25 Best Songs of Spring TV
The song: Icona Pop Feat. Charli XCX, ''I Love It''
The episode: ''Bad Friend'' (203)
The hook: Amid a pretty grim season (Q-tip!), the coke-fueled dance trance that overtook Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) on Jan. 27 was a glorious bright spot. After rocking out with their nips out to Eve's 2007 joint ''Tambourine,'' the roomies gyrated and sang their hearts out to Swedish duo's electroscreamer with that gloriously stratospheric build-up. We love it!
Read Lindsay Bahr's recaps
Listen to the Spotify playlist!
The song: Emeli Sandé, ''River''
The episode: ''Blank Canvases'' (609)
The hook: The Game's March 26 season premiere saw the tide change as longtime star Pooch Hall said goodbye to Miguel's ''Don't Look Back.'' As the season neared its end, new leading man Blue (Jay Ellis) proved his charm as he romanced former child star Keira (Lauren London) on May 14. The birth of a new romance took an appropriately grown-up course when Keira gave her virginity to Blue, underscored by Brit songbird Sandé's romantic rumination on submitting to the currents of love.
The song: Snow Patrol, ''Open Your Eyes''
The episode: ''A.A.R.M.'' (922/23)
The hook: The Office wrapped on a happy note to a poignant acoustic rendition of cast member Creed Bratton's original ''All the Faces.'' Before that, though, the final season was a rough one for two of those faces: Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer). But, as the series neared its five-hanky finale, the colleagues-turned-spouses made moves toward reconnecting. Case in point: On May 9, Jim used the Irish rockers' 2007 track in a video montage he'd prepared (with some help from the doc crew). It was exactly what the series needed in its penultimate episode, helping Pam — and us — remember what was so magical about ''Jam'' in the first place.
Read Sandra Gonzalez's take on this moment
The song: Sam and the Womp, ''Bom Bom (Radio Edit)''
The episode: ''The Deductionist'' (114)
The hook: Sherlock and strippers? Capitalizing on its prime post-Super Bowl placement, the Feb. 3 ep started with a bang (or a ''Bom Bom,'' as it were) as a duo of exotic-dancing thieves danced to this Björk-ish bumper. The detail-obsessed detective (Jonny Lee Miller) was bound, teased, and nearly cleaned out, but it turned out Sherlock was in control the whole time. The titillating scene was all a set-up — but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun while it lasted!
The Vampire Diaries
The song: Cary Brothers, ''Belong''
The episode: ''Graduation'' (423)
The hook: TVD's May 16 season finale featured bittersweet tracks from Olivia Broadfield, Liz Lawrence, and S. Carey, but Brothers' soaring tune about possessive love cut to the core of the dynamic between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) as she finally admitted she loved him, sire bond or not. Of course, that meant Stefan (Paul Wesley) was out of the picture?for now at least. Music supervisor Chris Mollere chose the track for its ''utter sadness.'' He told EW he liked that ''the song guides us through this emotional roller coaster — we have no idea what's going to happen during the conversation'' and that, after Elena confesses, it contrasts ''this great moment in one brother's life and, at the same time, a heartbreaking moment in the other brother's life.''
Read Mandi Bierly's recaps
The song: Stevie Wonder, ''I Don't Know Why''
The episode: ''Whiskey Tango Foxtrot'' (214)
The hook: Valentine's Day wasn't so sweet for Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn). In an episode filled with conflicted sexual encounters, a circuit-room rendezvous between POTUS and his high-powered mistress took the night — along with Liv's dignity. Even as the fixer tried to move past Fitz's unceremonious dumping, this fleeting moment of reconnection was as wrenching as it was hot. Wonder's soulful howl and vivid lyrics (''Kick me when I'm down, that's your rule?. Oh you never stop your cheatin' ways?. I never knew how much love could hurt until I loved you baby'') could have been written specifically for Liv as she, despite looking trés Jackie O. in her cream-colored Chanel-style suit, realized the President had relegated her to Marilyn status.
Read Lindsey Bahr's recaps
How I Met Your Mother
The song: The Shins, ''Simple Song''
The episode: ''Something New'' (824)
The hook: Eight seasons in the making, the May 13 finale's closing moment finally revealed Mother (Once Tony nominee Cristin Milioti). The Shins' sweet 2012 ditty — about imagining the love of your life then finally connecting with her — was a perfect soundtrack for the reveal of Yellow Umbrella Girl, not to mention a tuneful set-up for HIMYM's final season. After years of complications and false reveals, it should all be ''Simple'' from here.
Read Sandra Gonzalez's recap, then check out Tanner Stransky's exclusive Burning Questions with co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and his exclusive behind-the-scenes look into how Milioti snagged the role of Mother
The Walking Dead
The song: Voxhaul Broadcast, ''You Are the Wilderness''
The episode: ''Prey'' (314)
The hook: Before Merle (Michael Rooker) got his gonzo suicide mission on to Motörhead and Ted Nugent in the season 3 finale, March 17's Dead closed on moment that was simultaneously more subdued and more harrowing. A long, chilling zoom shot led viewers into the torture chamber of the Governor (David Morrissey), where he was secretly keeping Andrea (Laurie Holden) bound and gagged. As the camera prowled ever closer, Voxhaul's David Dennis's yowl conveyed the terror in Andrea's heart — a fear betrayed by her eyes but that her covered mouth couldn't express. Not long after, Andrea bit the dust (though, if we're being honest, viewers weren't all that sad).
