Music will always play a crucial role in storytelling. Besides the acting and camera work, songs can pack one hell of punch and turn something from average to remarkable, and stick with us forever more.
Now, if you’re still thinking about *that* scene from Stranger Things, we guarantee you’re not alone, but we also can’t let these show-stopping moments slip from our minds.
Running Up That Hill – Stranger Things
Kate Bush has been the talk of the town this month with millions of horror fans discovering (and reintroducing themselves) to the magic of her music. In what is being argued as Stranger Things’ strongest scene to date, Max (Sadie Sink) finds herself battling for survival as she is overwhelmed with trauma and guilt. This is definitely a moment that’ll have you on the edge of your seat; from the script to the cinematography right down to Sink’s passionate performance, Stranger Things has set a bar for Netflix that will be very tough to follow.
The Joker – That 70s Show
There’s no where else on this Earth that looks like a better hangout spot than Eric Foreman’s (Topher Grace) basement. Those circle scenes are iconic, so when they add the cast jamming out to The Joker by Steve Miller Band, we can’t help but get envious over how tight knit the friends are. The scene itself makes no sense and yet perfect sense, that’s exactly what makes it awesome. Even people who aren’t fans of show won’t be able to resist the quirky charm of Eric and his pals here.
Nearer My God to Thee – Midnight Mass
Mike Flanagan is a master of contemporary horror. His work never fails to tug at the heartstrings, but he well and truly outdoes himself with the latest addition to his collection Midnight Mass. While we fall in love with Neil Diamond’s Holly Holy playing over an excellent montage, the closing moments of the series are complemented by the haunting use of Nearer My God to Thee as the Crockett Island natives join each other for one last hymn. It’s incredibly emotional and fitting to the tone of the show; even long after the credits have rolled, you’ll still be thinking about Flanagan’s masterpiece.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Glee
Glee is a chaotic, entertaining mess, but Quinn (Dianna Agron) giving birth while Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) performs Bohemian Rhapsody like his life depends on it has us hook, line, and sinker. The performance is epic; the show rarely manages to top the energy we feel from Jesse. Choreography is top notch, Quinn harmonising her two cents is hilarious; we’re supposed to be rooting for the underdogs, but Jesse deserves to go down in history for this performance.
Carry On My Wayward Son – Supernatural
Kanas and Supernatural go hand-in-hand like fish and chips. You can’t have one without the other, and when Carry On My Wayward Son comes on the radio, you’ll wish you were cruising down the highway to catch some demons. Usually, this is what awaits us during the ‘Road So Far’ segment of each season; the song is played over an intense recap of events before the Winchester bros (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) set out to halt the apocalypse. We hear it one final time during the season finale as a fitting yet bittersweet farewell to the brothers – get tissues at the ready!
Street Spirit – The Handmaid’s Tale
Radiohead are a powerful force when it comes to leaving a lasting impact, we have evidence of this across years of television and cinema. The Handmaid’s Tale’s also shares this effect in delivering gut-wrenching drama and catching us off guard by shooting left rather than right. During the fourth season’s third episode, the handmaids stage a daring escape with Street Spirit filling the audio; it captures a somber tone; though you know this probably won’t end well, that tiny glimmer of hope remains as you yell for the characters to make it.
Breathe Me – Six Feet Under
In a show grounded by mortality, ending its five year run by depicting the deaths of the leading characters is a poetic and beautiful way to close the series. Six Feet Under continues be to praised for taking a bold stance against conventional TV standards; no other show has come close to emulating the feeling of watching this finale for the first time. Over five seasons, we become wholly invested in the lives of the Fisher family, and to say goodbye to them in a way that can never be prevented hits way too close to home.
Chasing Cars – Grey’s Anatomy
If you ever need to cry, Grey’s Anatomy is probably the best place to get started. Since we heard it back in the season 2 finale, Chasing Cars has become the unofficial theme tune of sorts to the medical drama – in fact, it’s the Jaws theme of Grey Sloan, nothing good ever comes from hearing the song. We’ll never forget that first time though; watching Izzie (Katherine Heigl) hold onto Denny’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) lifeless body as Alex (Justin Chambers) pulls her away is one of the earliest heartbreaking images in the show.
Holding Out for a Hero – Loki/Euphoria
Holding Out for a Hero is a certified banger. You know you’re in for a ride whenever you hear those opening notes. Bonnie Tyler’s hit has been a pinnacle use of sound for several movies and TV shows, and we’re drawn in every single time. It’s a classic, so it’s only natural that two of the biggest shows in the last year would want to get their hands on the tune – and we couldn’t pick just one of them. Loki and Euphoria take polar opposite approaches to maximising the song’s impact, but both are extremely memorable for their execution, further cementing the importance music has on bringing TV to life.
Mr. Sandman – Bates Motel
We know how this story will end before we’re even crossing the threshold. Nevertheless, the death of Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) is difficult to come to terms with thanks to Farmiga’s endearing and captivating performance; the slowed version of an otherwise chirpy number succeeds in bringing a chill to the air, we begin to realise that Norman (Freddie Highmore) has finally reached the point of no return. Mr. Sandman features heavily throughout the show, but here we have a sharp juxtaposition from hearing the mother and son croon along together to witnessing Norma’s inevitable demise.
Exit Music (For a Film) – Person of Interest
Person of Interest has an exceptional record with its soundtrack. The third season is particularly noteworthy, having an episode open with Johnny Cash’s Hurt and concludes the season with Radiohead’s Exit Music (For a Film). This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the latter in a TV show and it certainly won’t be the last; as Samaritan is launched and Team Machine are forced into hiding, Radiohead lulls us into a state of disbelief. There’s an emptiness that weighs us down whilst we watch the team go their separate ways, and we’re left to ponder what the future holds for them.
Don’t Stop Believin’ – The Sopranos
Everyone has their own take on what really happens once the screen cuts to black in The Sopranos. There is a lot of tension building in these conclusive minutes, which is ultimately the core basis of the entire series. This is a ballsy ending; one second we’re caught in the throes of Tony’s (James Gandolfini) paranoia, the next, we’re suddenly thrust in the void of nothingness. It’s perfectly symbolic towards Tony’s lifestyle. Whether you love it or hate it, The Sopranos’ final scene is a monumentally jarring moment in all of television history.
House of the Rising Sun – Sons of Anarchy
From here on out, the trajectory of SAMCRO and the lives of its members only spirals beyond control. Season 4 leaves plenty unanswered and open for explanation; Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is gearing up to take the mantle from a disgraced Clay (Ron Perlman); Gemma (Katey Sagal) launches a bid to cover her tracks, and Tara (Maggie Siff) and Jax’s relationship faces an uncertain future. Everyone is suffering the consequences of another’s actions, setting up a promising, unexplored area of conflict.