Behind every great lady there’s a great man singing behind her — at least that was the case for most of this week’s Jukebox. In one instance, there was even a man singing as a lady (welcome back, Glee!). This week saw one particularly untrustworthy B—- in Apartment 23, a new slew of Girls, a masseuse with a heart of gold (The Client List), and a Scandal-ous Beltway fixer with brass… well, you get where I’m going. To paraphrase the great Aretha Franklin, sisters were doing it for themselves — with the help of artists as diverse as The Clash, Sleigh Bells, Paddy Casey, and Otis Redding, of course. Check out our picks below, and make sure to click through to the last page to listen to all the songs in our customized Spotify playlist. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
DON’T TRUST THE B—- IN APARTMENT 23 (ABC)
The song: Sleigh Bells, “Infinity Guitars”
The episode: “Pilot” (100)
The hook: It’s become nearly impossible to flip through primetime without hearing a song from Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells — not that I’m complaining. To set the tone in the first moments of the roommate-from-hell sitcom’s April 11 premiere, music advisers chose an appropriately rowdy track to play alongside the titular B—- Chloe (Krysten Ritter) crashing around her apartment in a furious make-out session with her new roommate’s fiancé, finally careening spectacularly into the cuckquean’s cake. “We were looking for a piece of music that would not only match the driving intensity of that opening scene, but amplify it,” explains executive producer Nahnatchka Khan. “The song felt fresh and gritty and raw and powerful — all adjectives we’d like to continue associate with the series.” In a nice bit of contrast, Nouvelle Vague’s mellowed-out cover of “I Melt With You” rounded out the ep, signaling a tonal shift when wronged roomie June (Dreama Walker) came to terms with Chloe’s aforementioned cake wrecking — and with the fact that her fiancé was a grade-A sleaze.
MAGIC CITY (Starz)
The song: Frankie Avalon, “Venus”
The episode: “Feeding Frenzy” (102)
The hook: There’s a reason our own Ken Tucker called Magic City star Danny Huston “so satanic he practically grows horns,” and this moment must have been at least part of it. The April 13 episode closed Avalon’s 1959 hit overlaying two very different scenes. First, the song provided an on-the-nose soundtrack to a princess-y presentation for Lauren (Taylor Blackwell), the tween daughter of Magic‘s main character Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Moments later, it transformed into a skin-crawling accompaniment as mob boss Ben Diamond (Huston) spoke to his cheating wife Lily (Jessica Marais) in sexually frank and threatening metaphors. With a simple change of scenery, the “Venus” marked the terrifying contrast between Lauren’s innocence and Lily’s ruin.
Watch it! Huston chews the scenery in the (NSFW) scene, starting at 46:45 on Magic City‘s official site.
The song: Harper Simon, “Wishes and Stars”
The episode: “Pilot” (101)
The hook: Sometimes all you have is $40 in your pocket, a dream in your heart, and a good song keeping you going. And so it was for Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) on Sunday’s series debut of Girls. After her parents abruptly refused to continue supporting her financially, 24-year-old Hannah was on her own. The wistful lyrics (“Everyone seems so certain. Everyone knows who they are. Everyone’s got a mother and a father. They all seem so sure they’re going far”) sung by Simon — the son and vocal doppelganger of his dad Paul — perfectly encapsulated Hannah’s state of mind and, as Hannah headed out into the streets of New York City, the tinkling tune expressed her not-yet-broken spirit, showing that the world was truly and completely open to her for probably the first time in her life.
Watch it! Hannah walks it off at 29:42 on HBO.com (free preview available only through May 14), and the stage is set for that show that Ken Tucker deemed “one of the most original thingamajigs to come along in a while.”
THE CLIENT LIST (Lifetime)
The song: The XX, “Stars”
The episode: “The Rub of Sugarland” (101)
The hook: In its debut episode on April 8, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s TV-movie-turned-dramedy The Client List expertly used music to trace the evolution of masseuse “with extras” Riley Parks. After her husband left her, she hit rock bottom to the tune of Angus & Julia Stone’s “Hold On.” Next, “Made For You” by OneRepublic played out her desperation to make ends meet. Then came the turning point as “Stars” bass line throbbed seductively while Riley worked her way up her first client’s leg. (It didn’t hurt that Riley’s first client was charming, generous — and soap-opera studly.) A few scenes later, Riley had gotten into her groove, and Brandon & Leah’s bumping “Show Stopper” conveyed that this new daily grind wasn’t necessarily as bad as Riley had imagined.
