I may have never witnessed more than a five minute snippet of the epicness that is Grey’s Anatomy, but over the years of rifling through YouTube in search of new Indie fixes and piano-driven goodness, I’ve noticed one thing about this reigning champ of television drama about which I am sorely underqualified to speak: their music game can only be matched by the Seraphim’s Soundtrack in the Great Upstairs.
So what inspired this post? As I was scrolling through Twitter the other day at an ungodly hour, I gathered that it was the end of another season of Grey’s, and felt it would only be fitting to dig up their old soundtracks and bring the top-notch goods back to light. Because this blog is centered on music from the ‘00s, I’m just going to cover the songs that made my ears happy before 2010. I may not know the scenes that bring these tracks to life (curse you overactive squeamishness!), but each of these songs played a part in shaping my musical affinities, and I’m thinking they might have at least done the same for you.
- Thirteen Senses: “Into the Fire” (2004)
I don’t know when I first heard this song, but I do know that I’ve been thoroughly enamored of it ever since. There’s something comforting about it that calms the torrents of my mind, like wrapping myself in my grandfather’s old checkered flannel. Just when I thought this song couldn’t get any better, I stumbled upon the acoustic version. The unwavering emotion and vulnerability that the group injected into the stripped-down redo stole my breath and halted my heartbeat for its duration. I was a ghost from the first second to the last of it, but fear not, I returned to my corporeal container after the final note died out with no permanent consequences.
- Michelle Branch: “Breathe” (2003)
In my tweenage years, I went through phases in which I became utterly obsessed with certain artists and hunted down every single, album, demo, and shaky, fan-recorded live performance they ever dropped into the interwebs as if no other music was in existence. Michelle Branch fell into that trap. “Breathe” was actually the hit that got me hooked on the popstar who later switched to country (not my favorite move of hers, but I forgive her). Branch had a knack for cranking out catchy numbers, even if almost everything she put forth into the world teetered towards cheesiness. This track is still solid, if a touch dated.
- The Fray: “How to Save a Life” (2005)
I didn’t realize this song is a part of the Grey’s tribe, but I definitely see where this heartstring strumming track fits into the mix. “How to Save a Life” has been a go-to for my late night battles with myself ever since this little ditty and I first became acquainted with one another. It’s a staple in my down-in-the-doldrums playlist. It’s not just for the helpers in a seemingly helpless situation. This song might not have saved my life singlehandedly, but it has made me think, and in so many moments, redirecting my train of thought and mixing up my perspective has made all the difference.
- Snow Patrol: “Chasing Cars” (2006)
Here’s another one that slipped my mind as a part of Grey’s Anatomy. This picture of perfection is one of my all-time favorite love songs. The lyrics are simple, but undeniably impactful and poetic. It just punches me square in the feels every time I set it on loop.
- Regina Spektor: “Fidelity” (2006)
I’ve never grown tired of Spektor’s original quirky style. She leaves her signature on every piece she’s ever put out—it goes outside the lines, and it’s more than a smidge loopy and unmistakably her. When one of her tracks comes on, even if I’ve never heard it before, I instantly know it’s a member of her brainclan. “Fidelity” is no exception. Ten years later, it’s still in my top 10 favorite Piano-Poppers.
- Ingrid Michaelson: “The Way I Am” (2006)
Much like Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson’s musical stylings are inherently quirky, but in their own little way. With lines like “I’ll buy you Rogaine/when you start losing all your hair,” this is not your run-of-the-mill romantic tune. But that’s part of the beauty of it—Michaelson is completely herself in this song, putting all her lovable strangeness onto the table, and this only strengthens the meaning of the song. A decade has ticked by, and I still see no flaws in this piece. Well, aside from the fact that it is far too good to be so short. I guess my mom was right—great things come in small packages.
- Erin McCarley: “Gotta Figure This Out” (2008)
“Gotta Figure This Out” is possibly the most gorgeous chunk of music ever to occupy my ears. Piano just slays me. Even if it’s just a basic chord progression, it rocks my world like no other instrument ever has or will. Layer on lyrics that will not let my imagination sit still that are relatable to boot and I’m just d-o-n-e done. The whole song is one quotable string of ingenious, but the snippet that really drives it home for me is, “I’ve never been so deep inside a shadow.” Powerful stuff.
- Ingrid Michaelson: “Turn to Stone” (2009)
“Turn to Stone” is perfectly matched to the previous gem with how it jabs at the soul with every line. This has the same stylistic voice driving it, but a different tone than “The Way I Am.” It just nods to Michaelson’s rare gift of using a broad scope of elements and emotions and flairs with the same one-of-a-kind direction as an artist. This song has sprung tears on me, out of the blue, on more than one occasion. It’s just so pure and so, so beautiful.
I may have never seen so much as a quarter of an episode of Grey’s, but if the show itself is half as on point as their musical selections, maybe I should take a watch, and just have my rainbow bear Pillow Pet at the ready to block the T.V. through the parts my waify self can’t handle.