Lord knows I am not a music connoisseur. Not that I don’t like it, because I love it (I am a human being, after all), but my favourite band of all time is The Beatles, and after that everything else falls in between, so I happen to enjoy many different singers and bands from all types of music genre, but sometimes I don’t even know their names.
That being said, I am very good at music when it comes to films and TV shows. Not only can I tell you the names of every piece of a score: I can also name every single song that has appeared on a TV series or movie. That is why I have decided to collect some of my favourite ones.
This time is the turn for TV shows, but I am not talking about the opening themes. No, this is about those songs that are featured in one episode and get stuck in our heads, becoming instant classics. I have many favourites, but this list compiles the very best ones. At least according to myself, but I am never wrong!
The Monorail Song (The Simpsons, 4×12 “Marge vs the Monorail”)
There is no way I would not start this list with the epitome of pop culture songs. This legendary episode was first broadcast in 1993 and there is not a Simpsons fan who doesn’t know the lyrics by heart. I am proud enough to say that I can sing it both in English and Spanish. The Simpsons is characterised by its easiness to feature songs that become instantly popular, but The Monorail Song is the most celebrated by far.
Special Mention: Conan O’Brien, who wrote the episode, recently performed the song during The Simpsons take the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year. A musical number worth watching.
The Rains of Castamere (Game of Thrones, 2×09 “Blackwater”)
Oh, every time I listen to the first chords of this theme, one thing comes to my mind: Robb Stark. You all GoT fans know what I am talking about. The lyrics were in the books penned by George RR Martin, but it wasn’t until Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi gave music to it that it became the most celebrated melody of the show (main theme excepted). We heard it for the first time during the closing credits of the phenomenal ‘Blackwater’, and it was played again during the infamous Red and Purple Weddings, plus other occasions in which some characters have hummed a line or two. Besides, if you type the song’s title on YouTube, get ready to find an endless amount of covers, all of them quite impressive.
Song for Ten (Doctor Who, 2005 Christmas Special, “The Christmas Invasion”)
To be fair, I would have included Murray Gold’s beautiful piece “Doomsday”, because there is not a single time I can listen to it without crying, as it brings back all the feelings from the homonymous episode, but I can’t really use a song that only contains a humming, so I will go with one of my personal favourites of all time, Song for Ten, used at the end of David Tennant’s first episode as the Doctor. It is such a cheerful song, even though it feels more melancholic from a current perspective, knowing everything that came afterwards. It’s like reminiscing about happier times, or at least that is what the lyrics imply, as if we were given a hint about Rose and Ten’s doomed future.
Special Mention: I had other songs in mind too. The close second was Love Don’t Roam, which again is about Rose and Ten’s lack of future together. Aaaaand tears.
Smelly Cat (Friends, 2×06 “The One With The Baby On The Bus”)
Oh, Phoebe, how much I always loved that character. It is true that Friend’s intro song is clearly one of the most famous TV songs of all time, but when it comes to music within the show, Ms Buffay’s songs have always been one of the best things about it. Phoebe composed many original songs with even more original lyrics (“And Rachel and Chandler, ha ah ha ah handler!”), but Smelly Cat will always remain at the top. After all, it even got its own music video!
Walk Through the Fire (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 6×07 “Once More, with Feeling”)
I am not going to lie, my first choice was Anya’s rendition of ‘Bunnies’, but then I decided I’d best go with this one, which acts as the ‘One Day More’ of the episode and sees all the characters coming together. Something so witty and original could only have come from the prodigious mind of Joss Whedon. Perhaps Sweet the demon could make a special appearance in The Avengers 3? That would certainly be interesting.
Freestyle (Breaking Bad, 4×13 “Face Off”)
This is the only show I could have finished my list with. Breaking Bad is full of splendid songs and Vince Gilligan knew what to use for every occasion and he always got it right. It has been difficult to choose just one out of so many, but my personal choice is this song by Taalbi Brothers that plays while Jesse and Walt are setting the superlab on fire after killing Gus. Excellent song for an even more excellent episode.