NEXT: A Glee debut, a broken heart in Dixie, a Criminal Minds reunion, and the love of the Irish on Cougar Town
The song: “Boogie Shoes,” originally by KC & The Sunshine Band
The episode: “Saturday Night Glee-ver” (316)
The hook: Though it’s hard to resist Darren Criss and Matt Bomer’s double dip of vocaliciousness on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” for sheer… well… glee, this week’s disco-stravaganza took the cake. All due respect to Vocal Adrenaline coach Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff), but there was no stopping transgender disco diva Unique (Glee Project contestant Alex Newell in his debut) as she belted out the 1975 dancer. A certain plotting McKinley staffer (ahem, Sue Sylvester) may have thought they were setting up Unique (né Wade Adams) for a fall, but she ended up shooting herself in the foot. Boy, girl, or a little bit of both — none of it mattered when Unique took the stage. “Boogie Shoes” blew the roof off at Regionals and was easily the best, most joyful performance of the night.
Watch it! No need to cool your heels until the “Glee-ver” uploads next Wednesday because the clip is available on Glee‘s official YouTube. See what other songs Erin Strecker had a (disco) ball listening to in her recap.
HART OF DIXIE (The CW)
The song: Kathleen Edwards, “A Soft Place To Land”
The episode: “Bachelorettes & Bullets” (116)
The hook: After George (Scott Porter) witnessed his fiancée Lemon (Jaime King) kissing town mayor Lavon (Cress Williams) last week, everything came to a head this Monday when Lemon confessed she’d had an affair. Edwards’ piano lullaby played over the heartbreaking scene as Lemon tried unsuccessfully to explain her reasons for cheating. Edwards sang, “Callin’ it quits, you think this is easy?” And it wasn’t. George left Lemon sobbing in the woods (where he was having a hunting-themed bachelor party) and “lookin’ for a soft place to land — the forest floor, the palms of your hands.”
Watch it! Things turn sour for Lemon at 33:15 on Dixie‘s official site.
CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS)
The song: The Fray, “Be Still”
The episode: “The Company” (720)
The hook: It’s been a strong season for Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), and the April 11 episode reached a peak as Morgan had to come clean about lies he had told his family. Morgan, who told his sister that his cousin Cindi (Shanola Hampton) had died, ultimately rescued Cindi from an S&M slavery cartel. Despite the dishonesty, Morgan’s family forgave him and was at last reunited. In a long-awaited, soul-affirming moment, the words “If you forget the way to go and lose where you came from, if no one is standing beside you, be still and know I am” expressed how Morgan had been looking out for his cousin all along. Even after many wrong turns, the family was able to come together again — this time appreciating each other all the more for the time when they were apart.
Watch it! Morgan brings it home at 41:21 on Criminal Minds‘ official site.
COUGAR TOWN (ABC)
The song: Paddy Casey, “Everybody Wants”
The episode: “Ways To Be Wicked” (308)
The hook: “Everybody wants to feel needed sometimes.” It’s a simple sentiment that Cougar Town‘s Ellie (Christa Miller) struggled to accept in the face of her dysfunctional, bordering-on-abusive relationship with her critical mother (Susan Blakely). Dublin troubadour Casey’s lilting meditation was a soothing accompaniment as Ellie made peace with her flawed mother and realized family is more than blood. Her mom might always be distant, and dismissive but Ellie was needed — by her best friend Jules (Courtney Cox)… not to mention Big Carl. That wine won’t drink itself!
Watch it! The song kicks in at 17:46 on Cougar Town‘s Hulu, though Ellie sorts out her mommy issues closer to 19:02. Breia Brissey can fill you in on the rest of the gang’s comings and goings in her recap.
