'Girls' Fills An Indie Musical Void In Television

People love to hate the teenage dramas that ruled the early aughts, and while the melodrama and awe-inspiring fashion choices are dated in this HD age, the value of these shows today is a creditable necessity. One Tree Hill, The OC and even Gossip Girl paved the way as shows that had smaller budgets and relied on smaller bands to fill the pivotal moments in 44-minute features, acting now as exemplars for shows with audiences of all ages in how to use indie bands and diverse genre sets for television soundtracks.

Sufjan Stevens, Phantom Planet, Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World and hundreds of other artists got extreme and valuable exposure to hoards of young audiences who are now adults loving the same indie music.

Those series started petering off the air and there hasn't been much to take their place in musical selection. More and more comedies came to the surface during the transitional limbo - The Office and Parks and Recreation perfectly whetting our mockumentary, comedy appetites, but not providing natural space for memorable musical bites. The closest, equally influential show turned out to be How I Met Your Mother, which relied on the closing credits as valuable space for quirky, unknown music and gave rise to many songs, such as "Prophets" by A.C. Newman.

But even that's ended, so now, most of the shows with the best soundtracks are off the air with only one remaining to fill the space between How I Met Your Mother and teen angst.

Girls.

The HBO series helmed by Lena Dunham boasts a six year run, but will be airing the final episode this Sunday. Girls has racked up a hefty list of musical features and it's one of the cornerstones of the dry and witty comedy. Whether it's Hannah, Dunham's character, listening to Miley Cyrus or Lord Huron idealistically capping off an otherwise tumultuous (and hilarious) wedding episode, the diagetic and non-diagetic music that anchors the show is a quintessential blend of popular anthems, jazzy drawls, indie covers and originals.

The final season has been a whirlwind of emotions for viewers, and the tracks that are perfectly chosen to fit into each scene are one of the aspects that is most crushing regarding the show's impending end.

Choosing Rihanna to end a challenging and intense episode on the lines of sexual assault just to say "'We love Rihanna,'" and using Gregory Alan Isakov's Colorado Symphony Orchestra version of his emotional manifesto "Amsterdam" in the season opener are just two of the most memorable moments.

To perfectly honor a music-to-television relationship between Dunham and Robyn, the unreleased song "Honey" served as a background for the montage of clips from the film Adam (played by Adam Driver) made about his early series, on-and-off relationship with Hannah. The poppy and enthusiastic tune immediately made the ears of every fan perk up, hoping to find the untraceable track until Robyn provided answers.

Girls is the perfect example of an indie show with indie music, serving the dual purpose of bringing indie hits to the masses and pop hits to the indie crowd. The tunes chosen - almost always gracefully and dramatically figuring best into the first or last few minutes - make companions out of their scenes, daring any other song to try to make as natural a pairing.

We've chosen some of the best songs aired throughout the six-season run, which will surely be paramount in the finale this Sunday. Listen to our retrospective essentials playlist featuring some of the best songs featured in the show.


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