21 Songs That Were Absolutely, 100% Perfect Choices For These TV Moments

·10 min read

🚨Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead, including the ending of Cruel Summer and the You Season 3 finale!!! 🚨

Note: Number 11 includes references to sexual assault.

1."Wild World" by Cat Stevens (covered by the cast) — Skins

Effy holding Tony after he gets run over

When it plays: Series 1, Episode 9 ("Everyone") — during the finale montage after Tony gets hit by the bus.

Why it works: Skins truly WAS a wild world, wasn't it? This song perfectly embodies teenage angst and makes that heartbreaking scene of Effy holding Tony and screaming for help all the more haunting.

E4

Watch the scene here:

2."In My Veins" by Andrew Belle — Pretty Little Liars

Toby and Spencer kiss and hook up

When it plays: Season 3, Episode 12 ("The Lady Killer") — when Spencer and Toby sleep together for the first time.

Why it works: The ballad is a great song choice for a rare moment of simple innocence on this show, but the song's somewhat somber tone also foreshadows the trouble ahead for the relationship.

Freeform

Watch the scene here:

3."Wonderwall" cover by Zella Day (originally by Oasis) — Cruel Summer

Kate: "I just don't know where else to go," Martin: "Come inside"

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 7 ("Happy Birthday, Kate Wallis") — when Kate runs away to Martin's house after fighting with her mom.

Why it works: It's one of the most emotional, heartbreaking moments on the show, and the slow, haunting melody just makes the scene even more painful. I genuinely cried the first time I watched it.

Listen to the song here.

Freeform

4."Creep" cover by Olivia Holt (originally by Radiohead) — Cruel Summer

Kate screams for help and Jeanette just stands there and smiles before turning away

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 10 ("Hostile Witness") — the final minute of the Season 1 finale, which shockingly revealed that Jeanette heard Kate screaming for help from the basement and did nothing to help her.

Why it works: The ending scene is arguably one of the best TV plot twists ever on its own, but this cover playing as Jeanette gives the audience a chilling smirk really just ups the creepiness (see what I did there?) factor by 1,000.

Freeform

Watch the scene here:

5."Exile" by Taylor Swift — You

Joe drags Love's body across the floor and then slices his own toe off

When it plays: Season 3, Episode 10 ("What Is Love?") — when Joe kills Love, fakes his death, and then burns the house down to make it appear like she committed a murder-suicide.

Why it works: The song as a whole complements the haunting atmosphere of this scene, but the line "I think I've seen this film before and I didn't like the ending" in particular really captures the essence of Joe's motive — he knows what Love is capable of and decides he needs to put an end to the cycle. On the flip side, we as an audience also know that Joe is also likely doomed to keep repeating history over and over again.

Netflix

Watch the scene here:

6."Forever" by Chvrches — Elite

parallels of Polo killing Marina and Lu killing Polo

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 8 ("Assilah") and Season 3, Episode 8 ("Polo") — at the party where Polo kills Marina in the nSeason 1 finale and again at the party where Lu kills Polo in the Season 3 finale.

Why it works: The show made a point to illustrate clear parallels between Marina and Polo's murders (although the latter was arguably more of an accident), and the matching soundtracks at the parties are just the cherry on top of that.

Listen to the song here.

Netflix

7."For Blue Skies" by Strays Don't Sleep — One Tree Hill

Brooke: "I love you," Lucas: "I love you too pretty girl," Haley and Nathan get back together

When it plays: Season 3, Episode 9 "How a Resurrection Really Feels" — when Brooke and Lucas officially get back together and Haley and Nathan make up after being estranged for months.

Why it works: The song is all about forgiveness, and that's a core theme for both relationships in this episode: Lucas forgiving Brooke for sleeping with Chris, Brooke forgiving Lucas for breaking her heart, Nathan forgiving Haley for leaving on tour with Chris the previous year, and Haley forgiving Nathan for icing her out. It just simply works as a soundtrack on every level.

Watch the Nathan and Haley scene here and the Brooke and Lucas scene here.

The WB

Watch the Nathan and Haley scene here:

And the Brooke and Lucas scene here:

8."Trampoline" (Jauz Remix) by Shaed, Jauz — Ginny & Georgia

Ginny teases Marcus making him think she's going to tell Padma they hooked up, only for her to say "you have something on your shirt" and walk away

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 1 ("Pilot") — during the final montage when Ginny walks away from Marcus in the hallway and it's strongly implied through flashbacks that Georgia had something to do with her ex-husband's death.

Why it works: Ginny's narration — "I get it now; I guess in the end you're just getting screwed" — immediately being followed by such a catchy, electric beat as she walks away makes the scene 10 times more dramatic. Teen angst at its finest!

Netflix

Watch the scene here:

9."Underwater" by Vud feat. TVA — Search Party

Dory staring at her reflection

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 10 ("The House of Uncanny Truths") — during the final scene of Season 1 when Dory looks in the mirror and absorbs that they just killed Keith.

Why it works: You can really feel the gravity of the situation sinking in for Dory as she stares at her reflection, and the song's haunting tone just adds to the chilling atmosphere of this cliffhanger.

TBS

Watch the scene here:

10."Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo — Gossip Girl

Jenny: "You don't have anything to say to me?" Eric: "Your sweet potatoes are bland"

When it plays: Season 3, Episode 11 ("The Treasure of the Serena Madre") — when everyone exposes each other's secrets at the Thanksgiving table.

Why it works: There's a reason this clip resurfaces on the internet every Thanksgiving — it's simply iconic. The verse "Mm, whatcha say? Mm, that you only meant well? Well, of course you did" practically screams scandals and petty drama. It's exactly the kind of messy scene that makes the OG Gossip Girl so fun, and it wouldn't be complete without this choice of song.

