This article contains spoilers for the fifth season of “Better Call Saul.”
Season five of AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” a spinoff of “Breaking Bad,” concluded with a bang on April 20. Each season of “Better Call Saul” seems to get better and better, which is a shock to viewers like me, who can’t imagine how the next season could be better than the last.
As we not-so-patiently wait for the show’s final season and our reunion with our favorite cast of all time, here’s a playlist to remind us of how much we love the writing, acting and production of “Better Call Saul.” Spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t had a chance to watch season five, bookmark this for after you finish.
“Something Stupid” — Lola Marsh
We kick off the playlist in the same way “Better Call Saul” has kicked off two different episodes: with Lola Marsh’s “Something Stupid,” a cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid.” The clapping and happy guitar in the track’s background are familiar to viewers from season four, episode seven — also titled “Something Stupid” — and season five, episode nine, “Bad Choice Road.” While both episodes open with a split screen montage, with Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) on one side and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) on the other, each episode details very different events. In season five, “Something Stupid” is the backdrop for Jimmy’s treacherous trek through the desert, while in season four, it’s the backdrop for Kim and Jimmy’s daily routines. The similarity between the music and film styles highlights how Kim and Jimmy’s relationship has starkly shifted between then and now. This is at the core of what we love about “Better Call Saul,” in addition to the way the show’s history is ingrained in every episode like a genetic code, with every choice made by the show’s writers completely intentional.
“Al Compás De Mi Caballo” — The Imperials
This is the song that’s playing when Nacho (Michael Mando), along with the audience, meets the legendary Eduardo “Lalo” Salamanca (Tony Dalton), who will turn into one of the most pivotal characters of season five. Nacho enters the kitchen to see Lalo singing “Al Compás De Mi Caballo” and preparing a special recipe, a “Salamanca family secret.” “Al Compás De Mi Caballo” is written by a Cumbia band celebrating the rhythm and color of Venezuela. And what better song for Lalo than one that celebrates heritage? There is no one else on the show who is more outwardly proud of their Salamanca family ties than Lalo. The upbeat tempo of the song matches the loopy smile that never leaves Lalo’s face. This smile is often accompanied by his psychopathic stare that never fails to intimidate. Lalo is one of the best additions to the “Breaking Bad” universe, distinguished by Dalton’s terrifying performance. Although Lalo is known for the unpredictability and ferocity he employs in protecting the Salamanca name at all costs, this introductory song reminds us of what makes Lalo most likable: his love for his family, tradition and home.
“Year of the Tiger” — St. Vincent
“When I was young, coach called me the tiger,” croons Annie Clark, lead singer of St. Vincent. This song is dedicated to Kim, who showed her true colors this season — orange and black stripes. Kim is fierce, independent and knows her own mind, as we saw in the heart-stopping scene in which Kim stands up to Lalo in episode nine. The strong beat of “Year of the Tiger” is reminiscent of Kim, who marches steadily through the situations thrown at her, her iconic ponytail bobbing, always coming out gracefully on top. When Clark sings “I always had a knack with danger,” we are reminded of Kim disarming Lalo as she insults the way he runs the cartel, with her career as a lawyer coming in handy when she argues for her life. Jimmy isn’t a bad influence on Kim, as we had previously thought from events in past seasons; instead, Jimmy has just been chipping away at Kim’s facade to finally reveal who she has been all along. Kim joins all the other characters in this universe who have “broken bad.” She’s a hustler who will do what it takes to fight for what she believes is right, a sentiment that’s echoed in this track.
“Better Call Saul Main Title Theme” — Little Barrie
No “Better Call Saul” playlist can be complete without the title theme. The infectious riff that you just can’t help but sing along to is what fans look forward to hearing every Monday night. Now, we wait to hear it in the final season of “Better Call Saul,” feeling both nostalgic and nervous as the characters we have become attached to meet their destinies.