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TV Jukebox: 'True Detective,' 'Vampire Diaries,' more music on TV

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True Detective Jukebox

Have you found yourself wondering “What’s that song?” while watching your favorite TV shows? If so, we’re here to tell you. Check out our Spotify playlist below and see why these music picks clicked. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)


The song: The 13th Floor Elevators, “Kingdom of Heaven”

The episode: “Seeing Things” (102)

The hook: On Sunday, Detectives Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Hart (Woody Harrelson) followed up on a lead that took them to the site of a burnt-out church. Jukeboxers tweeted about the desolate drive out to the church, which was set to Cuff the Duke’s “If I Live or If I Die.” But the real come-to-Jesus moment came when Cohle uncovered a wall painting sure to have a major impact on their case. The hour’s religious underpinnings, an almost ecstatic vision by Cohle outside the church, and the earth-quaking bass thrum of “Kingdom of Heaven” all added up to a bigger-than-all-of-us end of the ep.

Read Jeff Jensen’s recap


The song: Mourning Rituals, “Bad Moon Rising”

The episode: “Resurrection” (201)

The hook: As we’ve come to expect from the serial-killer series, Sunday’s season premiere ended on a pitch-black note with this goth-rock cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 track. As FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) got under the skin — almost literally — of his nemesis, homicidal cult leader Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), apocalyptic lyrics including “I see earthquakes and lightnin’. I see bad times today” signaled chilling developments ahead for Ryan — not to mention all the innocents who are bound to get caught in the crossfire. Body count so far? Six.


The song: Fever Ray, “If I Had A Heart”

The episode: “Après Moi, Le Déluge” (111)

The hook: Jukebox fans on Twitter dug an almost-kiss moment between Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) set to The National’s “Hard To Find” on Tuesday. But for its haunting chant-like vibe, Swedish electropop maven Karin Dreijer Andersson’s “If I Had A Heart” set just the right tone as witch Sabine (Shannon Kane) — or, as we now know her, Celeste —  performed a reviving spell that’s set to have serious ramifications in The OG’s Big Easy.

Read Samantha Highfill’s recap


The song: Kopecky Family Band, “A Casualty”

The episode: “House and Home” (112)

The hook: Crime and punishment rarely sound this lovely. The Nashville indie rockers’ piano ballad about being “shackled from the feet” played Monday night as Callie (Maia Mitchell) walked through a juvenile detention center to face the consequences of a recent five-finger-discount situation. Given Callie’s troubled past, the song conveyed that her choices, and her path in life, were threatening to make her “A Casualty” of a broken system.


The song: Tom Odell, “Another Love”

The episode: “You’ve Got Mold” (514)

The hook: The Joel-Julia saga continued (or ended, depending on how you look at it) Thursday as Joel (Sam Jaeger) walked out the door to Odell’s hopeful-yet-hurting 2013 track.


The song: Foy Vance feat. Ed Sheeran, “Guiding Light”

The episode: “The Road Home” (913)

The hook: The singer-songwriters closed Wednesday’s ep on a vindicating moment as Rossi (Joe Mantegna) watched an old friend of his recommit to recovery for his alcoholism and, in doing so, set up a reunion with his estranged son. As Vance and Sheeran sang about “find[ing] my way home,” Rossi repeat the oft-quoted Paul Boese: “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”


The song: Aimee Mann, “Come Sail Away”

The episode: “Geothermal Escapism” (505)

The hook: In amusingly literal style, Troy (Donald Glover) rode off on a boat Thursday night as Mann sang those famous title lyrics from Styx’s 1977 piano-rock classic. The silver lining of his for-good departure from the Greendale gang? He was on the adventure of a lifetime with his idol LeVar Burton!

Read Ray Rahman’s recap


The song: Sarah Blasko, “Illusory Light”

The episode: “500 Years of Solitude” (511)

The hook: TVD‘s 100th episode centered on Katherine (Nina Dobrev), in the midst of her final days of humanity and looking back on her earliest days as a vampire. Suffice it to say, Katherine racked up her share of regrets — witness a hilarious round of drinking and tale-telling by the rest of the gang to Jagwar Ma’s “Come Save Me.” As such, the Jukebox darling‘s meditation on the transience of life and love played as Stefan (Paul Wesley) offered the infamous Katerina Petrova a little peace regarding how her time on this Earth turned out. With that, Stefan and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) prepared to heed the words of British folkies Passenger and “Let Her Go.” If only Katherine had ended on that classy note. Instead, she surprised Elena with a witchy trick and jumped into her body at the last minute to reclaim immortality. As they say, you can’t teach an old bitch new tricks.