The CW

Watch the scene here:

11."Girl From Mars" by Ash — Gilmore Girls

Jess: "Dodger?" Rory: "Figure it out," Jess: "Oliver Twist!"

When it plays: Season 2, Episode 5 ("Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy") — when Jess hands Rory her book back and says he only stole it to put some notes in the margins for her.

Why it works: Ahh, young love. "I still love you, the girl from Mars" foreshadows Rory and Jess's eventual romance, which becomes one of the central relationships on the show. The song playing as the two exchange snappy dialogue over Oliver Twist just makes the moment all the more memorable.

The WB

Watch the scene here:

12."Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi — Legacies

Hope asks Lizzie who she heard the rumor from, they turn to look at Josie

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 12 ("There's a Mummy on Main Street") — when Hope and Lizzie talk and realize Josie started the feud between the two of them all those years ago.

Why it works: While the scene itself is between Hope and Lizzie, it's a fundamentally a Hosie (Hope and Josie) moment at its core since it leads up to that revelation that Josie set the room on fire when they were kids because she wanted to burn the love confession she sent Hope. The lyric "I let my guard down, and then you pulled the rug" also perfectly captures the sense of vulnerability Hope and Josie display with each other throughout the show.

The CW

Watch the scene here:

13."Bruises" by Lewis Capaldi — Riverdale

Betty and Archie lock eyes through their windows

When it plays: Season 2, Episode 8 ("Chapter Twenty-One: House of the Devil") — when Archie and Betty gaze at each other through their bedroom windows after breaking up with Veronica and Jughead, respectively.

Why it works: Every Barchie shipper knows the line "And a boy looked out his window at the girl next door, as if for the very first time," but the scene wouldn't be complete without this song playing in the background. "I've been told, I've been told to get you off my mind, but I hope I never lose the bruises that you left behind" are the perfect lyrics for this slow-burn ship.

The CW

Watch the scene here:

14."You Should See Me in a Crown" by Billie Eilish — Euphoria

Kat walking in her new sheer edgy clothes

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 5 ("'03 Bonnie and Clyde") — when Kat confidently walks through the mall in her new outfit.

Why it works: It's the perfect song to go with Kat's "There's nothing more powerful than a fat girl who doesn't give a f*ck" line, and it also symbolizes her character's transformation.

HBO

Watch the scene here:

15."Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol — Grey's Anatomy

When it plays: Season 2, Episode 27 (

When it plays: Season 2, Episode 27 ("Losing My Religion") — when Denny shockingly dies.

Why it works: Hearing "If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?" while Izzie holds onto Denny in her prom dress makes the moment even more painful than it already is. The show also later revisits this song in Season 7 during the musical episode.

ABC

Watch the scene here:

16."Forever Young" cover by Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine (originally by Bob Dylan) — Parenthood

Joe and Julia with their kids and a new baby on Christmas, Ryan dropping off baby Zeek with Amber and her husband, Max happy graduating

When it plays: Season 6, Episode 13 ("May God Bless You and Keep You Always") — during the final montage of the series.

Why it works: "Forever Young" is the show's theme song, so using it during the very last scene is a smart choice that brings things truly full circle. It also feels fitting for the montage, which reveals what each character's future holds.

Listen to the song here.

NBC

17."It's Gonna Rain" by Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers — I May Destroy You

Arabella begins to piece together the events of the night

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 11 ("Would You Like to Know the Sex?") — during the pivotal flashback scene when Arabella stumbles out of the bar after being drugged.

Why it works: The show's music supervisor, Ciara Elwis, revealed in an interview with LA Times that creator and lead actor Michaela Coel knew right from the beginning that she wanted the gospel song to be used for that scene, and that they wrote a personal letter to the original artist to get permission. The striking choice adds a level of heightened emotions and tension to the harrowing moment, and it's hard to imagine the scene without its soundtrack.

Listen to the song here.

HBO

18."Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. — Beverly Hills, 90210

Brenda tells Dylan they're moving too fast for her

When it plays: Season 2, Episode 1 ("Beach Blanket Brandon") — when Dylan and Brenda break up after her pregnancy scare.

Why it works: The song unfortunately doesn't play on the DVD and Hulu versions of the episode due to copyright issues, but 90210 fans will always remember this classic. The choice really captures the heartbreak and teenage angst in the scene. The song skyrocketed the charts after the episode, and the series also plays it again a couple more times in later seasons.

Fox

Watch the scene here:

19."Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap — The O.C.

Marissa shoots Trey

When it plays: Season 2, Episode 24 ("The Dearly Beloved") — when Marissa shockingly shoots Ryan's brother, Trey.

Why it works: I'll be honest: I went back and forth on including this one because it's kind of (OK, totally) ridiculous. But there's a reason every fan of The O.C. — heck, anyone who grew up in the 2000s in general — remembers this scene, and that's because of this song. It made a top-tier dramatic moment even more memorable. And who could forget that SNL parody?

Fox

Watch the scene here:

20."Momentary Thing" by Something Happens — Veronica Mars

Veronica kisses Logan, he kisses her back

When it plays: Season 1, Episode 18 ("Weapons of Class Destruction") — during Logan and Veronica's first kiss, outside the motel.

Why it works: What Veronica Mars fan doesn't remember this iconic scene? The lyric "After all, isn't this just a momentary thing?" literally mirrors Veronica's feelings of doubt and uncertainty after she kisses Logan in the heat of the moment, and the song playing in the background just makes it that much sweeter when Logan surprises her and reciprocates the kiss.

UPN

Watch the scene here:

21.And finally, "Shark in the Water" by V V Brown — Degrassi: The Next Generation

Now it's your turn! What song do you think was the perfect choice for a TV scene? Tell us in the comments!