Lisa Gorry takes a look and a listen at TV/music crossovers

There’s a lot to be said for a good soundtrack. How often have you watched a movie and thought about what it would have been like without the music? How The Shining would have faired without its eerie instrumentals, clinic or if Saturday Night Fever would have been as successfulwithout its funky retro beats. It’s undeniable that a good soundtrack can make or break a production, click and so it only seems logical that a good show too can make or break an artist.

The crossover between good music and good television has come to particular prominence since the entering of the noughties, purchase and it is now just as likely for TV viewers to not only become obsessed with the show itself but to form a religious following for its soundtrack as well. Take HBO’s controversial new addition, GIRLS, written and directed by hipster messiah Lena Dunham. Not only can viewers get a behind the scenes look at the show via the HBO website, but super fans can now also follow the soundtrack for each episode on the site too, a seemingly ingenious way on behalf of HBO of promoting the artists who say the things that Lena Dunham doesn’t need to write.

Certain shows have so become synonymous with good music (here’s looking at you Grey’s Anatomy), meaning that for certain music junkies, following a good show can be just as beneficial as a venture over to iTunes. One show in particular which spearheaded the good TV/good music crossover was the massively successful The O.C., one of the first shows to really incorporate music into the scheme of its show. Not only did it have the mammoth task of proving that this could work, but it pulled it off with spectacular aplomb, mixing bigger, known bands, most famously The Killers, with unsigned and less known bands. In fact, many acts premiered singles on the show, and the six volumes of music which have been released since have proven to be hugely successful, even after the series has ended. Creator of the show, Josh Schwartz said he wanted music to act as a character on the show, and it seems that he carried this ethos onto many of his other productions, such as Gossip Girl and Chuck, series which have championed the success of the good TV/good music crossover.

It would seem that the key to his success is the variety and range of artists which are included in the shows. As lesser known artists are stirred up in a soundtrack with bigger and more established acts, the listener is lured into unfamiliar and yet inviting musical territory. Musical directors are now giving these under-appreciated and little known gems the chance to rub shoulders with the top guns and get their music heard in a bigger and brighter universe. I thoroughly encourage a trip to your Skybox/nearest Xtravision/HMV to begin your journey of musical discovery.

Here are my three favourites to get you started:


Act to Hear: Phantom Planet

Grey’s Anatomy

Act to Hear: Tegan and Sara

How I Met Your Mother

Act to Hear: The 88