TV Jukebox: 'AHS: Freak Show,' 'The Flash,' more music on TV
Have you found yourself wondering, “What’s that song?” while watching your favorite TV shows? We’re here to tell you. Check out our Spotify playlist and see why these music picks clicked. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: Spoilers ahead.)
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW (FX)
The song: “Life on Mars,” originally by David Bowie
The episode: “Monsters Among Us” (401)
The hook: Because is any AHS season really complete without hearing Jessica Lange belt out a deliciously over-the-top tune? Ryan Murphy got straight to the good stuff on Wednesday’s season premiere, with an anachronistic performance of Bowie’s Hunky Dory 1973 hit? Darren Franich called Lange’s musical bow as the aptly name Elsa Mars “a moment of glam-period excess, beamed backward into the cultural moment of conformity.” Jukebox just calls it fan-Freakin’-tastic.
SONS OF ANARCHY (FX)
The song: Joshua James & The Forest Rangers feat. Billy Valentine, “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In”
The episode: “Some Strange Eruption” (705)
The hook: Tuesday’s SOA ended on a major cliffhanger that was underscored by this growling rendition of the 1967 Hair raiser. The climactic song and tempo change as Juice (Theo Rossi) recognized Gemma’s (Katey Sagal) murderous intentions for him, forced her to crash her car, and chased her down in the desert was musically to-die-for—but will it also be literally so for Gemma?
The song: Deer Tick, “Twenty Miles”
The episode: “Set Yourself on Fire” (101)
The hook: A montage set to the Rhode Island alt-rockers’ song showed the sick symmetry of Nate (Nick Jonas) and Jay (Jonathan Tucker), the rising fighter and the washed-up heroin addict, during Wednesday’s series debut. Complementary cuts between the brothers drew visual parallels between their divergent paths, which Samantha Highfill described as the “the two sides of life as a Kulina.”
THE ORIGINALS (The CW)*
The song: Xu Xu Fang, “Noir State Beach”
The hook: “Rebirth” (201)
The hook: On Tuesday’s season premiere, the L.A. rockers’ stomper soundtracked an adrenalized werewolf pack siege by Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin). Music Supervisor Chris Mollere told EW, “We needed a song that had a drive and grittiness to it. This song drove us through the entire sequence, its ebbs and flows… [are] like a roller coaster ride through all of the action. It brought all the pieces of the scenes together to play out this entire plan as a whole.” In contrast, Mollere said he chose the contemplative “Sleeping Alone” by Lykke Li for its “feeling of loneliness, but with a tinge of hope, that was the exact feeling we were trying to exude” in contrasting scenes between Marcel and Cami (Leah Pipes), and Hayley and Klaus. He added, “The song gives us the feeling of tension and sadness that Klaus and Hayley both feel and where there was once a divide between them, there is now growing a union between them… [a] glimmer of hope that, with everything they go through, they’ll find their way back to all being together down the road.”
PLEASE LIKE ME (Pivot)
The song: James Vincent McMorrow, “Higher Love”
The episode: “Margherita” (210)
The hook: Tom’s (Tom Ward) “sad song”—McMorrow’s mournful cover Steve Winwood’s 1986 single—appeared a few times in the back half of PLM‘s second season, most recently on Friday’s season closer before a hot tub heart-to-heart between Tom and his roommate Josh (creator/star Josh Thomas).
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)
The song: Gabrielle Aplin, “Salvation”
The episode: “Yellow Ledbetter” (602)
The hook: Distressing Delena fans, Thursday’s episode was all about Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) attempts to erase the memories of her dead boyfriend Damon (Ian Somerhalder). But first, the British songwriter’s powerful piano ballad underscored one more steamy flashback as Elena packed up mementos of the relationship. Later, Sleeping at Last’s mellow take on Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through the Night” played through Elena’s recollection of the first moment she knew she was in love with Damon. On a more sinister note, Jukeboxers on Twitter dug the transition between R.E.M.’s 1992 angst anthem “Everybody Hurts” and Bread and Butter’s cover, both of which provided an edgy accompaniment as Mystic Falls vigilante Tripp (Colin Ferguson) revealed he’s more dangerous and sadistic than we realized.
GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)*
The song: Banks, “Waiting Game”
The episode: “Got to Be Real” (1103)
The hook: Angeleno songbird Jillian Rose Banks made a double appearance on Thursday’s Grey‘s. Her “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From” hit a fitting note as Owen (Kevin McKidd) apologized to Callie (Sara Ramirez) and revealed some of his vulnerabilities in the wake of Cristina’s (Sandra Oh) departure. Later, “Waiting Game” was a spot-on choice for the tense moments before Karev (Justin Chamber) and Bailey (Chandra Wilson) learned whom Grey Sloan Memorial board would choose to take Cristina’s vacant seat.
THE BLACKLIST (NBC)
The song: Fink, “Pilgrim”
The episode: “Dr. James Covington” (203)
The hook: “From small beginnings come big endings.” Monday’s Blacklist closed with a couple of encounters, including Red’s (James Spader) reunion smackdown with ex-wife Naomi (Mary-Louis Parker) and Liz’s (Megan Boone) flirty, apologetic run-in with a handsome motel neighbor (Hal Ozsan) she’d frisked earlier. ‘Tis a pity that the same neighbor is an apparent sniper with his sights quite literally set on Liz. English troubadour Fin Greenall’s stressful strumming conveyed the building tension as these relationships build to what is sure to be one very big bang of an ending in coming weeks.
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER (ABC)
The song: IAMX, “The Unified Field”
The episode: “Smile, or Go to Jail” (103)
The hook: The HTGAWM favorite closed out the series debut on Sept. 25 and opened this Thursday’s installment with just the right about of synth-driven throb as Michaela (Aja Naomi King) engaged in pre-marital relations with fiancé Aiden (Elliot Knight).
SUPERNATURAL (The CW)*
The song: “I’m Too Sexy,” originally by Right Said Fred
The episode: “Black” (1001)
The hook: After Pat Benatar’s Twitter-approved “Heartbreaker” played through the “The Road So Far” catch-up reel at the top Monday’s season premiere, demon Dean (Jensen Ackles) got a less-than-sexy reception from the karaoke crowd to this 1992 cheese-pop masterpiece.
PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS)
The song: Frank Sinatra, “Too Marvelous for Words”
The episode: “Wingman” (403)
The hook: Ol’ Blue Eyes’ 1956 take on Johnny Mercer’s swinging ditty underscored Tuesday night’s montage in which Fusco (Kevin Chapman) went undercover as a pick-up artist’s client. Fusco’s own attempts to woo ladies? Unfortunately—but hilariously—not so marvelous.
THE FLASH (The CW)
The song: Ingrid Michaelson, “Girls Chase Boys”
The episode: “City of Heroes” (101)
The hook: The singer-songwriter’s bouncy track made a pair of appearances on freshman series on Tuesday—first in love-it-or-hate-it social-media sitcom Selfie, then in an ambient moment on The Flash‘s series debut as Barry’s (Grant Gustin) powers first reveal themselves at the coffee shop where Iris (Candice Patton) works.
THE MINDY PROJECT (Fox)
The song: Pharrell Williams, “Come Get It Bae”
The episode: “I Slipped” (304)
The hook: Another clap track from the “Happy” hitman served as titter-inducing accompaniment as Peter (Adam Pally) gave Mindy (Mindy Kaling) a skeleton-aided sex ed lesson on Tuesday.
The episode: “Disclosure” (402)
The hook: In a grimly on-the-nose musical cue Sunday, the electronic number made floorboard tremble as Charlotte (Krista B. Allen) set fire to The Stowaway with an unconscious Emily (Emily VanCamp) inside. A fiery start to the week indeed.