The hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” debuted its third season this week, and the soundtrack is packed with hit songs. The black comedy series takes place in an all-women’s penitentiary, and it features a diverse cast of complex and complicated women. As anticipated, season three is continuing in the same female-centric vein, and this time around, the show is also featuring a soundtrack that matches its cast in terms of diversity, stardom, punch, pop, swing and sizzle.
Along with its existing pop songs and highly successful title track, which was written and sung by Regina Spektor, season three showcases original music by Gwendolyn Sanford, Brandon Jay and Scott Doherty.
Two songs featured in the season, “Heroin Romper Room” and “Incarcerated Bargaining,” were written as short bits of music that accompanied scenes on the show. A third song, called, “On Golden Pond,” spanned for an eleven-minute stretch with almost no dialogue in the season finale. “Working on that was really exciting,” songwriter Gwendolyn Sanford said.
The contributing musicians first watched a rough cut of the show’s finale while working on the music for an earlier episode. They decided to set aside extra time to work on the finale because it was so pivotal. The trio of songwriters spent five days interweaving various musical themes from the entire season, representing different characters and events, into building up a waltzing, glorious sounding end sequence.
“Wrongs are forgiven, people are falling in love, wounds are healed and all is right in the world,” said Brandon Jay, who worked on the composition. “The prisoners feel free, almost.”
Sanford and Jay are partners both in musical collaboration and in marriage. They compose music with Scott Doherty in their garage in Los Angeles. Sanford and Jay first began writing music together as members of a group called Gwendolyn and the Goodtime Gang. This project started out as a children’s music group, and they have released four albums over the course of their career together. OITNB creator Jenji Kohan’s own children were fans of the group, which is how Sanford and Jay came to the attention of the television producer. They all worked together on making music for the Showtime series “Weeds.” The group wrote music for seven out of eight seasons of “Weeds”.