NEXT: A steamy scene (that doesn’t involve a shower!) on The Vampire Diaries, Björk visits Miami, Scandal lives up to its name, things get “Witch”-y on Grimm, and a Clash song underscores the greatest, most confusing drinking game ever on New Girl
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)
The song: Florence + The Machine, “Never Let Me Go”
The episode: “Heart of Darkness” (319)
The hook: More than three months after their first passionate lip lock, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) once again yielded to temptation last night. On a road trip to retrieve Elena’s brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), even a roadside motel couldn’t block their mutual yearning. Because, let’s face it, Delena are so sizzling, they could steam up an iceberg. From the breathless grazing of hands until to a perfectly synchronized downbeat that emphasize Damon’s shirtless emergence from the hotel room, it was on. They fell into each other’s arms as particularly powerful piano chord surged and Florence Welch sang about “all this devotion… rushing out of me.” If their last love theme (Ross Copperman’s “Holding On and Letting Go”) left too much room for confusion, certainly the star-crossed not-yet-lovers can’t ignore the message this time: Never let go! If only for our sakes.
Watch it! The episode won’t be available online until Monday, but you can listen to “Never Let Me Go” on YouTube and relive the delayed gratification with Mandi Bierly’s recap. Mandi also talked to series EP Julie Plec about this moment of “series-wide epicness” and what’s coming up next.
The song: Otis Redding, “Mr. Pitiful”
The episode: “Dirty Little Secrets” (102)
The hook: Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is in the business of kicking tail and taking names — quite literally. Her latest case on April 12 centered on a high-end madame’s formidable client roster. In an unfortunate turn of events, one of the men implicated — a Supreme Court Justice nominee — was actually innocent. So it was up to Olivia and her team of fixers to salvage his reputation. With another old-school R&B classic, Olivia’s cohort Harrison (Columbus Short) rounded up the D.C. power players who had actually patronized the service. Redding’s song title — and the men’s faces — said it all. Luckily, Olivia wasn’t looking to prosecute — only to leverage the men’s secrets to help her client find justice (the title, that is). Blackmail has never been so funky.
Watch it! Happy endings turn into sad sacks at 36:01 on Scandal‘s Hulu.
CSI: MIAMI (CBS)
The song: Björk, “Headphones (Remix)”
The episode: “Habeas Corpse” (1019)
The hook: In the morning-after April 8 opener, Det. Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) was bloodied and pummeled as he regained consciousness — and saw a corpse beside him. Nobody does blur-and-wail orchestration better than Björk, and that’s exactly what this moment demanded. The Icelandic emo queen’s trippy track communicated his disorientation as the camera swirled out, Hitchcock-style, to reveal this nightmare scenario around him. Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Or the floor, as it were.
Watch it! Togo wakes from a dead sleep right at the top of the episode on CSI: Miami‘s official page.
The song: Donovan, “Season of the Witch”
The episode: “The Thing With Feathers” (116)
The hook: Hopefully your week will end better than Nick Burkhardt’s (David Giuntoli), Jukeboxers (keep reading for tips!). After taking his girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) on a camping trip where he planned to propose, Nick’s Grimm duties got in the way yet again, and Juliette refused his proposal. While Nick took in the rejection, his Nick’s partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) was wining and dining Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee) to the tune of Donovan’s paranoid 1966 song. The psychedelic track summed up the moment perfectly: Nick should be “looking over his shoulder” because Adalind is the very same Hexenbiest who has been working against Nick since the beginning of the season. Under the instruction of Nick’s shady captain (Sasha Roiz), she began moving in on Hank, bewitching him to the point of obsession. With chocolate chip cookies, no less! Dastardly.
Watch it! Don’t Trust the W—- at Brasserie Montmartre premieres at 42:20 on Grimm‘s Hulu.
NEW GIRL (Fox)
The song: The Clash, “Death or Glory”
The episode: “Normal” (120)
The hook: And so, with this last Jukebox entry, I’m giving all my readers of age and inclination a weekend kick-off present: True American, a.k.a. the best drinking game ever. Sure, I was just as confused as Russell (Dermot Mulroney) when Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and the roomies explained the ruled on April 10, but I can definitely tell you that True American entails pretending the floors are made of lava, shouting out presidents’ names, flashing hand signals, and, of course, drinking as much as humanly possible — and then drinking some more. So why choose a Britpunk song to underscore a game called True American? Simply put, it’s all about the title. “Death or Glory” — you have to play to win. There is no middle ground — and if there is, it’s made of lava. Happy weekend, Jukeboxers!