The White Lotus, Mike White’s miniseries turned regular series about a fictional hotel chain full of terrible rich people, returned last month with an (almost) entirely new cast and a sultry Italian seaside setting. Like the first season, season two has used its extensive access to the Four Seasons and posse of status-y actors to introduce a lot of questions about power, money, sex, and gender dynamics. While I do not expect to find out exactly what it is trying to say about these concepts by the end of the season, there’s one thing about White Lotus season two about which I have no doubt: Its theme song is an absolute banger.
“Renaissance (Main Title Theme),” not to be confused with Renaissance (Beyoncé album), plays over the series’ opening credits. It has no words. Its genre is neither classical music nor EDM, but also both of those. Its vocals, if we can call them that, sound like yodelers deep in the throes of an acid trip. It starts slow, with a misleadingly placid piano melody, and then builds gradually into an intoxicating frenzy of operatic discothèque music. There is, at one point, a distinct human screech that somehow makes sense. And then, suddenly, it ends with a folksy guitar strum, as if it had not just bombarded you with the sounds of an alternate universe. It is the only music worth listening to right now.
“Renaissance” will probably sound familiar to anyone who has listened to the theme song from season one, a.k.a. “Aloha! — Main Title Theme.” (Both were created by the show’s composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer, a Chilean Canadian musician with an excellent handlebar mustache.) “Aloha” introduced the same recurring melody you hear in “Renaissance,” and it, too, featured sounds that were both human and also not. But where the original theme song sounded like a spooky opera performed somewhere deep in the jungle, its successor is far more aurally assaulting, with much more je ne sais quoi.
At first, I was content to enjoy “Renaissance” once a week while taking in the perverse frescoes of The White Lotus’ opening credits. But there are so many other places I want to hear this song. I want to play it on repeat while working out. I want to bop my head to its little nts-nts sounds while in line for coffee. I want to stand under a glitter gun in a nightclub and have it vibrating through the speakers so loud I can’t feel my face. While I cannot technically make all of these fantasies happen, I can urge you to look past HBO’s “Skip Intro” button into a new world of sonic possibility. Join me: