Guest Blog: The Best Music On Television

Written By: Amrie of MyTakeOnTV

There’s something that happens when a good song comes on my TV. Even if the show is terrible or past its prime or something I’ve just stopped watching (ONE TREE HILL, GOSSIP GIRL, I’m looking at you), if there’s a good song over a bad scene, I might keep the channel on! Since I don’t get the chance to really talk about my love of music over on MyTakeonTV (because people want to hear about my TV obsession, not my downloading-whole-albums-because-of-one-song obsession), I’m thankful to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you guys here!

As luck would have it, some of my favorite music obsessions have come from some really great TV shows, and I thought I’d take a minute to go over it with y’all. I do want to add that as someone who was a Death Cab for Cutie fan before Seth Cohen even hit the airwaves, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that TV was the reason for some of these obsessions! Here’s a random top 6 (because I had to include Glee)!

1. Grey’s Anatomy – One of the first things I noticed about this show when it premiered what feels like eons ago – the music was great. The first time I heard Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go?” it was on this show and now I hear it just about everywhere, and I never get tired of it. What do I expect from a show whose episode titles are all song names? I own all three soundtracks that were released as a part of the show (“Keep Breathing” by Ingrid Michaelson still gets me all sad thinking about Izzie laying on the bathroom floor). Even now, when the show is sometimes over the top and ridiculous, I find myself coming back to see what music we’re going to get!

2. Chuck – It should come as no surprise that Chuck is another great music source. Alexandra Patsavas is the music supervisor for this show, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, and a bajillion others (not to mention the Twilight soundtracks and those are the only things about the Twilight movies that I enjoyed). It helps that Josh Schwartz has a thirst for new music too – the combo of Josh and Alex has put me in search of full albums based on songs alone! Who can forget “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver or “Fake Empire” by The National (already in my list of favorites) from “Chuck Vs the Break Up” in season 2? Or “Creature Fear” by Bon Iver in the “Chuck Vs the Colonel” where Chuck and Sarah are finally almost going to do it? More recently, I found “Bears” by Sam Isaac from “Chuck Vs Operation Awesome” – the whole Sam Isaac CD is SO good!

3. Veronica Mars – I thought about including only shows that are currently on TV, but there’s no reason that this shouldn’t be included. May this show rest in peace – some of the best music on TV at the time, hands down! They used Tegan and Sara, they used Mike Doughty, they used The Dandy Warhols for their theme song, I mean, come on! That’s great stuff right there! If you haven’t watched this show, first of all, you’re insane. Secondly, give it a watch, and listen, and see if you’re not in love with the music by the end of three great seasons!

4. Scrubs – Say what people might about this season isn’t up to snuff or isn’t as good as seasons past (for what it’s worth, I’m laughing at every episode so far this year), the music on Scrubs, thanks to music supervisor Christa Miller (aka Jordan), is some of the best. Without this show, I wouldn’t know Joshua Radin. The idea of never having heard “Winter” or “Closer” just makes me sad! Over 9 years, they’ve managed to be ahead of the times with their music selections and it always makes me happy. This show not only has great popular music, but the score is great, too, so win-win, really!

5. Mercy – I have to say it. The only thing that made me pay attention to an episode of Mercy beyond the pilot was the fact that they were playing Florence + The Machine in a promo. This is a mediocre show that has benefited from great music, and suddenly, I tune in every week, interested to see what happens next! Amy Millan (of my current favorite Stars), Eleni Mandell, Spoon, The Ting Tings, Daniel Ahern, Wilco – they just keep surprising me.

6. Glee – I’m a sucker for musicals. And comedies. And musical comedies, so a show like Glee that manages to combine them so well? Count me in! What’s great about this show is that it takes some of my all time favorites (“Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Alone”) and combines them with some songs I’d never really heard before (“Maybe This Time” and “You’re Having My Baby”) and suddenly, I’m downloading 86 million different tracks a week because I can’t get enough. It helps that the cast is so wonderful with every song they’re handed, am I right?

There are so many other shows that I could probably talk for days about them – after three episodes I’ve seen of Life Unexpected, I think that show will quickly climb to the top of my “awesome music on TV” lists; The O.C. back in the day was a great place to find the best songs to put on repeat on the iPod – I’m proud to say I own all 6 soundtracks; Rescue Me, Supernatural, Flight of the Conchords, and House are among some of my other favorites because of how they manage to incorporate the meaning of the lyrics into what’s happening onscreen. So that’s my story – what’s yours? What shows do you watch for the music?

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  1. Nice list. I know you are not a fan of the show, but I would put One Tree Hill on my list.
    I got a lot of songs I like from that show.
    The 3 soundtracks that show brought out have a bunch of great songs on them.