Esquire (USA)

Tunes That Cook

We asked The Bear creator Christophe­r Storer about the songs that offer sweet relief on his chaotic restaurant drama. —Jeff Gordinier


WILCO “Via Chicago”

(episode 1)

Wilco’s presence would’ve been a coup even if The Bear

didn’t take place in Chicago. This song establishe­s an early tone: shredded nerves seeking rest. “The lyrics are gnarly—it just feels very confused in this beautiful way,” Storer says. "The show slows down for just a minute, and there’s something that feels like a lonely L ride.”

WILCO “Impossible Germany” (episode 5)

Bask in the stillness of Nels Cline’s tapestry-weaving fretwork. Everything in the kitchen is finally starting to jell. People are getting along. Can it last? “Something about that song at the end of a chaotic day,” Storer says, “it felt like a deep breath. Like they can finally breathe together.”


(episode 7)

The calm before the storm, accompanie­d by a reel of classic Chicago images: This is the last track we hear before a rave review paradoxica­lly smashes the restaurant to smithereen­s. “All of our memories of Chicago,” Storer says. “Because in five minutes we’re gonna fuckin’ destroy it.”


(episode 8)

Devastatio­n, aspiration, cash, and canned tomatoes— all set to a rush of an alienated Gen X anthem. “There’s something about ‘Let Down’ that does feel so much like disappoint­ment—and obviously being let down—but when it goes to that bridge, there’s hope for like 25 seconds. That’s what we wanted to end on.”

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