10 Songs that Make Me Want to Binge Watch Grey’s Anatomy

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


3 Doors Down – Here Without You (2002)

When this song dropped the year I boarded the big yellow bus to the big yellow school for my first and only year of public elementary school (I homeschooled for the remainder of it and jumped back in the pool in 7th grade), I had no idea it even existed. Little did I know that it would one day echo the sentiments that have shacked up with my heart in my long-distance lovesick chest. This song is borderline cheesy but it still manages to punch me right in the feelz every time I set it on loop.

This is a hug-o-gram for anyone who has a person-shaped void at their side 97% of the time. It’s the kind of song you put on when it’s just you, a unicorn onesie, Nick Sparks flicks, and your furry non-human companion of choice (and, of course, a pint of fresh gelato, fruit of your own tears and stone-cold loneliness). I will admit that every time the chorus is capped off with “and tonight girl, it’s only you and me” I melt a teensy bit. When I’m missing that super special someone, there’s something about this track that burns the distance at both ends and makes me feel just a little bit closer to him.

This song is like Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage, taking me to a world where there’s not a soul in sight but me and my man. As the clock clangs midnight and the guitar strikes its final chord, I’m bereft for the two and a half seconds it takes for me to hit up the replay button for the 22nd time in a row. I have no shame. I love this track.

Sara Bareilles – Little Voice (2007)

You haven’t known me very long—or maybe at all if you’re a total newbie. Either way, welcome! Being that we are newly acquainted, you are probably unaware of my borderline unhealthy attachment to Piano Pop. Piano Pop is at the top of my list of musical fixes, and has been since I was around 12, possibly even before then. Piano just makes my ears happy, as do heartfelt, thoughtful lyrics, words so deep that they give the Pacific Ocean a run for its money and lines that make me feel something.

The first keys-driven compilation that stole my heart from the first track to the last was singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles’ 2007 debut Little Voice. Since I discovered it in 2009, I haven’t been able to go more than, say, two weeks, without revisiting at least one of the songs on it. And even that dons the Potato Chip Principle—one leads to another and pretty soon I’ve listened to a solid three-fourths of the album in one sitting.

Little Voice opens with one of my favorite songs on the album of all time; the foot-in-the-door hit that jumpstarted her successful career: “Love Song.” Her piano chops shine through as she knocks out a distinct chord progression that makes the track strong right from the first note. This song is all about her telling it like it is when a gentleman caller pressures her to write a love song just for him without letting it spring straight from her heart. Any artist will tell you that forcing creativity is like trying to force a maple tree to put out gallons of quality sap in ten seconds flat. She hits the nail on the head here–it just doesn’t work.

Other numbers that tickled my fancy are “Bottle It Up,” “One Sweet Love,” “Between the Lines,” “City,” “Love on the Rocks,” “Come Round Soon,” and “Gravity.” Bareilles’ piano game is solid for every single track, but her lyric skills stand up to her knack for her instrument of choice. Bareilles’ sweet, versatile vocals serve her well on her subtly (or, in some cases, overtly) feisty zingers like “oh, but sensible selves, could you kindly shut up?” in “Bottle It Up” and the Snow White ref, “’Cause what else would you do with seven itty bitty men?” in “Fairytale.” Her raw, needing truth bleeds through “City” when she frankly pleads, “I’m finding every reason to be gone, there’s nothing here to hold onto–could I hold you?

I love almost every solitary second of Little Voice, but I’m a smidge less enamored of “Many the Miles” or “Morningside.” I feel like “Many the Miles” toes the line of cheesiness. Even so, I appreciate the soulful, almost gospel-esque side that Bareilles spotlights in it. It lurks in the background on just about every piece on the disc, but it comes on full force in “Many the Miles.” As for “Morningside,” there’s no denying that it’s a sound ditty lyrically. I just can’t get into the bongos and don’t feel like it’s quite as strong as its siblings on the record. But make no mistake—this isn’t the runt of the pack. It’s still a stout piece in its own right.

All in all, Little Voice, is a well-balanced mix of beautiful vulnerability, unmistakable confidence, and the palpable fun, hard work, and soul she poured into this album. While Bareilles has honed her distinct sound and grown and matured her style, as artists are wont to do, her fresh-meat album still holds its own among the EPs and full-length albums that have followed.

Sara Bareilles’ most recent accomplishment was penning the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Waitress. She released a compilation of it with none other than master songstress herself on vocals, and the album changed my long-held belief that musicals can’t have tolerable music, let alone phenomenal gems that I would listen to on a regular basis (the “Lonely Goatherd” cringer from The Sound of Music might have played a major part in that). I can’t help but wonder how her next album will rock my world. Maybe she’ll make me finally warm up to new-age country?

Die Alone (2007)/Hell No (2016)

Ingrid Michaelson’s “Die Alone” was the track that sowed the seeds for a blazing love of Indie in me. I discovered this gem a few years after the album from which it hailed, Girls and Boys, dropped. But it was new to me, and it kick-started my weakness for any and every smither of sound that would fit right in on Grey’s Anatomy (to this day, I’ve never seen so much as one episode of Grey’s, but what I do know is that their music choices are nearly always on point.)

