Tag Archives: music

Best of TV 2016: The Best Songs

29 Dec

End of year lists can focus on various things – performances, costumes, episodes, overall show – and one of my favorite things to look back at is the best use of music on TV. Song can transport us to those all important standout moments or introduce us to new music; over the last few years I have compiled playlists from TV to celebrate this. Last year I focused a single show as You’re the Worst is particularly strong in the end credit department, whereas in previous years I have done a general playlist of the year in TV music.

For 2016 I have returned to the latter format going all in with 28-tracks and you can find the full breakdown and playlist over at ColliderfleabagSongs and music from 21-shows were chosen with some getting two tracks (including the above Fleabag) because I just couldn’t chose and a variety of genres feature. There are songs to dance to, induce tears and all other kinds of emotions and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

You can find instrumental pieces from Westworld and Game of Thrones, tracks that have appeared on “Music Monday” from the melancholy to fun cover versionsMr. Robot was messy in season 2, but nailed the soundtrack once again and shows like Atlanta and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend have music ingrained into the very fabric. You will find songs from The AmericansHalt and Catch FireGirlsBlack Mirror and American Crime Story as well as a literal earworm from BrainDead. Plus many, many more.

Costuming is my first love, but soundtracks is a close second and I am so glad I got to compile such an extensive playlist and discuss the best of 2016 over at Collider. Check it out here and get your dance on.


Music Monday – Girls Season 5 Closing Credits Playlist

14 Mar

For any Music Monday regulars you will know already how much I appreciate the variety of end credit music on shows like GirlsYou’re the Worst (which took the Best of 2015 crown) and TogethernessMad Men crushed end credit music selections week in week out and Orange is the New BlackDeutschland 83 and The Leftovers are also strong contenders in this field. With this in mind and for this season Girls instead of producing a playlist at the end of the season I will be adding to the closing credits playlist on weekly basis.

Starting on episode 4 makes it an EP of sorts and one of my favorite things about the music on Girls is that even if the episode has been kinda shitty for the characters there tends to be a hopeful edge to the song choices. The last few moments of “Old Loves” showcases the after of the bad/awkward sex encounters we have just witnessed with Elijah wondering around Dill’s fancy apartment in his underwear and Jessa watches a sleeping Adam before laying her head down on his bare chest. Hannah and Fran are dealing with non-sex related issues this week and this is the most fractured environment.Girls season 5Thankfully we are spared Desi and Marnie post-coital bliss or tears or whatever because if Desi can’t even get his top off properly I’m not sure I want to see that. The song that plays over these moments and the credits is “iT” by Christine and the Queens.Girls season 5There is a whole lot of coming together in “Old Loves” but as the title suggests there is a lot from the past bubbling beneath the surface and like those old celebrity couples has time run its course on a friendship like Hannah and Jessa’s? The argument in the rice pudding place (which I really want to go to because I love rice pudding) would suggest this and perhaps this is Jessa’s way of self sabotaging her friendship because of Adam. And also because Hannah and Jessa have always had this contentious thing that doesn’t quite match up with the best in best friends.

PS I love Old Loves and now I share this with Marnie I’m not entirely sure how I feel because as Abbi pointed out in the Broad City season 3 premiere with Charlotte from SATC – who Marnie clearly is the closest equivalent of* – even if you can identify that way you’re reluctant to admit it as she’s really annoying at times. I also have love/hate feelings towards her silver pants and they are the perfect clothing representation of my relationship with Marnie.  

*Updated because it just occurred to me that her apartment/wall situation made me think of Aidan renovating Carrie’s apartment and there is also something Carrie about Marnie. Aidan is no Desi thankfully. 

Here is the start of the Girls season 5 closing credits playlist.


Check back every week as the playlist gets longer and becomes album length.

