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Let's Talk About the 5 Best Television Soundtracks
The article highlights top music from some of the best shows on TV including Girls, Breaking Bad among others
By Katherine Cook
(more articles from this author)
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Music can make or break a show. The right tune to fit the scene can transport the viewer to the action, helping to convey emotions felt by characters and frame the vibe of the environment. Inappropriate music, however, can distract viewers and leave them scratching their heads, detracting from their investment in the story. Today, the job of a music director is as important as any production role, from the writer to set decorator. And with mobile applications such as Shazam allowing viewers to discover who is playing by a simple tap on their smartphones, television has also become one of the most prominent mediums for exposing people to new music. Here are five TV shows whose soundtracks always stand out.

'Grey's Anatomy'

1.) Sure, “Grey’s Anatomy” has been on forever (more than 8 years), but the producers have never skimped to bolster the overall viewing experience with great music. There has always been a wide range of great music to cover those montages the show is so fond of, and fans are so enamored with the music that's introduced, the show has even released several soundtrack albums featuring tunes from the show. A variety of genres, spanning everyone from Postal Service and Tegan & Sara, to Jamie Lidell and Peter, Bjorn and John, have been featured on the show.


2.) Whether you love or hate it, there is no denying HBO's “Girls” has had a notable impact on the music industry. Turn on your radio this summer, and you're bound to hear Icona Pop's “I Love It” — a song featured on the show that quickly picked up in popularity after airing. Star and writer Lena Dunham helped select the music herself, giving viewers an even richer experience as they watch. Get HBO and other premium packages for cable through a provider such as

'The Real World'

3.) Feel free to lament MTV's departure from being a channel that truly focused on music and has since embraced reality television geared towards teenagers and college kids. The channel still helps viewers discover music, however, through shows such as “The Real World.” Often, artists featured on the show are unsigned, and MTV helps viewers find new favorites by displaying the names and titles of songs as they play throughout the show. The music may serve as the background for petty fights and roommate drama, but it's high quality if you're into indie rock and upbeat tracks.


4.) “Parenthood” is another show that has its own album, which was released in 2010 and featured artists ranging from Bob Dylan and Wilco to Corinne Bailey Rae and Avett Brothers. Just like the writers of the show aren't afraid to tackle unique topics such as Asperger Syndrome and Cancer, the music for the show is chosen just as painstakingly, that makes watching this program about family dynamics that much more of a well-rounded viewing experience.

'Breaking Bad'

5.) You might not think of “Breaking Bad” as a show with notable music since the soundtrack is unique in that it blurs music and sound design. However, when music is used in the show, it's notably powerful. From the Mexican drug ballad “Negro Y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg” featured in season two, to “DLZ” by TV on the Radio in season four, music isn't added for filler on this show — it's only presented to enhance the action.

What TV show do you discover new music while watching. Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Flickr user Photo Editing Services

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