I might have been several life stages behind the age threshold for personally relating to the lyrics of “Die Alone,” but it was undeniably well-written, well-instrumented, and in my humble but firmly held opinion, should have been well-known throughout the whole world. Michaelson’s one-of-a-kind voice and quirky, original lyrics struck a chord with me and played a part in shaping my eclectic music taste. With lines like “I’m just a stranger, even to myself/a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf,” the word nerd in me basked in the punch-packing lyricism. The genuine emotion that shone through and the unapologetic, real deal vibe of it all blew me away and has me fall in love with this song once more every time I put it on after going months without giving it a listen. It’s timeless.

When “Die Alone” had me craving more Ingrid goodness, I found myself plowing through her entire discog and digging just about every piece I could get my hands on. For a brief period, I was so inspired by her artistry that I grew dead set on one day becoming a singer, and practiced singing along to her most dynamic ditties, certain of my destiny for fame. This was short-lived, and I have since given up on this dream. I think I’ll stick to honing my writing voice. It’s much less likely to crack or give out and doesn’t require the gargantuan effort of getting over my general propensity towards stage fright.

Ingrid Michaelson has branched out from her independent beginnings and adopted a more “poppy” sound that maintains her authentic feel that strung together her earlier work. Her latest release, “Hell No,” is the go-to break-up theme you’ll have on full-blast as you delete all evidence that you and that blimp-headed, egoistic ex were ever a thing. This song is catchy as all get out and highly sing-alongable to boot. The sweet spot of this song hits right after the ambivalent “did we make a big mistake?” fades and IM boasts the titular “Hell no!” The quiet sass slays big and satisfies my soul on a deep level. Even though I just can’t get into the video (maybe because I don’t fully grasp the diversion of Snapchat?), her ability to remain true to herself is an asset I can stand behind. I have a hunch that this song could make any video shine. Even if she were to post a vid of her pet rock sleeping soundly, “Hell No” would still have me looping it on repeat with my gaze glued to the screen.

Ingrid Michaelson may no longer be independent, but make no mistake–this chick’s music is all her. And if you’re anything like me, you’re down for streaming all and any of her tracks, be them fresh out of the studio or dating back to her green years. Let’s face it, Michaelson is just one of those artists. Her music gets better and better with age.

The All-American Rejects: Gives You Hell (2008)

There’s something about this song that makes me want to shake a fist and cry “so there!” to that ex who always said I’d be a nothing. And that’s saying something, because I don’t have an ex—let alone a jerkish ex—to stick it to! It’s a fiery anthem, the kind that could start a riot of underdogs who have, by the power vested in this track, risen against their belittling former beaus and come out on top.

So what is this song about? The official vid chronicles two warring brothers: a clean cut corporate stuffed shirt with a white picket fence and quaint, plastic-y wife and a rough-and-tumble rock star who rises when the sun sets and lives it up with his bandmates. Pranks and shenanigans ensue: Rocker Brother riding a tractor through Perfect Brother’s yard and distracting him from a rousing game of Operation; Perfect Brother blinding  Rocker Brother while he’s catching Z’s midday; Rocker enlisting an army of megaphone-equipped loudmouths to disrupt Perf’s sound slumber and give him a taste of his own medicine. By the end of the clip, the two switch places for the night, with the fuddy-duddy letting loose and the wild child settling down.

But despite the funny-but-slightly-irrelevant video, this is clearly a jab at the writer’s sayounara’d sweetheart who had a chip on their shoulder. It’s a “look at me now, chickie,” a PG-rated “F-U” song. The best lyric is a sweetly delivered “Truth be told I miss you…” followed by a spiteful “and truth be told I’m lying!”

It’s been eight years since this gem first dropped, and eight years from now, it’s still going to be my go-to track for those days when I just want to rock out and show up that Doubting Thomas that I never dated but, you know, still dumped.

The Welcome Post

Howdy do, fellow nostalgists!

Maybe you were just lamenting lost love and shoveling in raw brownie dough to T-Swizzle’s Fearless. Or maybe you’ve had Avril’s angsty “Girlfriend” blaring through your head ever since you met that taken-but-oh-so-fine Pizza Delivery Guy. Or maybe you were inhaling the fumes of your last stashed bottle of J-Lo’s Glow in hopes of reviving a simpler time by way of smell.

Yeah, we’ve all been there. More times than we’d care to admit. Truth is, oldies are goodies, and there’s nothing more satisfying than ditching skinny jeans for Happy Bunny PJ pants, popping in your CD of choice from way back when, cranking the volume and letting the world melt away as you jam out.

There will always be a soft spot in my heart for the music of the aughts, both the hottest hits and the obscure gems of my younger years. Maybe hindsight is 20/20, but somehow, the music of back then—with some exceptions—just seems, well, better. There’s a fun vibe to it all that just can’t be replicated, back before Joe Jonas was writing songs about eating cake by the ocean and before Demi Lovato was penning summertime hits laced with little bits of innuendo. Yes, everyone grows up. That’s a fact of life. But I know I’m not the only one who misses Evanescence more than her first crush (Hey, he’s gay. So it’s not like we could have worked out. Like, ever.), who is crossing her fingers for an Every Avenue reunion (how did I only just discover them, by the way?).

So if you’re not ready to move along and life’s got you feeling dark blue, there’s no sense waiting on the world to change. I’ve got a cozy little cottage right on Memory Lane and I’m on the hunt for neighbors.

So welcome! Sit tight and buckle up as we travel back in time to my favorite era of music: 2000-2009.

This is my first post of many. As for the rest—it’s still unwritten. (Blatant music references end here)