Have you ever been watching the end of a Vampire Diaries and wondered why you were weeping? Or been humming a random Springsteen song all week before you remember it was featured in Glee? Well, friend, you are not alone. We here at EW have been keeping our eyes and ears open in search of the best music appearing on the small screen this fall season. From that tireless search was born the TV Jukebox. Since the premieres began rolling in, we’ve found songs from perennial earworm provider Grey’s Anatomy, some danceable goodness from Glee and How I Met Your Mother, a surprise entry from still wet-behind-the-ears sitcom Free Agents, and more. Check out our picks below!
The song: “It’s Not Unusual,” originally by Tom Jones
The hook: Golden-voiced boy Darren Criss tore it up to the Welsh crooner’s signature tune. (Who doesn’t love this song?) In an otherwise lackluster evening, Criss totally owned this effervescent number — as was only right for someone wearing super-tight red pants.
Watch it! Unfortunately, Glee‘s season premiere won’t come online until Sept. 28, but you can Carlton Dance to your heart’s content while you wait!
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
The song: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “Atlas Hands”
The hook: Grey’s has made an art of capturing weepy lightning in a montage-alicious bottle, and they’ve made no exception with this strumming anti-paean. As Leftwich’s sigh-sings, both of the show’s power couples faced loss: Meredith and Derek with baby Zola, and Yang and Owen their unborn child, which Yang tearfully decided she was going to abort.
Watch it! Things get sob-eriffic around 33:30 on Grey’s Hulu page.
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
The song: Deee Lite, “Groove Is in the Heart”
The hook: Though an out-of-town wedding and new dad-to-be Marshall’s pre-fatherhood freak-out held it down on the story front, Barney and Robin stole the show — and confirmed their undeniable chemistry (good call, Lily!) — with a sassy tango to the 1990 club anthem. Hip action from NPH and dip action from Cobie Smulders. Who needs more?
Watch it! The hitch kicks begin at 13:05 on CBS.com.
The song: Angus and Julia Stone, “For You”
The hook: Setting the mood for a season of intrigue in the pursuit of, yes, revenge, the Aussie brother-sister duo’s song makes for a contemplative mood as Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) stands and plots silently on the beach under the wary watch of her nemesis Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe). What would otherwise be a song from the soundtrack of Garden State or The O.C. is made eerie, especially with Julia’s warbling lyrics, “Here I go, I’ll tell you what you already know…”
Watch it! Watch the scene, starting at 37:50, on Hulu.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
The song: Portugal. The Man, “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)”
The hook: Kevin Williamson’s show hit it out of the park with a heart-in-throat montage to Ron Pope’s “A Drop in the Ocean” during its third season premiere, but we’re awarding extra points for ambience this week, with the Portland-based psychedelic rock band’s tune playing in the background as Elena and Alaric took a surreal road trip into Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains to find werewolves.
Watch it! The episode isn’t available online yet, but you can hear the song here.
Breaking Bad (AMC)
The song: Thee Oh Sees, “Tidal Wave”
The hook: Music supervisor Thomas Golubic wows week in and out with his thought-provoking choices, so leave it to him to cast an Orange County garage band to underscore game-changing moment for Don Eladio’s Mexican meth cartel. The chilled-out surfer vibe provides a stark counterpoint to the dirty dealings (and soon to be mass death-by-poisoning) afoot. That Breaking Bad… always keeps us guessing.
The Secret Circle (The CW)
The song: The Kills, “DNA”
The hook: This witchy CW show found an appropriately badass song in the transatlantic band (also known as Mr. Kate Moss’s outfit). Just before bad girl Faye Chamberlain calls forth a thunderstorm, she struts down a pier to the growly thrum of “DNA,” which perfectly encapsulated Faye’s devilish plans and the show’s cool factor.
Watch it! Faye goes all Craft up in here at 31:05 on The Secret Circle‘s website.
Free Agents (NBC)
The song: The Black Keys, “Everlasting Light”
The hook: The show itself may have been only so-so, but the blue-rock outfit’s bass-heavy song (with lyrics including “I’m a shepherd for you / And I’ll guide you through”) was a spot-on thematic choice for a show about two people who are helping each other navigate their way through deaths, break-ups, new relationships, and all-around life transitions. In particular, hard-boiled Helen (Kathryn Hahn) coaches schmo Alex (Hank Azaria) through casual coworker sex while totally-not-judging check-out boy Marvin eavesdrops.
Watch it! Catch all the cringe-inducing goodness at 8:18 on Free Agents‘ Hulu page.
Were you as uplifted, brokenhearted, and/or inspired to take over the world by these songs as we were? What other musically influenced moments caught your attention this week? Share your picks in the comments!