Read Mandi Bierly’s recap and Samantha’s post on the seven biggest TVD Writers’ Room debates, then take Samantha’s superfan quiz


The song: Kill It Kid, “I’ll Be the First”

The episode: “For King and Country” (109)

The hook: Given the obsession with succession on Thursday’s episode, the Bath-based grunge outfit’s howler hit just the right notes when Francis (Toby Regbo) learned his half-brother Bash (Torrance Coombs) was trying to leap-frog him straight onto the throne. For the often weak Francis, it was a transformative, literally kick-ass moment — and a chance for Reign to move beyond its usual suspender strummers. At the end of the hour, Daughter’s “Amsterdam” voiced Bash’s internal struggle (“I’m a flying kite in the breeze”) in the context of the French court’s constantly shifting alliances.

Read Samantha Highfill’s Character Rehab for Bash


The song: Stepdad, “Find Love (Bonus Track)”

The episode: “The Desert” (214)

The hook: Technically, the tune that wrapped up Tuesday’s winter finale was a little promo-y, but we’ll allow it this time. The Jukebox vets’ track played out the ultimate shipper cliffhanger — after Danny (Chris Messina) laid a long, passionate kiss on Mindy (Mindy Kaling) as she headed back to rekindle her love with lawyer Cliff (Glenn Howerton). Speaking of whom, perhaps Cliff was a little premature in his sad-sack singing to Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me”? Either way, heartbreak hasn’t been this hilarious since Michael Scott hit repeat on “Goodbye My Lover” (or the free 30-second sample on iTunes, at least) ad nauseam.


The song: NONONO, “Pumpin Blood”

The episode: “Depending On You” (503)

The hook: The Swedish trio’s “Like the Wind” opened up Wednesday’s Tomorrow People. The night before that, it played through an important first for Laurie (Busy Philipps) and Travis (Dan Byrd): Their post-fight make-up conversation. An effervescent beat and spot-on lyrics (“Hey heart… moving on, forward/Sticks and stones won’t break the bones”) complemented the new couple’s milestone and carried over into a similarly smoothed-over moment between Jules (Courteney Cox) and Grayson (Josh Hopkins).


The song: Nine Inch Nails, “Find My Way”

The episode: “Boston Brakes” (1416)

The hook: The rock gods served up an appropriately industrial ambiance as Stokes (George Eads) processed a car-as-crime-scene on Wednesday. (Bonus: The ep also featured “Unbelievers” from NIN’s 2014 Grammy competitors Vampire Weekend, whom Jukebox spotlighted in The Vampire Diaries‘ season premiere back in October.)


The song: Lo-Fang, “Look Away”

The episode: “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” (108)

The hook: One of EW’s 14 Rising Stars to Watch in 2014 is already making waves on the small screen, providing an ambient track for the beginning of Tuesday’s ep of the Pretty Little Liars spin-off.


The song: The 2 Bears, “Take a Look Around”

The episode: “Looking for Now” (101)

The hook: Closing out Sunday’s debut, neurotic twentysomething singleton Patrick (Jonathan Groff) headed to a gay bar to search for a guy he’d met earlier in the evening. This club thumper about possibility (“Tonight, reach out/You’ll never be alone again… Be whoever you want to be…”) was both ambient and apropos as Patrick tried to get out of his head and explore a new opportunity at love — or maybe just lust.

Read Darren Franich’s review and Erin Strecker’s reaction to the pilot


The song: Johnny Karate, Various

The episode: “Farmers Market” (612)

The hook: Johnny Karate (a.k.a. Andy Dwyer a.k.a. Chris Pratt) went through all the phases of childhood and rock stardom Thursday night when he was unexpectedly called on to entertain a room full of kids at a birthday party. The result? A winsome — if kind  of icky — medley of songs about toenails, picking your nose, and ear jam. (Bonus: Apparently Andy also strummed up an impromptu ode to Jean-Claude Van Damme that was left on the cutting room floor. Pity.)

Check out EW’s video recap

*Readers’ Choice! Thanks to @CisforCostumes, @EvieMcGarrett10, @SkipE78, @V_A_L, @VassoKaragianni, @dicianoo, @leighbrewer, and @martinahv for their suggestions!

Want to be featured in the next TV Jukebox? Tweet your pick using the hashtag #tvjukebox to @EW!