Warning: SPOILERS for Afterlife of the Party.
Here’s a full guide to Netflix’s Afterlife of the Party soundtrack, which delivers a short list of poppy, upbeat party songs by American pop and R&B singer Spencer Sutherland and one score track by composer Jessica Rose Weiss. Starring actress Victoria Justice of Nickelodeon fame (VICTORiOUS) as Cassie, a fun-loving, albeit irresponsible social butterfly, Afterlife of the Party follows Cassie into a purgatory-like afterlife after a freak accident kills her, where she’s offered the opportunity to right all her unresolved wrongs on Earth, thus earning passage to the “Above” (heaven) or, if she fails, to the “Below” (hell).
Matching the Afterlife of the Party‘s comedic “death-but-fun“ premise is a 5-track EP soundtrack that errs more on the side of fun than death. Put another way, while Cassie is stuck in the In-Between, a limbo state between heaven and hell, the album has both feet firmly planted in heaven. In fact, the album is exclusively upbeat and danceable, featuring four original songs performed by Sutherland, who stars in the movie as the famous fictional singer Koop whom Cassie idolizes; one of which includes a duet with Sutherland and Justice. Though Cassie’s fangirl obsession with Koop is repeatedly made obvious throughout the film, what’s understated about their budding connection is how, despite the chasm separating life and death, their separate journeys seem to have always pointed towards each other, with a charming twist ending that sees the two entering a “pearly gates” of sorts hand-in-hand.
For his feature film debut, Sutherland’s character has more of ambient presence in the movie, whereas the real-life pop singer Sutherland plays a more central role to the Afterlife of the Party soundtrack. Pop music fans may know Sutherland as a contestant on the UK version of The X-Factor in 2017, performing Marvin Gaye’s sultry “Let’s Get It On” for his audition and James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” in a group performance. Sutherland has also released multiple singles starting with “Heartstrings” in 2013 up to “Freaking Out” in 2019, before landing both an acting and singing role in Afterlife of the Party.
At the helm of the Afterlife of the Party soundtrack, Sutherland is the movie’s musical heart and soul. On the topic of entering the movie industry through the channel of music, Sutherland expressed in an exclusive interview with Alexisjoyvipaccess his eagerness to take on more acting roles: “I’ve found such a passion in acting now from this, and I would love to do a lot more in acting, but also a lot more in musical acting, because it was very cool to tie the two together. It was amazing.“
Whether or not that means we’ll see Sutherland in more musical acting roles in the future remains to be seen. Nonetheless, his performance in Afterlife of the Party is key to the “party” aspect of the story, and it seems likely that Netflix will continue along this pop musical trajectory with its future titles. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of each song on the movie’s soundtrack, as well as an additional song heard in the movie.
“Blush” by Spencer Sutherland – Played multiple times throughout the story, Sutherland’s “Blush” (or, rather, Koop’s “Blush” from the character’s perspective) is arguably the main theme song of the movie. Introduced by a radio DJ voiceover as “the number one song of the day” at the movie’s opening when Cassie is considering various outfits in front of her mirror, “Blush” is soon after described by Cassie and her best friend Lisa (Midori Francis) as “their song” when it’s heard playing at a dance club. This is significant when later, after Cassie dies, Cassie fulfills her role as Lisa’s spectral wing-woman by trespassing into Max’s (Timothy Renouf) apartment, Lisa’s hunky neighbor, to sabotage his record-player into accidentally playing “Blush” during a chance encounter between Max and Lisa, who is wearing a “KOOP” shirt at the time. Max takes advantage of this “coincidence” to ask Lisa on a date to see the music video set of a Koop song.
“Drive” by Spencer Sutherland – While hanging out in Lisa’s apartment, Lisa initiates an “impromptu dance party” with her deceased friend Cassie after commanding Google to “play ‘Drive’ by Koop.” It’s revealed during this exchange that Lisa introduced Cassie to Koop’s “greatness,” further suggesting of the importance of Koop’s music to their bond.
“One Look” by Spencer Sutherland – The music video Max refers to when asking Lisa on a date, Sutherland performs “One Look” in the flesh (as Koop) while standing in front of a blue convertible with a surrounding team of backup dancers. Taking advantage of her ghostly transparency, Cassie transports herself onto the music video set, much to the awe of Lisa, and she starts dancing in front of Koop, who seems vaguely and nonchalantly aware of her presence. During the song, Cassie approaches Koop for a kiss before she’s abruptly snapped back to the In-Between headquarters, where she’s chastised by her quirky guardian angel Val (Robyn Scott) for neglecting her purgatorial responsibilities.
“Home” by Spencer Sutherland & Victoria Justice – Breaking up the Sutherland monopoly on the Afterlife of the Party soundtrack is a duet track with both Sutherland and Justice, heard during the story’s end after a recently deceased Koop and Cassie meet in an elevator ascending to the Above (heaven). As the two walk hand-in-hand towards Above’s idyllic, flowery mountain range, the song starts as the end credits roll, signifying that Cassie and Koop are finally “home.”
“Score Suite” by Jessica Rose Weiss – The one non-Sutherland song on the movie’s soundtrack, “Score Suite” is the only listed track on the list attributed to the composer of the film. While somewhat more somber in parts, at least in relation to Sutherland’s dance tracks, “Score Suite” is predominated by a majestically whimsical tone familiar to many rom-com scores.
“I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos – Not listed on the official Afterlife of the Party soundtrack, “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos plays from the record-player in Max’s apartment, presumably as intended by Max this time, to set a romantic mood for him and Lisa, as they cheers to “regret” over wine, confess their feelings for one another, and kiss.