Gunpowder and Sky (after Aimee Mann) by E. Kristin Anderson
To read this piece, click the album cover below.
About the author: E. Kristin Anderson is a poet and glitter enthusiast living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, Texas. A Connecticut College alumna with a B.A. in classical studies, Kristin’s work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Texas Review, The Pinch, Barrelhouse Online, Puerto del Sol, and FreezeRay Poetry. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press) and is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including Pray Pray Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press, forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked the night shift at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter at @ek_anderson.
There’s this backbone throughout the series “Killing Eve” that holds dark plot lines and risky, love-hate relationships together. It’s chilling. Surprisingly, it’s not childlike, sociopathic Villanelle. It’s not Eve, who desperately seeks to understand a killer but is allured by how Villanelle carries herself. The song, “Xpectations,” by Unloved is a major feature of the overall show. It acts as the soundtrack’s spine: alluded to from season to season.
I watched “Killing Eve” twice. The first time I enjoyed playful, surprising scenarios. The music tempted me. It was as entrancing as the scenes; slipping around corners, flirting, leading into secret spaces, making decisions under the influence of infatuation. I decided to watch the series again to pay attention to the seductive tunes. “Xpectations” is the song we encounter in the first scene of the show that introduces us to Villanelle, her unconventional style and lack of empathy. “Xpectations” appears in end credits, but parts of the song reappear to remind us it is always there: every other song a derivation of it.
The lingering mood in “Xpectations” connects to the 1960s French/international pop and similar dreamy music played (it’s not shocking that a Cigarettes After Sex song shows up). These songs were made for those with bedroom eyes who fall into rabbit holes of intrigue like Eve. More songs by Unloved play across episodes and act as a musical score. Viewers find familiarity in those tracks courtesy of “Xpectations.” Listening to each song is like hearing a whisper and turning around to find a cool breath of air.
“Killing Eve” isn’t for everyone, is violent, and the interplay between Eve and Villanelle can be confusing. “Xpectations” reflects this idea beautifully as it exemplifies things we say when we try to convince ourselves we are not backing down or giving in…
I’ll never give into your… your reflection…
Stop, where you are. I’m yours to love. I’m yours to hate. Isn’t that one and the same…
But then we dare to do the opposite — momentarily become spineless.