash into the water/Can I take you with me,” and the following lyrics, “I’m high-voltage/self destructive/end it all so legendary,” depict Kendall’s actions and behaviors following the crash.
Money Power Glory by Lana Del Rey
The ideal of every Succession character, apart from parental validation, is summed up in the title of this Ultraviolence track. They all crave the most money, power, and glory they can obtain from Waystar Royco. They deal in dope and diamonds, being materialistic as a mask for their desire for love. Lana Del Rey’s soft, haunting vocals lace the melody with unease, stoking the air of wealth with the discomfort and ghosts of the album. The Roy siblings are all, hopelessly, in their Ultraviolence eras.
Hard Times by Paramore
With an absolutely joyous beat lacing depressing lyrics, this track perfectly matches the perils of the Roy siblings. The combination of sad lyricism and a fun melody matches the complete chaos, insanity, and humor of the show. Each character finds ways to hit new lows, constantly perilously falling from status and riches and love, but still, they kick it when they reach the ground.
Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean
The Roy siblings absolutely enjoy and relish in their riches, but their hearts are still unfulfilled, as the one thing their glory, power, and riches can’t afford is love. The lyrics “Too many joy rides in Daddy’s jaguar/Too many white lies and white lines” describe the lust for wealth and material that surrounded the Roy siblings for so long, that they have now run empty of that desire, instead only clamoring for pure love. Despite their riches and materialistic overabundance, they constantly lack real friends and real love.
Steamroller by Phoebe Bridgers
This one's for Tom and Greg. A painful, slow burning friends-to-lovers is best soundtracked by a heart-wrenching Phoebe Bridgers track. As she sings, “You’re a brother to me/You’re my partner in crime/You’re the feeling I get when I’m feeling fine,” I can so clearly picture beloved Gregory and Tom separately sobbing along to Phoebe’s marvelously tragic lyricism in their intoxicating love for each other.
A Burning Hill by Mitski
Kendall Roy wears his white button down as he spirals and sobs, constantly aching with regret and guilt and pain, so obviously he is a strong Mitski fan. Her hopelessly heart-wrenching lyrics, solemn voice, and haunting production perfectly match the twisted guilt and pain Kendall lives in. The self-reflective “I am a forest fire/and I am the fire and I am the forest/And I am a witness watching it” perfectly fits Kendall as he laments on his life and his decisions, and his purgatorial existence, racked with regret as he attempts to continue to work, sleep, and live.
Kill Her Freak Out by Samia
I just know Tom Wambsgans loves “Honey” by Samia, an album that encapsulates both his deep sadness and silly demeanor. But the heavily emotional opening track is definitely his favorite; his conflicting love and resentment for Shiv reflected perfectly in the lyricism. Specifically, “Can I tell you something/ I’ve never felt so unworthy of loving,” recognizes his constant sadness in his relationship with Shiv.
911 by Lady Gaga
I just know Kendall Roy loves the fun dance beat combined with the painful, introspective lyricism of this song; it’s enough to distract him from his constant depression yet also make him feel seen. The repetition of “Can’t see me cry/This is the end” represents his fears of his image, his attempts to stifle his guilt and pain, and general pit of hopelessness. He jams extra hard to the chorus, singing “My biggest enemy is me/Pop a 911” as they resonate so deeply with him, and the upbeat melody keeps him from sinking too deep in his depression.
Roman Holiday by Nicki Minaj
Slime puppy Roman Roy, narcissistic as he is, loves Nicki songs that feature her alter ego Roman Zolanski. The innate, fun narcissistic lyricism in this track fuels Roman to see himself as above everyone else. The lyrics, supplemented by incredibly fun production, go “Take your medication Roman/Take a short vacation Roman/You’ll be okay,” for he needs a holiday from his perilous existence. The song fits the sarcastic front he puts up, allowing his front of self-obsession to fuel him and hide his pain.
Industry Baby by Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow
Lil Nas X’s future 2020’s classic “Industry Baby” sings for narcissism and nepo babies, embodying the Waystar Royco personas. Both Lil Nas X’s verses and Jack Harlow’s feature are fueled with wealthy, fun narcissism and the preparedness for industrial battles. It is a perfect set up for the end of season three and what we can hope for in season four, an absolute comeback for the Roy siblings in their quest to take over.
Moaning Lisa Smile by Wolf Alice
The woman depicted in this song, struggling with mommy and daddy issues, lack of control, absolutely mirrors Shiv’s existence and pain. As nothing she does will ever be enough for her to be treated with the respect of a man. The lyrics, “You wait for something to undo these feelings/ Waiting and waiting but it’s out of control” clearly depict Shiv as her dreams of running Waystar Royco slip out of her hands, as her grip of control over her standing loosens. Her desire for love and for control are both running out.
My Kink is Karma by Chappell Roan
Each sibling's attacks on each other and on their father are attempts to fill the empty void inside them of the abandonment and lack of approval they feel from their parents. Although it's superficial, they find joy and pleasure in each other’s pain, as they clamor for their father’s limited love. I could very well see this being Shiv’s season four anthem, from her “you’re not good enough for me” dirty talk to the anger Tom’s betrayal has fueled her with. but this track works for all the siblings in their attempts to climb to the top.
Dynasty by Rina Sawayama
Sorrow runs in the bloodstream of the Roy family, a cutthroat nature developed through neglect and jealousy and pure lack of love. “Dynasty,” in its lyricism and instrumentation, is a perfect encapsulation of the themes of the show. The lyrics of this song beg to break the hereditary pain, passed down from generation to generation due to greed, excessive wealth, betrayal, and lies.