TV Shows With Great Music Taste

best tv show music

We’ve all been there before. You’re watching your favorite television show, and you love what you’re hearing. It’s not the dialogue (although that might be great, too), but it’s the music in the background that captivates your attention.

Although music in general makes any TV show better (and more dramatic), some shows have truly stellar music taste.

The O.C.

If you were once a hopelessly devoted fan of The O.C. (Orange County for all you non-watchers), then you might remember how great the music was on the show. From Death Cab for Cutie (remember the famous Seth Cohen quote, “Don’t insult Death Cab”?) to Bright Eyes to The Shins, this show sure knew how to do early 2000s alternative music. Let’s not forget about the iconic theme song, “California” by Phantom Planet. “California here we come, right back where we started from.”

Soundtrack highlights include: “Goodnight and Go” by Imogen Heap, “West Coast” by Coconut Records and “Hallelujah” by Imogen Heap.

One Tree Hill

Right next to The O.C., among hit teenage sitcoms in the early to late 2000s is One Tree Hill. This show also had phenomenal jams that you would love to hear in your headphones even today. In this series, we had the character of Peyton Sawyer, the moody artist who spent her nights blasting music from her record player and filming herself on a live webcam. But she did have good taste. From Dashboard Confessional (admit it — you loved them at one point) to Jack’s Mannequin, give this music a listen, and you will slip back into your teenage angst phase before you can even murmur, “I’m so misunderstood.”

However, what really sets apart OTH is the music that was created during the show. If you can recall early into the series, Haley tries to make it in music with the help of Chris Keller (Tyler Hilton). In addition to many alternative songs with a country twang, “When the Stars Go Blue” was a classic.

Soundtrack highlights include: “Heartbeats” by José Gonzalez, “Move Along” by The All-American Rejects and “Elsewhere” by Bethany Joy Lenz.
Honorable mentions: “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw, and when Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy made a cameo.

Any Shonda Rhimes show

The writer, producer and creator Shonda Rhimes, aka the queen of Thursday night, makes television shows that are more than entertaining and great for depicting real women. In addition, they have incredible music that helps with the shows’ overall charm. First, we have Grey’s Anatomy (think “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, when Denny dies). Then there’s Scandal, in which you find out secrets about Olivia’s father while “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations plays in the background. Lastly, in How to Get Away with Murder the song “No One’s Here to Sleep (feat. Bastille),” by Naughty Boy plays in the background when Annalise is questioning Sam about murder.

Soundtrack highlights include: “Breathe” by Anna Nalick and “Blindsided” by Bon Iver.


If you can remember back when the Halliwell sisters ruled The WB for eight seasons, then you probably remember the hot tracks that accompanied the show. In addition to the moody theme song, “How Soon Is Now?” by Love Spit Love, the show also highlighted some gems when it comes to indie female vocals, like Liz Phair and The Cranberries. This series also showcased some amazing musical guests that played Piper’s club P3, like Pat Benatar and The Flaming Lips.

Soundtrack highlights include: Michelle Branch’s “Goodbye to You” and Stevie Nicks’ “I Miss You.”