A curated list of Michelle’s favorite music moments in television this year.
1. Black Mirror: San Junipero
Scene: The final scene when Kelly and Yorkie are reunited in San Junipero
Song: “Heaven Is a Place on Earth”-Belinda Carlisle
I’ve talked enough about this episode in my other posts, so let me just say that I cannot get over this scene. I think about it constantly and it has directly affected my relationships with people, because I’m blown away by how beautiful this segment is. There could not be a more perfect song to encapsulate the beauty behind this episode than Belinda Carlisle’s 1987 hit “Heaven Is a Place On Earth.” Initially when you read that, you’ll dismiss it as cheesy pop, but I promise you after watching this episode in full and witnessing this scene, you’ll never hear the song the same way.
2. Halt and Catch Fire: “NIM”
Scene: Joe and Cameron attend the Atari Party at COMDEX 1990
Song: “Velouria”- Pixies
Ugh, this scene. I love this scene so much. After a four year time jump, we end up at the 1990 COMDEX to find Cameron promoting her new successful video game. Joe stops by her booth, and the irresistible chemistry between the two leads them into a hangout, where they wind up at the Atari party. Here’s where music supervisor Thomas Golubic works his magic and perfectly selects “Velouria” by Pixies as the sound the two dance to. It’s not a title you might recognize compared to their more popular songs such as “Gigantic” or “Here Comes Your Man,” but in Halt and Catch Fire it’s obscurity does wonders for the scene. Cameron and Joe are dancing around as the camera follows their moves. They’re intensely staring into each other’s eyes and you can feel the pure love they have for one another reigniting. “Velouria” is a love song and it serves as a narration to the three seasons of Cameron/Joe and the scene of them growing closer after more than four years apart. There’s maturity in both of them, understanding of one another, security and comfort, and above all else, love. “My Velouria, my Velouria. Even I’ll adore you, my Velouria…Say to me, where have you been?” are the lyrics that feel like they were written just for Cameron and Joe after everything they have been through together.
3. Mr. Robot: “eps2.6_succesor.p12”
Scene: Angela performs karaoke at a bar while Darlene and fsociety manage a crisis
Song: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”- Tears for Fears
Vulnerability is at the core of this scene. Portia Doubleday’s performance as Angela during this scene is emotionally draining and precisely heartbreaking. There’s the direct parallelism of her emotions to the chaos and crisis Darlene is trying to manage over at Susan Jacobs’ smart house. As Angela’s voice breaks in the stripped down karaoke version of the Tears for Fears hit, you can feel the imminent and dark nature of the situation the characters are in. The psychological manipulation and violation Mr. Robot is responsible for in every episode is existent within this scene, and you can’t help but feel a great deal of anxiety through it.
4. Girls: “The Panic in Central Park”
Scene: Marnie and Charlie’s dinner
Song: “Tied Up”-Casey Veggies/Dej Loaf
My heart filled up with so much love when I watched this scene for the first time. After hustling a gentleman for money pretending to be an escort, Marnie takes the money and takes Charlie to dinner at an Italian restaurant. While “Tied Up” by Casey Veggies and Dej Loaf plays over the scene of Marnie and Charlie eating plates of food and enjoying themselves, the radiance of Christopher Abbott and Allison Williams genuinely having fun blares through your screen. After indulging in good food, the two get up and start dancing as customers continue to dine. It’s a romantic moment and one that feels very secure. For a moment you forget that it’s been almost three years since they’d last seen each other, that Charlie abandoned Marnie, that Marnie is now married to another man, and all of the distance that has formed between them. You’re just there as a spectator watching two people who once loved each other very much, have fun and find the comfort in the familiarity of this event. I love that the lyrics somewhat direct the scene and adds a new school flavor to a standard scene when two people reunite after a duration of time apart. “It’s whatever you want, whatever you like. It’s not a problem at all, whatever you like” are the lyrics of the hook that can be heard multiple times throughout the scene and it really brings an element to the scene. This is their moment to do whatever they want, whatever they like, and they both chose to do that with each other.
5. Insecure: “Insecure As Fuck”
Scene: Issa is convinced by Daniel to perform at the open mic
Song: ”Broken Pussy”-Issa Rae
Issa Rae is a badass and this scene is hard evidence of that. Reuniting with her ex, Daniel, while trying to cheer up Molly at the club, Issa is convinced to hit the stage for open mic. The only introduction to Issa’s rapping abilities is when she’s giving herself a pep talk in her mirror, so it’s a bit nerve wracking at first to see her get on stage, and slowly start her freestyle. But have no fear, Issa kills it by spitting about “Broken Pussy” which is a play on a conversation she had with Molly earlier in the day. As the rap progresses, you see the comfortability and confidence flow out of Issa’s performance. Plus, “Broken Pussy” is really fucking catchy.
6. Vinyl: “Yesterday Once More”
Scene: Devon is daydreaming while remembering her past before marriage and having kids
Song: “Yesterday Once More” -Aimee Mann (The Carpenters cover)
Of all of the representations of famous, iconic performers in Vinyl, my favorite is the brief, casual introduction of Karen Carpenter. As Olivia Wilde’s character, Devon, is driving away from a restaurant in a memory induced daydream, she is joined by Karen Carpenter singing “Yesterday Once More.” The actress portraying Carpenter looks strikingly like the late singer, and the almost identical production of the cover by Aimee Mann makes you feel like the real Carpenter is there. A beautiful scene inside of Devon’s car with the sunlight creating a warm light on Carpenter’s face, you can’t help but get lost in the daydream with the two. However, this abruptly ends when Devon is reminded of the fact that she just left her children at the restaurant and she immediately races back to pick them up. After a season of few quality moments, this is the one that stands out most to me.
7. Game of Thrones: “The Winds of Winter”
Scene: Cersei orchestrates The Great Sept wildfire explosion
Song: “Light of the Seven”-Ramin Djawadi
“Light of the Seven” is my favorite composition by Ramin Djawadi ever. I had chills during this scene with every note of this ten minute long masterpiece. It conceives the emotions of the characters involved and it sends the audience on a journey through the grand event that is set to take place. This song is both eerie and romantic and will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up from anticipation. I’m a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and I really love caffeine so I know how to manage an increase in heart rate, but this song matched with the visuals sent me into a frenzy of anxiety and excitement. Just take a moment to listen to the song without the accompanied scene, and take in its excellence.