What’s that song?

In another life I was a music supervisor. I love the way music and film and television work together, creating memorable moments–making you feel something. My playlists are time capsules of TV shows and movie scenes that filled me with different emotions. Whether it’s a song from Alias that makes me want to kick-ass (or at the very least, get on the treadmill), or a sappy, love song from a rom-com, my music collection is filled with songs I just had to download as soon as the credits rolled.

Teen shows from the ’90s and early ’00s loved to use music in a night club atmosphere, often choosing bands that were already popular for ratings: Buffy the Vampire Slayer had The Bronze, Beverly Hills, 90210 had the Peach Pit After Dark, Charmed had P3, and so on. But it wasn’t until Alias that I started hearing bands I wasn’t familiar with, and I’d go searching online after each episode for song titles. This was right around the time iTunes came out, making it easy to download a single here and there. And thus began my love affair with finding new music from TV shows.

Grey’s Anatomy came along a few years later, and those first few seasons were fantastic–Snow Patrol, The Fray, Tegan and Sara! I started paying attention to who was choosing the music and discovered Alexandra Patsavas was the genius behind all the shows I loved. (Grey’s, Roswell, Gossip Girl, Supernatural, Chuck, The O.C.) Pretty soon an iTunes charge was popping up on my bank account almost every day. (It’s just a little too easy to hit that accept button, isn’t it?) Alexandra certainly isn’t the only game in town, though, and I also cleaned up with shows like The Vampire Diaries, Veronica Mars, and Girls.

As TV shows have gotten better at selecting music, I’ve noticed that there are very few impressive movie soundtracks anymore. (Fifty Shades of Grey was the last album I enjoyed almost every song off of.) It used to be sheer joy to walk into a record store and pick out a soundtrack from the latest movie. My sister and I drove across country in 2004 and I remember stopping halfway, in need of more music for our road trip, and picking up Love Actually, Charlie’s Angels, and 13 Going on 30. (I have obviously just announced my age.) It looks like the Golden Age of Television is taking over in this area, as well.

I put my music on shuffle and thought I’d share a sampling of the songs that make me laugh/dance/cry, and the scenes/shows they came from. Thanks for indulging me. 🙂


“Have a Little Faith in Me”, John Hiatt – Dawson’s Creek (Joey and Pacey on the boat)

“Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover”, Sophie B. Hawkins – Beverly Hills, 90210 (summer season, Kelly & Dylan on the beach)

“All I Want Is You”, U2 – Reality Bites (Ethan Hawke & Winona Ryder talk on her front porch at the end of the film–one of my favorite movies)

“If You Leave”, Nada Surf – The O.C. (Seth runs to catch Anna at the airport)

“Rivers and Roads”, The Head and the Heart – Chuck (Chuck and Sarah sit on the beach in the finale)

“God of Love”, Alana Davis – Roswell (Isabel gets married)

“Same Mistakes”, The Echo-Friendly – Girls (credits, season 1)

“From Rusholme With Love”, Mint Royale – Alias (Sydney dances with friends)

“Boys Don’t Cry”, Grant-Lee Phillips – How I Met Your Mother (season 2, ep 1)

“Displaced”, Azure Ray – Felicity (this show was all about the sad music)

“U.R.A. Fever”, The Kills – Gossip Girl (Serena tells Blair that she killed someone)

“Poison Cup”, M.Ward – Veronica Mars (Veronica ignores Logan’s call, he sees it and looks DESTROYED–epic musical moment)

“Leave Your Boyfriends Behind”, Leona Naess – Cougar Town (the gang has a perfect beach day)

“Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken”, Camera Obscura – P.S. I Love You (opening credits)

“Erase & Rewind”, The Cardigans – Never Been Kissed (Drew’s crowned as Prom Queen)

“Steady As We Go”, Dave Matthews Band – Everwood (Ephram & Amy dance)

“Fool of Me”, Me’Shell NdegeOcello – Love & Basketball (Q & Monica play for his heart at the end)

“Head Over Heels”, Digital Daggers – The Vampire Diaries (Masquerade ball)

“Tenderness”, General Public – Clueless (Cher catches the bouquet at the end)

“I Need My Girl”, The National – The Mindy Project (Mindy and Casey break up to this heartbreaking track)

“Drifting In and Out”, Porcelain Raft – Celeste and Jesse Forever (trailer, perfectly captures the essence of the film)

“Wild Horses”, The Sundays – Fear (like anyone could forget that roller coaster ride!)


I guess I should stop there. I mean, where can you go after a Fear reference?


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