Update! The “Life on Mars” AURORA performed cover of the incredible David Bowie song is not available on Spotify (it is on iTunes) so instead I have opted to switch it out for my favorite non-Bowie version of this song. This one comes from another soundtrack (The Life Aquatic) with Seu Jorge singing this track. The original version also appears on this soundtrack.

Midweek Music: Delivering a Gut Punch on You’re the Worst

1 Oct

Music posts tend to be a Monday thing here at TV Ate My Wardrobe, but the choice of closing credits song on this week’s You’re the Worst was far too good and devastating to wait until next week.

Only read on if you have seen “All About That Paper” because we will be discussing those all important final confusing moments.

Okay, everyone prepared? Last warning.

Gretchen You're the Worst 2.04So where the fuck is Gretchen going in the middle of the night? She scoops up heels, her trusty leather jacket, pants and a burner phone and all while making as little noise as possible so she doesn’t wake a sleeping Jimmy; going so far as starting her car once she has rolled it down the hill. Gretchen clearly doesn’t want him to know where she is going or that she has even gone and even though this is the first time we see her doing this it doesn’t mean this is the first time she has done it.

My first thought is that she’s heading to the sleazy directors house from last season as he has been her first port of call when hitting self destruct in the past and everything is becoming too comfortable despite all their attempts to not become “disgusting normals” or “sweater people.”

This scene is definitely not played for laughs and while You’re the Worst is one of the funniest shows on TV at its core it deals with some pretty profound shit in how we mask pain and fear when it comes to relationships. Lindsay’s attempts to win Paul back are ridiculous and disturbing, but deep down as she explained last week she doesn’t believe she is a good person and this is how she attempts to conceal her self-loathing.

Gretchen spends the episode in what appears to be a good place; she’s comfortable with sending Jimmy text updates about her day (she’s not ‘checking in’) and then meeting up with him for a post work drink. Not to get wasted and end up passed out in some random place, but just a casual couple. And it seems like this where we’re going to leave them this week, until we cut to their bedroom in the middle of the night and the opening bars of “New Skin” by Torres kick in alerting us that SOMETHING IS UP. This song choice is perfect in its growing restlessness and putting us in a position of uncertainty as Gretchen drives away to a destination unknown.

Thanks You’re the Worst for this singer intro and for setting up such a spectacular headfuck.

Music Monday – Girls Season 3 Playlist

24 Mar

Girls has been a big part of Music Monday and what better way to celebrate a mostly excellent season than with a playlist featuring some of the best tracks of the year. Plus I’m also trying to distract myself from thinking about the devastating events of another show that aired last night (yes, I’m looking at you The Good Wife) and music is that outlet. Beach HouseAs discussed a few weeks back the closing credit music has been one place where the world of Girls is rather optimistic, even if it doesn’t match what we have just seen on screen. The final montage of season 3 uses Michael Penn’s “Good Girl Down” (sadly this isn’t on either Spotify or YouTube at this time, otherwise it would have definitely been part of this playlist) and in his role as Girls composer Penn penned (sorry, couldn’t resist) this track for the finale. Hannah’s smiling due to her grad school acceptance letter and while she has just had a big blowout fight with Adam, she’s still happy; this track does a good job of mirroring this.

This playlist is one to dance to, whether it’s a choreographed routine like in “Beach House” or even if it’s just a desk disco – which mine frequently are – it’s meant to be fun and uplifting. It’s not all dance party as there are some slower, more relaxing songs on here too and it’s generally got a good vibe to it. These are also some of the artists who I have been listening to for the past few weeks on repeat because of Girls, particularly Hannah Georgas and Hannah Cohen. The tracks are in the order they appeared on the episodes, except for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ “What I Am” as this song played throughout the season thanks to Marnie’s teeeeeerible YouTube video – why HBO hasn’t put this up on YouTube yet is beyond me – sorry if it gets stuck in your head as it did mine.

