K Recommends: “Xpectations” by Unloved

(Photo from Unloved’s record label, Heavenly Recordings, website)

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.

(Song recommendation by K Weber)