Read Darren Franich's recaps
The song: Imagine Dragons, ''Radioactive''
The episode: ''Darkness on the Edge of Town'' (122)
The hook: They may not be the Arrow duo we're shipping, but Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) ended the season's May 8 ep on a high note as the Vegas foursome's radio hit underscored Olly and Laurel unleashing their nuclear passion for each other.
Read Nuzhat Naoreen's recaps
The song: Pony Boy, ''Trouble''
The episode: ''Take These Chains from My Heart'' (118)
The hook: Marchelle Bradanini's sultry, snaky song serenaded Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) during the long-awaited hook-up between Music City's will-they-won'-they-hell-yeah-they-did! couple. When there's shirtless Deacon in the mix, need we say more? No? Good...because we couldn't if we tried. Our jaws have been practically glued to the floor since May 1.
Read Mandi Bierly's reaction to the moment
The song: Danzig, ''How the Gods Kill''
The episode: ''Welcome Home'' (108)
The hook: Third time was a charm as the March 11 ep reached yet another thrilling?er?climax. After homicidal cult leader Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) fatally stabbed one of his supplicants, who succumbed to death with an orgasmic gasp, Joe gave into temptation with the show's resident murder-minx Emma (Valorie Curry). As they bowed down to the altar of flesh in one room, two more Followers engaged in choking as foreplay in another. Just in case it wasn't abundantly clear (witness: the Feb. 11 installment and the Jan. 28 one), sex = death, y'all.
The song: The xx, ''Sunset''
The episode: ''War'' (216)
The hook: Will they or won't they? In the case of Rachel (Meghan Markle) and Mike (Patrick J. Adams), they finally did. Oh, how they did. After plenty of intra-office sexual tension, The xx's (or should that be xxx?) sensual song played as the colleagues steamed up Pearson's file room during the sizzling Feb. 21 season finale. Recalled creator Aaron Korsh, ''We card all the scenes, with a synopsis. And the card on the board was?'Mike and Rachel angrily bang.''' You know who wasn't angry? Viewers.
Read Mandi Bierly's post-mortem with Korsh
The song: Ellie Goulding, ''Anything Could Happen''
The episode: ''Virgins'' (223)
The hook: Season 2 saw plenty of musical touchstones from Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) — Fishbone's True American theme ''Party at Ground Zero'' on Jan. 29, Lucius's ''Until We Get There'' in the penultimate ep, and The Vaccines' exuberant ''I Always Knew'' on the May 14 finale, to name a few — but the flashback-heavy April 30 installment was packed to the rafters with hilariously ironic lovemakin' tunes. From Boyz II Men's ''I'll Make Love to You'' to Sublime, ''Caress Me Down,'' the ep was sheer perfection. And the icing on the cake? Ellie Goulding's heart-swelling track, which signaled a turning point for the roomfriends.
Read our ''Virgins'' recap and Q&A with Johnson and showrunner Liz Meriwether, then listen to our playlist of the songs that played the first time our favorite TV couples made whoopie
The song: Jane Monheit, ''I'm Glad There Is You''
The episode: ''Berlin'' (1021)
The hook: Tiva fans rejoiceed April 23 when business blurred with pleasure as Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) shared a slow dance to Monheit's cover of the dreamy 1941 standard. At a Berlin club on a mission to track down her father's killer, Ziva still managed to get swept up in this intimate moment — made all the more satisfying when Ziva recalled her father telling her as a child, ''One day you will dance with a man who deserves your love.''
Read Sandra Gonzalez's post-mortem with de Pablo and Lynette Rice's behind-the-scenes First Look
The song: Roberta Flack, ''To Love Somebody''
The episode: ''Only You'' (110)
The hook: Much of the FX drama's first season's attention was paid to the tenuous partnership (both personal and professional) between embedded KGB spies Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip (Matthew Rhys), which was set up masterfully by Phil Collins' 1980 haunter ''In the Air Tonight.'' But Flack's downtempo, almost mournful Bee Gees' cover from 1971 was no less poignant as Elizabeth's lover Gregory (Derek Luke) went down in a hale of bullets to avoid being relocated to Russia. The sequence showed the toll of the characters' line of work — as well as their decision to find, and try to keep, love in the midst of this very Cold War.
The song: Bing Crosby, ''Just a Gigolo''
The episode: ''The Collaborators'' (603)
The hook: Though Megan (Jessica Paré) was still in the dark about the affair between Don (Jon Hamm) and Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) on April 14, the guilt began to catch up to the dallying Mr. Draper. He literally crumpled under the weight of his own infidelity at the end of the hour, and Crosby's 1931 tune provided an ironic subtext for Don's irrepressible urge to wander.
