YOU’RE A DOLL

Nadia Dies. Nadia Lives. ‘Gotta Get Up’ Plays. Users Repeat.

February 21, 2019

Is Harry Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up” looping in your head, as well as on your playlist? Let us guess: You’ve watched an episode of Netflix’s new series, Russian Doll. “Gotta Get Up”—which previously wasn’t even in the singer-songwriter’s top five most-streamed tracks on Spotify—saw an astounding 3,300 percent increase in streams in the U.S. from the previous Wednesday, after the first week of the hit show’s February 1 release.

The repeat worthiness of the song is, in fact, by design. Russian Doll opens as Nadia, a rough-edged software engineer played by Natasha Lyonne, is looking in the bathroom mirror. It’s the night of her thirty-sixth birthday, and her best friend Maxine has thrown a party in her hipster-chic NYC apartment. Partygoers bang on the door, and Nilsson’s upbeat piano chords begin playing. Then, the timely, appropriate—and, as it proves, ironic—lyrics start.

“Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes…”

A few minutes into the show, Nadia leaves the party. Then, she’s hit by a car.

“Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes…”

Once again, Nadia finds herself staring at her reflection on the night of her birthday party, guests knocking on the door. She trudges, confused with déjà vu, through the party—and winds up back outside. She then falls into the East River and drowns.

“Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes…”

And so it goes in every episode: Death, bathroom, song, repeat. In some episodes, Nadia dies multiple times and, thus, the song plays several times. And it isn’t just that “Gotta Get Up” is played ad nauseam, it’s that it’s used well in terms of the plot—including a haunting instance late in the season in which the song is conspicuously absent.

But even with numerous plays throughout the eight-episode run, viewers still couldn’t get enough of Harry Nillson’s 1971 track. Nadia wasn’t the only one doing the same thing over and over: On Spotify, not only were users listening to “Gotta Get Up,” but they also repeated it on average four times per day throughout that first week of the show’s debut.

There is ample precedent, however, of the television medium’s power to push a song to new heights—though Russian Doll is unique in the song’s being essential to its plot. Another Netflix/Lyonne show, Orange is the New Black, generated huge spikes in plays of its theme song, Regina Spektor’sYou’ve Got Time,” which popped 492 percent in the U.S. from the previous Tuesday after the show debuted in 2013. Over the course of the 2017 season of Big Little Lies, Michael Kiwanuka’sCold Little Heart,” also the show’s theme song, increased 182 percent in the U.S. from the previous Sunday.

But it seems no show has done for a song what Russian Doll has for “Gotta Get Up.” It gave a mostly overlooked tune, dare we say, a new life.

Need a new song to stream after “Gotta Get Up?” Take a listen to some classic songs from Film and TV Favorites.