With TV shows, the music in the background can often go unnoticed. That music, however, can be what’s capturing our attention and drawing us toward the screen. Below are TV shows with stellar soundtracks that are perfect companions for the on-screen stars.
With PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys, Iggy Pop and even Snoop Dog having renditions of this show’s main theme song, “Red Right Hand,” it is no wonder that “Peaky Blinders” is at the top of this list. From “Snake Oil” by Foals to The Last Shadow Puppets’ “Bad Habits,” this soundtrack was made for Thomas Shelby and his squad of ruthless gangsters. Not only can a song like “Come On Over” by Royal Blood make for an epic fight scene, but “Love Is Blindness” by Jack White can simultaneously break our hearts in the same soundtrack.
Freaks and Geeks
When season four of “Stranger Things” was released in 2022, ‘80s pop songs were all the rage. Namely, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush took the world by storm. However, “Freaks and Geeks” is a show that highlights the prevalence of rock and roll music in the midst of the 1980s. “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett is the perfect song to accompany the opening credits of this show because it represents the main cast and their reputations of being outcasts. While Van Halen was featured in the most episodes, and The Who holds the position for most songs used within a single show. Not only did this show have one of the greatest ‘80s soundtracks, but it also perfectly depicted what it was like to be a teenager.
There are many musical moments within the 15 seasons of “Supernatural” that resonate in the hearts of fans. Every “Supernatural” fan knows the words to “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas — the unofficial theme song of the show. When fighting demons and monsters, what better songs to play than “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard or “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi? Although these rock anthems play when the Winchester brothers are hunting demons, they also reflect the dangers the brothers face.
Although “Gilmore Girls” may not be the first television show many would look to to find great music, its soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. From the start, “Gilmore Girls” caught music lovers’ ears with “There She Goes” by The La’s. Throughout the show, characters are shown as avid music listeners when attending a Bangles concert, naming a dog after Paul Anka and practicing to become a drummer of a local band. The base of this soundtrack is low-key, feel-good songs that are easy to listen to. “Gilmore Girls” would not be the same show without these incredible songs embellishing the plot.
With Death Cab for Cutie, The Kooks, The Killers and Modest Mouse, “The OC” is a classic 2000s show that represents the music of the time. Paired with the killer soundtrack, leading heartthrobs Ben McKenzie and Adam Brody create the perfect early 2000s harmony. Death Cab for Cutie was not only mentioned to be Seth Cohen’s favorite band, but they also played live in the local bar, known as the Bait Shop, along with The Killers and Modest Mouse. From tracks such as “The Sound of Settling” to “Smile Like You Mean It,” “The OC” paved the way for these bands to become fan favorites of this generation.
Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover, starred in and wrote for “Atlanta,” which meant its soundtrack had high expectations — and Glover delivered. Considering the show is about an up-and-coming rapper, fans expected artists like Migos, 2Pac and Kendrick Lamar to make appearances. Even though the soundtrack relies heavily on rap music, it also features songs such as “Sweet Little Girl” by Stevie Wonder, “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman and “I Lied” by Lord Huron, all of which round out the playlist.
One Tree Hill
Kids who grew up watching “One Tree Hill” will always associate Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be” with the show. Not only was it the theme song, but it was also performed live on the show. DeGraw was not the only artist to appear on the set — Fall Out Boy performed twice, and band member Pete Wentz dated a character as a side plot on the show. Besides killer live performances, the show also played memorable songs such as “Dare You To Move” by Switchfoot, “The Good Kind” by The Wreckers and “Concrete Bed” by Nada Surf.