How Lara Jean and Peter Found Their Song, “Beginning Middle End”
Minor spoilers for To All the Boys: Always and Forever ahead.
How do you capture Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky’s love story in a song? That’s the challenge To All the Boys: Always and Forever music supervisors Laura Webb and Lindsay Wolfington faced for the final chapter of Netflix’s hit trilogy. Because as our lead couple prepares for college and prom and changes in their family life in the film, they’re also on the hunt for a signature romantic soundtrack.
“It was a huge task,” Wolfington tells BAZAAR.com. “In my head, I was like, ‘Oh my God, we have to live up to the expectations of Peter Gabriel “In Your Eyes.’” We have to nail this.” She and Webb, who also worked on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and the sequel, only had about a week and a half to make a decision before filming began, and they had to find a band to cover it for the film. No pressure.
“We considered anything and everything,” Wolfington explains. “Do we go with the greatest love song of all time? But we don’t want it to feel old or stale in the movie. So it was most exciting for everybody to use a song that was brand new.”
They landed on “Beginning Middle End,” written by Leah Nobel and Quinn Redmond. Lara Jean discovers the song, being performed by indie rock band The Greeting Committee, at an NYU party during a school trip to New York. The sweet, mellow track fits right in with TATBILB’S dreamy, alt-pop musical soundscape, and as the title suggests, the lyrics perfectly reflect Lara Jean and Peter’s three-part love story (plus what may lie ahead). “How do you say it better?” says Webb.
During their search, Wolfington and Webb asked labels and publishers for a “happy love song,” and received “Beginning Middle End” as a demo at the time. “We were able to work with the songwriters to kind of tailor it for what we needed, because, obviously we needed a band to cover it. We needed [Lara Jean and Peter] to do a slow dance to it,” Wolfington says. “When we first heard it, it was closest to how it appears in the end credits.”
That means they got to be hands-on with the production too. “We literally were like, ‘Make it more lush! More strings!’ We wanted to give you all the feels,” she adds. “It was really important to us to make that be a really, hopefully timeless song for movie history,” says Webb.
Here, the duo break down the music of Always and Forever, including those fun K-pop and Spice Girls inclusions.
The Greeting Committee were one of the last bands considered.
The group’s cameo came together fast and took place in the first week of filming Always and Forever in New York.
“We wanted to find a band that had young members who are believable to be playing an NYU party, but they also had songs that were indie, but also upbeat enough that you might want to dance for them. And the Greeting Committee was one the last bands pitched to us,” Wolfington remembers. “‘[The production team was] like, ‘Okay, we have this on-camera opportunity. Who has a band who can be in New York next week, basically.’”
Everything needed to move quickly. Addie Sartino, the lead singer, and the rest of the Kansas City, Missouri-based band made a cover of the song “in a day, practically,” Webb says. The team was looking for a version that sounded right for a live performance at a rooftop party. “So it’s sort of like, who can scramble quick, and who has the right sound? And they had it.”
The Greeting Committee have three songs in the Always and Forever soundtrack.
The sound of the third TATILB movie is more mature.
There are 47 songs in Always and Forever. “So you get a lot, but, hopefully we’re reflecting [Lara Jean’s] maturity as she’s dealing with a real big life decision,” Wolfington says.
Like the lead protagonist, the music in the TATILB series has also grown up too. In the first film, Lara Jean is “more awkward and quirky and she writes her own letters, she is reading romance novels, and she’s just younger,” Webb says. “And the second, you start to see her mature and she has a real relationship and what that entails, and that is hard work, and it’s not just all dreams, the fantasies. And then in the third film, she’s really making important, big life decisions for her to really follow her heart. So we want to tell that with music.”
Still, Webb and Wolfington wanted to keep the songs “true to Lara Jean’s character and spirit.” The lush and dreamy musical landscape of the series also has an unintentional ‘80s influence, which ties in with the trilogy’s John Hughes references and LJ’s favorite films.
There was more K-pop this time around.
“We intentionally chose female K-pop stars or bands and it just felt really good, especially for the opening montage of them in Korea,” Webb says. The team explored a few options for those opening moments given the energy, cuts, and pacing of the scenes, and “Gee” by Girls’ Generation did the trick.
“Q&A” by Cherry Bullet comes in as Lara Jean and her family are flying back from Seoul. “That one’s a really sweet, really cool, soft tune,” says Webb. And they were interested in including an artist that wasn’t as massively popular as Girls’ Generation or Blackpink.
And speaking of the superstar quartet, Blackpink’s brassy “Pretty Savage,” from their 2020 debut LP, The Album, also makes an appearance. “When the new album came out, of course, we’re like, ‘Oh, let’s see if they have anything else,’ because our director really loved “Kill This Love” from film number two,” Webb says.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came together so quickly that they weren’t able to include a K-pop song that worked, Wolfington says. So for P.S. I Still Love You, they were actively on the lookout for cool tracks to use. That’s where “Kill This Love” came in. For the third film, the team was even more committed to the genre K-pop, given the scenes filmed in Korea and Lara Jean’s Korean heritage.
Of course Peter Kavinsky is an Oasis fan.
Peter’s contribution to the search for his and Lara Jean’s song? An Oasis playlist. His love for the English rock band was partly due to the fact that Webb, Wolfington, and director Michael Fimognari were all fans themselves.
“Feasibly, [Peter’s] dad would have played them, or his mother would have played Oasis for him,” Webb explains.
“And we definitely gravitated towards the nineties as a decade of music that maybe kids, teenagers are looking back and discovering now,” Wolfington adds. “So Peter Kavinsky would know who Oasis was, but maybe Lara Jean wouldn’t.”
Even though the young couple doesn’t end up choosing an Oasis song to describe their romance, the mention is still a genuine tribute to the group. “And thankfully Oasis was very excited about it,” Webb says.
There are some musical callbacks to the first film.
“I Like Me Better” by Lauv, which blew up after appearing in the first To All the Boys film and trailer, returns in Always and Forever. In the first movie, it played while Lara Jean, Peter, and their classmates were on a bus ride for the ski trip. In the third, it plays while the class is on a bus arriving to New York. The opening lines fit the scene perfectly: “To be young and in love in New York City.” But this version needed more energy, Wolfington says. So they reached out to Lauv’s management to ask for a remix, and they landed on a Ryan Riback version, which is what you hear in the film. “That was a total, intentional wink,” Wolfington says.
Anna of the North, whose song “Lovers” soundtracked that famous hot tub scene in the first movie, has also appeared in all three TATBILB installments. “It feels nice to go full circle on everything,” Webb says. And Ashe, whose song “Moral of the Story” became a hit from the second film, returned to write a song for a “kind of break-up moment in film three,” Wolfington says.
It’s hard to pick a favorite music moment, but Spice Girls is up there.
Looking back at their work on all three films, Webb and Wolfington’s favorite TATILB songs include “Lovers” by Anna of the North, “About Love” by MARINA, “Moral of the Story” by Ashe, and, of course, “Beginning Middle End.”
Throwing in Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” was also a big highlight. “And we’re kind of intrigued to see if there’s any bump in streams or popularity for Spice Girls, because obviously they don’t need the push, but it’s been 20 years since that song came out,” Wolfington says. “Will it appeal to a new generation? We think it will.”
“Won’t Let Go” by Black Match, the final song in Always and Forever, is also a special one. “I just tear up every time I watch that,” Webb says. “We’re so thankful we had all these wonderful artists want to be a part of the film and also expose them to new people, to a bigger audience. It’s hard. They’re all really good.”
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