In the fictional worlds of our favorite TV shows, nothing says “relevance” like a cool soundtrack. Whether you’re watching Nashville, Girls, or Glee, the best TV soundtracks amplify what we already love about the series and are just one more reason for us to tune in and turn it up. Here are some of our fave TV show soundtracks.
Whether it’s the thoughtful introspection of Michael Penn in “On Your Way”, the catchy, driving beat of Santigold’s “Girls” or Fun.’s “Sight of the Sun” (a track contributed exclusively for the series soundtrack, thanks to Girls creator Lena Dunham’s real-life boyfriend and Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff), Girls has a variety of musical moods and genres that make it a great playlist for any road trip.
Grey’s Anatomy 3
Being a medical melodrama, the series soundtrack is a tidy compendium of emotional singer-songwriter anthems about struggle, loss, and “love you no matter what.” Mat Kearney contributes the haunting “Breathe In Breathe Out”, while Ingrid Michaelson continues the theme with “Keep Breathing”. The record has a nice upbeat balance with tunes like Feist’s percussion heavy “Sealion” and Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks”, with its bongo-infused whistling melody. The Bird & the Bee’s “Again & Again,” as well as Koop’s “Come to Me,” send us back to the 1960s of Jean-Luc Goddard. As a single playlist, the album is a bit all over the map, but fans of the show will enjoy remembering their favorite moments.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the show, one of the best TV soundtracks features this group of incredibly talented young performers who get the added benefit of singing some fantastic original arrangements of pop music from every era. Any of the series soundtracks are great, but season two may be the frontrunner, if for no other reason than Chris Colfer’s amazing performance on “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” This young star, a rare genuine countertenor, is a passionate artist who makes his costars that much better.
Da Vinci’s Demons
Bear McCreary’s eclectic influences and multi-layered construction make him perhaps the most sought after composer for the sci-fi/fantasy genre. He’s done Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and, of course, Battlestar Galactica. Here, his traditional orchestral scoring gives the sometimes anachronistic Starz series a level of gravitas it doesn’t always have through script alone. From the haunting melodies floating on the strings of cello and viola that convey the rich historical influences of the main character, to the synthesized beats and accents that clarify a modern interpretation (and are perhaps symbolic of how relevant Da Vinci still is in today’s world), McCreary sends us into a dream world full of mystery and reverence; frivolity and hope.
If you don’t have Starz, here is a splendid example of the breadth of McCreary’s creativity. In addition to his traditional scoring, McCreary also gives us original songs (in an extraterrestrial language, no less). “The Ritual of Perpetual Motion” is a venture into chaotic, musical arrhythmia; a combination of something like early ’90s industrial with the lyric soprano of Elizabeth Fraser. “Terraform My Heart,” though sung in English, is given a decidedly “other worldly” quality. “Castithan Wedding Song” is another beautiful and haunting, unmelodic lyric set to the fluid undercurrent of the cello.
If you’re a country music fan, you’re probably already regularly watching the show. But even if you aren’t, this soundtrack, performed by the stars, is a great way to kick your boots off and enjoy a nice cool cocktail after a hard day’s ride.
What are your favorite TV soundtracks? Did it make the short list? Let us know!
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