These TV Soundtracks Are Guaranteed to Give You All the Feels

I have always been fascinated with the process of creating a good soundtrack. Whether it be making mixed CDs back in the day or admiring the music advisers who create soundtracks for TV shows. In fact, I’m so into it that when it came time to start thinking about career prospects (years ago) I found myself researching how to become a music supervisor (turns out it is a really tough gig—for good reason!).

A good soundtrack plays a vital role in film and television and is what moves us and alters our emotions. It can set the entire mood of a show. (This was very apparent in HBOs Big Little Lies.) It can also put new artists on the map that we may not have heard of yet. (In 2004, Zach Braff introduced his roommate Joshua Radin’s music to the show Scrubs, which greatly increased his exposure.) But most of all, it can be that extra element that keeps you lured in, makes you want to dance, gives you shivers or makes you cry.

Being a kid of the ’90s, I now look back and feel extremely grateful for growing up in a time when making mixed tapes CDs was a thing. There was nothing better than putting your heart and soul into a CD and gifting it to a friend/boyfriend to see what they thought, and vice versa. Back then, there weren’t oodles of playlists at the touch of a button, with apps like Spotify. Instead, we’d pick up on new music from videos on MuchMusic (one of my favourite channels as a kid) as well as TV shows and movies. It required effort.

As of late, it feels like there has been a resurgence in the appreciation of good TV soundtracks. Specifically with Big Little Lies, it seems that discussing the soundtrack is one of the first things people bring up when talking about the show. For this reason, I decided to put together a curated list (both old and new) of some of my personal favourites. It won’t tickle everyone’s fancy, but if anything it may get you thinking about the soundtracks that have had an impact on you.

Big Little Lies
Michael Kiwanuka “Cold Little Heart”
Leon Bridges “River”
The Temptations “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”
Neil Young “Harvest Moon”
Agnes Obel “September Song”
Alabama Shakes “This Feeling”
St. Paul & The Broken Bones “Grass Is Greener”
Elvis Presley “Burning Love”
Villagers “Nothing Arrived”
Sufjan Stevens “Casimir Pulaski Day”
Fleetwood Mac “Dreams”
Martha Wainwright “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”

Twista ft. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx “Slow Jamz”
Robyn “Dancing On My Own”
Alt-J “Dissolve Me”
Father John Misty “Nancy From Now On”
Beck “Blue Moon”
Miguel “Simple Things”
King of Convenience “I’d Rather Dance With You”
Kendrick Lamar “Good Kid”
Passion Pit “Take a Walk”

The OC
Phantom Planet “California”
Alexi Murdoch “Orange Sky”
Sufjan Stevens “To Be Alone With You”
Turin Brakes “Rain City”
The 88 “How Good It Can Be”
Jose Gonzalez “Crosses”
The Dandy Warhols “We Used To Be Friends”
Damien Rice “Cannonball”
Sam Roberts “No Sleep”
Joseph Arthur “Honey And The Moon”
Jeff Buckley “Hallelujah”
Doves “Caught By The River”
Finley Quaye, William Orbit “Dice”
OK Go “You’re So Damn Hot”
Imogen Heap “Hide and Seek”
The Perishers “Weekends”

Thundercat “Them Changes”
Solange “Cranes in the Sky”
Khalid “Location”
Kamau ft. No Wyld “Jusfayu”
BJ the Chicago Kid “Heart Crush”
Frank Ocean “Pink + White”
The Internet, KAYTRANADA “Girl”
Shy Carter, Aleon Craft “Bring It Back”
Raphael Saadiq “Still Ray”
SBTRKT ft. Sampha  “Hold On”
Jorja Smith “Where Did I Go?”
John Legend, Chance The Rapper “Penthouse Floor”
GoldLink “Palm Trees”
Kendrick “Alright”

Grey’s Anatomy
The Postal Service “Such Great Heights”
The Cinematic Orchestra “To Build a Home”
Florence + The Machine “Cosmic Love”
Ray LaMontagne “Hold You in My Arms”
Peter Bjorn and John “Young Folks”
Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars”
The xx “Islands”
Corinne Bailey Rae “Like a Star”
Bon Iver “Re: Stacks”
OutKast “Idlewild Blue”
Feist “Sealion”
Youth Lagoon “Afternoon”
Coldplay “Death And All His Friends”
Damien Rice “9 Crimes”
Paolo Nutini “Million Faces”
Keane “Somewhere Only We Know”
Birdy “Young Blood”
James Morrison “Better Man”
Benjamin Francis Leftwich “Atlas Hands”

And then sometimes there are shows that are there to deliver new artists and songs but don’t truly change the essence or feel of a show. Made In Chelsea (the British version of the famous reality show The Hills) would be a case in point. While this show is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, you’ve got to give it to them for being ahead of the radio and many other outlets on what’s current and to come in music. For instance, Alt-J’s “Dissolve Me” was played on MIC a full year before Girls picked it up.

Made In Chelsea
M83 “Midnight City” (Theme song for the show)
Future Islands “A Dream of You and Me”
Lykke Li “Gunshot”
Years & Years “Take Shelter”
Ben Howard “Old Pine”
Band of Horses “Infinite Arms”
The Black Keys “Gold On the Ceiling”
Sail “Awolnation”

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