Alex Garland’s latest film, Civil War, has hit theaters with a bang, sparking conversations across the nation with its depiction of a dystopian America torn apart by a new Civil War. With a star-studded cast including Kirsten Dunst and Nick Offerman, Civil War doesn’t just pack intense narrative and action-packed sequences; its unique musical selections on its soundtrack also play a crucial role throughout the film.

The narrative follows a plucky group of journalists as they navigate the treacherous journey from New York City to Washington, D.C., intent on documenting the decline of a White House under siege and securing a final interview with the authoritarian President before his downfall. This harrowing story is set against the backdrop of a thoughtfully curated soundtrack that alternately complements and contrasts the onscreen events.

The director, known for his careful and often complex storytelling, has made sure that the soundtrack of “Civil War” is more than mere background noise; it is an integral piece of the film’s atmosphere. Garland’s collaborators, Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, who have a history of working with him, contribute their musical talents to the project, adding layers to an already textured cinematic experience.

Alex Garland on Civil War and Its Soundtrack

Director Alex Garland calls his movie “a difficult film” and a feature where “the more the film says, the better” in an exclusive interview with, but it is also a film where music plays an important role.

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Some people felt the songs used to accompany the warfare and tense dialogue exchanges were perfect, while others needed the director’s explanation.

Explaining the use of a De La Soul track in one of the film’s pivotal scenes, Garland argued that: “Contemporary music didn’t work… It created a bit of a funny messaging that hurt the film.”

One particular music choice that has stirred conversation is the inclusion of a De La Soul track during a crucial scene, which Garland expounded on during a Q&A session at SXSW (SlashFilm!). Instead of contemporary beats that could lighten the movie’s grim tone, Garland opted for tracks that would evoke a sense of discomfort and challenge the audience.

Jesse Plemons in Alex Garland's Civil War (2024)
Jesse Plemons in Alex Garland’s Civil War (2024)

Garland argued that: “Contemporary music didn’t work… It created a bit of a funny messaging that hurt the film.” The De La Soul song, in particular, was chosen for its capacity to be provocative and intense, reflecting the perverse exhilaration within the film’s conflict without glamorizing the idea of war.

Each song was chosen with the utmost attention to detail, then “to make this not seem like a good idea to have a civil war, but a bad idea.”

Civil War soundtrack stands as a testament to Garland’s vision of a film that speaks volumes, both visually and audibly. Garland’s approach to the “Civil War” soundtrack reaffirms the notion that music in cinema is not just an accessory but a potent storyteller in its own right, capable of shaping the audience’s emotions and perceptions throughout their cinematic journey.

Soundtrack of A24’s ‘Civil War’: A Sonic Exploration of Music Choices


  • ‘Lovefingers’ by Silver Apples
  • ‘Rocket USA’ by Suicide
  • ‘Say No Go’ by De La Soul
  • ‘Sweet Little Sister’ by Skid Row
  • ‘Breakers Roar’ by Sturgill Simpson
  • ‘Dream Baby Dream’ by Suicide
  • Where to listen to the Civil War soundtrack

Also, Read: Civil War (2024) Movie Review

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