Getting stuck in a rut with your music is v. easy (i.e. hitting repeat four times on that JT song from like two years ago). Need some new tunespo? Some of the most talked-about TV shows come complete with soundtracks full of cool new artists and fun classics. Here are 10 must-watch shows you should listen to.
After the first three episodes of Season Three premiered at TIFF last month, and all 10 eps then dropped last week on shomi (RIP), audiences have been having a joyous fall hanging with their favourite dysfunctional Jewish clan. Haven’t met the Pfeffermans yet? The groundbreaking show centers on the patriarch of a Los Angeles Jewish family who comes out to his children as trans. With amazing performances from Jeffrey Tambor (who recently took home an Emmy for his work), Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass, the show is one of the most original dramedies in years. Last season’s soundtrack included the likes of Joni Mitchell, Sia, Alabama Shakes, FKA Twigs and Nina Simone; Season Three delivers the same unique mix of current artists and well-placed classics, including tracks from T. Rex, Dustin O’Halloran and the incredible Nina Simone. YASSSSS.
2. Scream Queens
If you haven’t jumped on the Scream Queens bandwagon yet, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. The horror/comedy/drama/masterpiece from American Horror Story and Glee maestro Ryan Murphy is back for a much-anticipated second season. This time around, the Chanels (Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Princess Leia’s daughter, Billie Lourd) are working in a mental institution and will face off against their old nemesis, Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis). The dark comedy is brilliantly offset with tracks from TLC, Backstreet Boys, Culture Club, Heart, Wham!, and Charlie XCX.
3. The Get Down
Do yourself a favour and start watching this Netflix gem. Out of the brilliant mind of Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!) comes this musical drama about the lives of a group of teens growing up in the South Bronx during the rise of hip-hop in the 1970s. With names like Grandmaster Flash and Nas involved in the project, you know this is a good one (plus Jaden Smith is in it!). The first six episodes—with more to come in 2017—have featured tracks from The Trammps, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donna Summer, The Spinners, Aretha Franklin, The Commodores, Gloria Gaynor, Marvin Gaye, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, The Temptations, The Rolling Stones, Quincy Jones, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae, Jackson 5 and James Brown…shall we go on?
Never seen the 1996 movie? No worries. Even though the show shares a name and some Coen Brothers affiliation—they serve as executive producers on the show—Fargo is its own strange beast. As an anthology series, it mixes up its timeframe, cast, characters and soundtrack with each new season, making it very easy to start watching and catch up with the rest later. With Season Three slated to be released in the spring of 2017 (and include Ewan McGregor!!), digging into the #TBT tunes featured in the ’70s-tastic S2 will give an idea of the show’s eclectic vibe: Fleetwood Mac, Fats Domino, Pink Floyd, Blitzen Trapper, Shakey Graves, Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath.
If you’re as into this cheesy, bloody, campy, horror show as I am, then you’re probably also dying to know what’s going to happen when the latest episode gets released on Netflix next month. WHAT THE HECK KIERAN?!?! Keeping with the Scream franchise’s love for plot twists, and dragging out a good gory scene, it’s safe to say the Halloween episode will be the best one yet. To keep you busy while you (anxiously) wait for October, check out some of the artists whose songs have been featured this season (so far): The Beaches, Bishop Briggs, July Talk, Wildes, Icona Pop and Scream Queens star Keke Palmer.
6. American Horror Story
While the last installment of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s horror drama extraordinaire received mixed reviews from critics, no one can deny its fiercely loyal fans—or fiercely fabulous soundtrack. Last season featured tracks from The Eagles, Bryan Ferry, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Mazzy Star and the 6 King himself, Drake. This season promises to stick to the trend of picking killer (LOL) tunes, if their premiere—featuring tracks from Lady Gaga and Kali Uchis—is anything to go on.
After a crazy second season, the Netflix fan favourite has been renewed for a third, set to premiere in 2017. Not only praised for its fab performances by Linda Cardellini, Kyle Chandler, John Leguizamo and Sissy Spacek, Bloodline‘s v. dark soundtrack proves just as appealing as its cast. Last season featured songs from Rollins Band, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed and Simeon Myers.
If you’re new to the Empire, here’s what you need to know pre-Netflix binge: Lee Daniels is basically Midas (aka everything he touches turns to gold), the cast will legit blow your socks off (if you’re wearing any) and also have you seen Jussie Smollett???? Flawless. As if you need another reason to start a-watchin’, here are some of the killer artists featured in the soundtrack last season: Ty Dolla $ign, The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams, Owen Chaim, Jhene Aiko, Future, Kaleo, Run The Jewels, Sage the Gemini and Janet Jackson. With Season Three upon us, we can’t wait to see what tunes Empire has in store for us.
Of course we need to mention our September cover star Priyanka Chopra’s rad series! Quantico has become an unexpected fan favourite, scoring an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only is the cast amaze (um, if Aunjanue Ellis is in it, we are watching it), the soundtrack is just as fire. Last season, tracks from Cold War Kids, Tove Lo, Kelly Rowland, Beck, Florence + The Machine, Feist and Ray Lamontagne were featured. It can only get better!
10. Stranger Things
C’mon, you know we HAD to include this one! Stranger Things has taken the internet by storm and we LOVE IT. While there are a billion cool aspects to this show (the clothes, the hair, the kids, THE CARS, Winona), we want to shine a light on the soundtrack. Unlike the previous shows mentioned, Stranger Things only features a score by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon of the electronic band Survive, who totally nailed the whole ’80s synthwave vibe. In fact, audiences loved the soundtrack so much that the creators of the show have released the soundtrack on CD, and are set to release it on vinyl as well—get on it.