Read Keith Staskiewicz's recaps
Pretty Little Liars
The song: Lana Del Rey, ''Ride''
The episode: ''A dAngerous gAme'' (324)
The hook: Del Rey's sultry heartbreaker underscored a bittersweet reunion between Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and her betrayer/boyfriend Toby (Keegan Allen) on PLL's March 19 season finale. Teen angst in Rosewood? You don't sAy?
Read Samantha Highfill's recap
The song: Tegan and Sara, ''Goodbye, Goodbye''
The episode: ''Responsibly Irresponsible'' (302)
The hook: Tegan and Sara were a major musical force behind the MTV sitcom's third season, serving as guest supervisors for an episode and playing under other standout moments with their songs ''I Was a Fool'' and ''Closer.'' During the hourlong April 16 premiere, the twindie rockers' deceptively bouncy break-up song served as a musical proxy for Matty (Beau Mirchoff), who was much sadder at his core than he let on after finding out Jenna (Ashley Rickards) hadn't told him about a pregnancy scare.
The song: ''Let Me Call You Sweetheart''
The episode: ''Episode One'' (301)
The hook: After the ''Wedding March'' and the dinner party from Hell on Downton's Jan. 6 double-barrel premiere, the Crawley's brassy American in-law Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) gave Violet (Maggie Smith) the most uncomfortable serenade ever, rendering the famously barb-tongued Dowager Countess speechless. Perhaps because it's very likely Violet has never let anybody call her sweetheart.
Read Denise Warner's recaps
The song: Angela McCluskey with Tryptich, ''My Funny Valentine''
The episode: ''Things We Said Today'' (910)
The hook: Ed Sheeran's ''Kiss Me'' drifted into McCluskey's cover of the 1937 Rodgers & Hart classic on Jan. 10 as the Chief (James Pickens Jr.) told Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) that his wife Adele (Lorette Devine) had passed away just moments before. As he tearfully watched Bailey (Chandra Wilson) have her first dance with her new husband, the Chief imagined dancing once more with Adele to their own own wedding song: ''My Funny Valentine.'' They say weddings make people cry, and this ballad about a perfectly imperfect love took no emotional prisoners. The final gut punch? The ep cut to black on the lingering-in-the-air lyrics, ''Stay, little Valentine, stay?.''
Read our recaps
The Good Wife
The song: Beck, ''Black Tambourine''
The episode: ''What's in the Box?'' (422)
The hook: Beck's 2005 cut kept things humming on Wife's April 28 finale as Cary (Matt Czuchry) and Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) haggled over the terms of her salary, should she take a position at his spinoff firm. Talk about movers and shakers.
Read Breia Brissey's recaps
The Carrie Diaries
The song: The Go-Go's, ''Head Over Heels''
The episode: ''Read Before Use'' (103)
The hook: Carrie brought the neonalicious '80s flavor throughout its freshman season. The Sex and the City prequel came out of the gate fast on Jan. 28, giving voice to the righteousness of being young and in love via The Go-Go's effervescent 1984 hit. Just as effective, The Cars' pining ''Drive'' backed a garden-set makeout sesh between Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) and Sebastian (Austin Butler). Blossoming affections indeed.
The song: Kenny Loggins, ''Playing With the Boys''
The episode: ''Deuce Babylove 2: Electric Babydeuce'' (322)
The hook: Max (Adam Pally) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) clearly brought more style than skill to a May 3 tennis match set to Loggins' 1986 synth-sation (a.k.a. Top Gun's beach volleyball face-off song). We enjoyed every second of the friends' trouncing by super-competitive hubbies Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) during the series finale — though we can't say the same for Max, who took more hits than Snoop Lion.
Read Sarah Caldwell's reaction to the finale
The song: Salme feat. Noa Tylo, ''So Delicious''
The episode: ''Ray of Light (2)'' (1234)
The hook: Emo angst, be damned! Aspiring auteur Eli (Munro Chambers), who's been grappling with bipolar disorder for several seasons, took a break from reality on March 8 when he popped a little MDMA and dropped trou. As he tripped through the halls, Big Apple-based EDMer Dahlstrom's rambunctious track conveyed his ''Delicious''-ly loopy state of mind.
The song: Joanna Newsom, ''Esme''
The episode: ''The Ghost is Seen'' (205)
The hook: Nice guys sometimes do finish first. The gone-but-not-forgotten series' Feb. 10 ep pivoted on painfully shy Tyler (Mike White) as Amy (Laura Dern) tried to use him to gather incriminating intel about Abaddon. In a happy accident, Tyler found a love connection with the boss's secretary Eileen (Molly Shannon) while doing Amy's bidding. For a guy like Tyler, such a rom-com-ready plot would usually be stamped with the warning: ''This will end disastrously!'' But for at least one week, Newsom's ethereal, episode-ending tune affirmed that ''Kindness, kindness prevails!'' and let us linger in the warm fuzzies from Tyler's transition from ''walking ghost'' to man in love.
Listen to the Spotify playlist!