Music Monday: The O.C. Turns 10

5 Aug

When The O.C. premiered in August 2003, the iTunes store had only been open for a few months and buying CDs didn’t seem so antiquated. The O.C. pretty much lived in the death throes of how we used to purchase and consume music; this is also the time that I still worked in a record store, a record store that unsurprisingly is no longer in existence. As I’ve previously mentioned, TV and particularly teen TV has been a constant source of finding new music and The O.C. did this on a whole new level as it embraced bands that the characters listened to.

Death Cab for Cutie posters adorned Seth Cohen’s wall and featured in the Seth Cohen Starter Pack (along with albums by Bright Eyes and The Shins, The Goonies and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), they also played at the Bait Shop in season 2 along with a host of others such as Modest Mouse, The Walkman and The Killers.

I should really start with the theme song by Phantom Planet (which I wrote about for This Was TV) and how it sets the tone; in the pilot the song is used as a transition from the grainy Chino-cam to the glorious and bright world that Ryan will be joining after he has given Sandy Cohen a call – everything gets a lot bluer and sun-kissed as we head to Newport. The theme song is hopeful and that shot of Ryan looking out of the car window is one that is linked to both the opening credits and a shot that is repeated emphasizing Ryan’s outsider status. It’s a song that I have hated and now love; Californiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 

The Bait Shop as a music venue became a bit of a punch line – I seem to recall the nickname The Hate Shop – and the first time a live band appeared on that show was before The Bait Shop was conceived. Rooney (please yell their name like Luke) get the honor of being The O.C.’s inaugural band. Appearing on a teen show might not be the cool indie way to do things but as Josh Schwartz explains in this new interview with Alan Sepinwall the amount of exposure translated into sales as Rooney “saw a crazy, like 200 percent increase the week after. And then it built to a place where we got a call that the Beastie Boys would like to world premiere their song on your show.” Schwartz also notes that this was a time when there weren’t that many platforms to promote music and several other bands like U2 and Coldplay also debuted tracks on the show.

“Fix You” was one of those tracks and so The O.C. can lay claim to this song; all other shows should not attempt to use this as an emotionally manipulative tool. “Hallelujah” is a trickier case, though I would also say that this show used this song before it hit saturation point and they used it to form a connection between Ryan and Marissa. They tried to mix it up by swapping the Jeff Buckley version for Imogen Heap in the season 3 finale; sadly I find the style of Imogen Heap’s music to be intensely irritating (sorry Imogen Heap fans, I just can’t) and her music instantly sucks all the emotion out of a scene. Instead enjoy the end montage of season 1 as Ryan leaves Newport, Seth sails away, Kirsten cries and Marissa embraces day drinking.

Hallelujah is probably the most famous cover version The O.C. used, but others like Youth Group taking on “Forever Young” and Placebo’s version of “Running up the Hill” (which has also reached saturation point, take note music supervisors) provide poignant moments. The final mix CD that was released in association with the show is called “Covering Our Tracks” and has bands covering tracks that had already featured in previous seasons. One thing The O.C. attempted to do was to push the boundaries of what a TV soundtrack could be and a lot of that is thanks to music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas and Josh Schwartz’s own enthusiasm for music. In retrospect Schwartz isn’t afraid to take the blame for some of these missteps, on the Bait Shop he explains to Alan Sepinwall that “I think my appetite for seeing bands lip sync their playback on a fake set may have been greater than some of our audience members but, hey. It was fun. When else was I going to get that chance?”

Talking about the legacy of a show can sound grandiose and while The O.C. flailed at times (season 3 anyone?); it has definitely had a lasting impact on teen TV from the music to narrative aspects such as increasing plots for the parental characters.  It is a testament to the soundtrack that there are too many to mention in this piece and so many more videos that I could have chosen (from this YouTube channel) – somehow Oliver features in half of the clips.

So Happy 10th Anniversary The O.C.! It won’t be long before you will be able start drinking and take all your rage out on the pool furniture.

Julie Hammerle

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