“A new and totally unique season of Archer” has slowly become as dependable a constant in life as death and taxes since the FX (now FXX) animated series debuted back in 2009. Now on its 12th season, the show has dipped in and out of genres ranging from James Bond spoof to workplace comedy to, most recently, surrealist sci-fi dreamscapes rooted in the coma-induced mind of the show’s titular role. With the new season teasing a return to its 007-riffing roots, it also sweetens the deal by introducing a new set of characters voiced by the likes of Pamela Adlon, Eric Andre, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Tobolowsky, and others into the show’s universe.
With their characters firmly defined over the course of the past decade and change, it was no issue for H. Jon Benjamin (the voice of Archer) and Lucky Yates (the voice of the slightly sociopathic Dr. Algernop Krieger) to channel these alter egos and throw together a playlist of tracks Archer and Krieger would conceivably queue up while trading the aux cord back and forth on a road trip. From the whiskey-soaked punk lullabies of The Pogues any mommy-issues metal of Danzig shading the former, to the operatic rock of Judas Priest, Rush, and Gogol Bordello inspiring the latter, check out their picks below, as well as both actors’ reasons for including them.
H. Jon Benjamin
The Pogues/The Dubliners, “Whiskey in the Jar”
Archer, both the show and the man, are awash in whiskey. It’s the fuel that drives him, his mother, and most of the mistakes made day-to-day.
I mean, for the sheer size of Archer’s Oedipal complex, this song seems pretty on-the-nose. Plus, Archer calls Malory “mother.” It’s the kind of formality that begs the question.
Desmond Dekker, “007 (Shantytown)”
I know this is maybe too obvious, but the show’s clear lineage comes from the Flemings’ James Bond series. Additionally, I’m guessing a young Archer went through a reggae phase.
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”
I think Archer and Lana’s rocky relationship is central to the series. It’s the kind of relationship one could have seen in the screwball comedies of the ’40s, like Gable and Colbert or Grant and Hepburn, but way more X-rated.
Ashley Serena, “Bayu Bayushki”
I imagine this is the lullaby Malory sang to Archer and Archer sings to his daughter. Archer’s father may be a KGB spy and the lyrics are so scary that if a baby understood it, he/she would be traumatized forever. That would be very on-brand.
The Rolling Stones, “Let’s Spend the Night Together”
I quickly crunched the numbers and if we place Archer in contemporary time—as in the Archer world and our world are parallel in time—my calculation is that Mick Jagger wrote this song about Malory.
Rick Ross, “Hustlin’”
Archer dealt cocaine for the CIA.
Corps of Royal Engineers Band, “Rule Britannia”
I chose this as an ode to Wodehouse, who fought for Britain’s colonial rule in Africa. Not necessarily a good thing, but he ended up a great valet.
Phil Collins, “Sussudio”
I’m speculating Archer’s second favorite move is American Psycho. Right behind Gator.
Yes, it’s pronounced Y*Y*ZED. No, Krieger hasn’t mastered it. But until he does, it’s always number one on his playlist. Always.
Styx, “Mr. Roboto”
Secret, secret, I’ve got a secret. This song inspired so many things in Krieger’s life—so many dark and curious things. Don’t think too much about it, just listen to this ridiculous jam. Kilroy!
Ramones, “Teenage Lobotomy”
What was Krieger like as a teenager? How weird did things get? Were lobotomies involved? Probably. You know he loves this song (and the Ramones) though.
Thomas Dolby, “She Blinded Me with Science”
Everything about this song screams Algernop Krieger. It’s deliciously weird and everybody secretly loves it even if they pretend they don’t. Side note: Krieger doesn’t understand why people don’t make a bigger deal out of the fact that Thomas Dolby and Alton Brown are clearly clones, spliced from the same source.
Be cool or be cast out, bitches! This is Rush at its 1980s synth-iest, but this song still kicks ass. A dystopian warning about the dangers of conformity. “Fie on the normals!” — A. Krieger
Judas Priest, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”
The hammering beat, the screaming vibrato of the lyrics, the leather. No wonder Krieger built a whole van devoted to this song. Rob Halford is a British national treasure (I assume…I’m not from England). Did you know he was managing a porno theater when he joined Judas Priest? It’s true! Rob Halford seems fun.
Def Leppard, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants. It’s also how you get Krieger to dance around in his underwear at literally any party.
Oingo Boingo, “Weird Science”
Krieger wrote his doctorate thesis on how this song was a legitimate philosophy of medicine. He passed. With honors. Krieger didn’t go to a very reputable school. Or any school, for that matter.
Gogol Bordello, “Start Wearing Purple”
Shout out to a certain elderly fortune-telling lady of nomadic European descent! For no particular reason, I always think of Krieger when I listen to this amazing jam. I think he’s probably a huge Gogol Bordello fan. At least their earlier stuff.
Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, “Ease on Down the Road”
Jazz hands for The Wiz (stage and screen)! This one goes out to Jessica Walter. Miss you, doll.