It’s common to associate certain songs with specific years, grades or memories. They might have been played in the background of a certain moment or just on repeat for a stretch of time. When it comes to movies and television, their score or soundtrack is paramount to the viewers’ feelings and associations. Music has the ability to bring people back to a different on-screen scene and provide a sense of nostalgia, so we have curated a playlist of songs that do just that!
Perhaps one of the most iconic TV couples, Jim and Pam from The Office, demonstrated to us all what love looks like. Their wedding is captured through a two-part episode sequence at the beginning of season six. Just as Pam and her bridesmaids are about to walk down the aisle, “Forever” by Chris Brown plays and the entire cast breaks out in a rehearsed dance that simulates one that went viral on YouTube. If you’ve seen The Office, you know this scene and it is an understatement to say that it’s unforgettable.
If “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds doesn’t remind you of The Breakfast Club, we don’t know what does. After following this group of high school students through a Saturday in detention, a criminal, a princess, a brain, an athlete and a basket case close out the film by going their separate ways. John Bender’s legendary fist in the air while walking through the football field perfectly ends the day’s journey and sums up the group’s dynamic.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off quintessentially captured what every high schooler wants to experience at least once in their four years. Alongside Cameron and Sloan, Ferris’s ability to turn any ordinary situation into something spectacular makes the film what it is. Contributing to their day of shenanigans, Ferris stands atop one of the floats in the downtown Chicago parade while “Twist And Shout” by The Beatles plays. Not only does he give a grand performance of the song, but the manner in which he excites the crowd lends to the film’s overarching cheerful tone.
A movie’s introductory scene can be very telling of how the rest of the viewing experience will go. With that comes great responsibility to entice viewers and capture their interest to continue watching, and often times that corresponds with a great song. We know “Kids In America” by The Muffs starts out Clueless, “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves tells the first story in Daddy Day Care, and “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John is more than representative of Gossip Girl.
The song heard at the beginning of a movie or TV show can also come in the form of title sequences. “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts is immediately traceable to Freaks and Geeks and we can all visualize that picture day taking place. Similarly, “We’re Going to Be Friends” by The White Stripes is used in the opening titles of Napoleon Dynamite. This opener is fantastic because everything seen in it is then understood later as essential symbols of the plot.
It’s no denying that Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray consumed most of our childhood and teenage screens. From Lizzie McGuire to One Tree Hill, the two were featured in hit after hit, and their collaboration in the 2004 film A Cinderella Story is legendary to the everlasting teen movie genre. After a long chase to figure out who one another was, a brutal confrontation and a California drought, we all remember him leaving the game and running up to her in the stands. When he runs up and kisses her, rain magically appears and “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World is heard in the background, perfectly capturing the moment.
If you’re feeling nostalgic about certain movies or TV shows and their soundtracks, take a listen to our On-Screen Soundtrack playlist. It features songs from Stuck In Love, The Devil Wears Prada, Grey’s Anatomy and more. See if you can figure out what film or TV show each song is associated with and let us know!
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