Eerily bittersweet, Lord Huron’s breakthrough song “The Night We Met” had a path to popularity as idiosyncratic as the LA folk rock band behind the hit single.
The ballad originally appeared on the band’s 2015 independently released album Strange Trails, which did well on folk charts and debuted at #23 on the Billboard 200. Several songs from the album were featured on various TV dramas. But then, two years later, “The Night We Met” popped up in the wildly popular teen drama, 13 Reasons Why (#2 on Tunefind’s most popular new shows of 2017). Lord Huron’s music is squarely indie folk rock, but explores unexpected narratives that are both stirring and unsettling. This storytelling fascinated the showrunner and music supervisor behind 13 Reasons Why.
“Giving all the credit to showrunner Brian Yorkey for that song choice – the lyrics and tone said it all!” says veteran music supervisor Season Kent, who is behind the music for hits like The Fault in Our Stars. “I’ve been a long-time Lord Huron fan and have used them several times in the past, so I was extremely excited to include them. It’s a really magical, haunting moment the song gives to this episode.”
The song had to play two roles, harkening back to a sweet, tender moment at the school dance, then returning in a dark and troubled one.“It was a song that felt like it would play at a dance,” Kent says. “Initially we thought about something like Mazzy Star, but then we went more contemporary. The song needed to have dual meaning. In the beginning of the episode, it’s very sweet, at a school dance. Clay wants to get a copy of the song, and then it turns really dark when he’s having his hallucination, when he sees Hannah during the basketball game and there’s blood all over her. I love how that song has this arc in the episode. It’s very sweet, and then it’s very haunting.”
The song’s otherworldly quality clicked with viewers, pushing the band’s career forward, in a great example of how the right song in the right scene can change an artist’s trajectory. “The Night We Met” was certified platinum in February 2018, racking up almost 225 million streams on Spotify. The song sat for two months on top of the Tunefind-powered Billboard/THR Top TV Songs Chart in early 2017, leading the song to reach number 5 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart in April and claiming the title of Tunefind’s most popular TV song of 2017.
More than streams, however, the sync brought the band devoted fans. According to the data analytics platform Chartmetric, Lord Huron averaged around 100 new followers per day on Spotify before 13 Reasons, only to spike by more than ten times during the show’s first season and settling into a new average level of about 400 new followers a day. The fans’ enthusiasm was shared by a label: Republic signed the band. Their latest tour in support of this year’s release Vide Noir has landed them in larger venues with sold-out shows.
The momentum came at just the right time, from the band’s perspective. “The timing was perfect since we already had a record done,” Lord Huron’s Ben Schneider told Uproxx for an April article on that recently-released album, Vide Noir. “So, we didn’t have to worry about some weird new pressure — it was already over in terms of writing. A little late innings boost like that was really great for us to take our time and finish the new record and, to be honest, go out and get a better record deal.”
The song resonates on. As Netflix prepares to release season 2 of 13 Reasons Why this Friday, they’ve shared a track list for the season 2 soundtrack, which includes a new version of “The Night We Met.” Kent doesn’t want to give too much away, but she explained why they decided they needed a new take on the track. “If I say anything I will spoil something for sure – so all I can say is – the song is so much a part of Hannah and Clay’s relationship – it’s an inner monologue for Clay’s true feelings for Hannah that we all feel and experience in such a strong way,” she says. “And it’s incredible the song has lived on outside of our show so well with fans.”
Featuring vocals from rising LA indie artist Phoebe Bridgers, the new version is a duet, mirroring the song’s ongoing role in the show’s story. “We wanted to give fans more of what they love’” shares Kent. ‘Phoebe brings a beautiful layer to the duet with Ben. It’s really magical and still holds the essence of the original version we all love!”
Check out the full list of songs featured in 13 Reasons Why season 2 posted on Tunefind for all your binge-watching needs.
〉Check out more music by Lord Huron
〉Read more from Season Kent: 13 Reasons Why – Music is Central to the Story
〉Complete song lists for 13 Reasons Why on Tunefind