has done it again. The producer who introduced Death Cab for Cutie to millions of 16-year-olds via The O.C.
is still out there sewing the seeds of musical variety through his CW hit Gossip Girl
. Thanks to his many projects like Chuck
Schwartz has effectively transformed himself into the musical tastemaker of a generation. From Rihanna to Elliot Smith, Kings of Leon to Siouxsie and the Banshees, there seems little rhyme or reason to his picks, except how well they fit his grand cinematic moments.
And there are many such Victor Fleming-esque moments. Despite its fluff, Gossip Girl
has all the trappings of a classic. There's a reason references to
Shakespeare, Edith Wharton and Jane Austin pop up constantly; the
Chuck-Blair-Dan-Serena-Nate plotlines go way back. Take this one: boy
is socially inferior to girl and works his way to the top for her
attention. Thank you, Mr. Dickens. Or how about this one: tortured
narcissist falls for free spirit, but she wants to play it safe with
the neighbor-boy next door. A nod to Ms. Bronte. This is the
class-embroiled stuff the greats are made of, and though GG's brand of social commentary might be more suited to The View than New York Times, it
makes for a damn fine soap. With maestro Schwartz at the helm, we're
sure to get a symphony that befits such an epic. In honor of the spin-off pilot, "Valley Girls" airing tonight, and the upcoming GG finale, here are some of the musical moments from the Upper East Side that sweep us off our feet.
1. Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Folks" in Pilot
Opening shots of NYC (Statue of Liberty, street signs, Central Park), but instead of the Rembrandts or Gary Portnoy, we have Peter Bjorn and John's intro to "Young Folks." Schwartz snags us with his impeccable taste, then cuts to a shot of Serena, who snags us with her impeccable eyeliner.
2. The Constance Billard Choir's "Glamorous" cover in "Poison Ivy"
Fergie's "G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S" is spripped of its pomp by this a-cappella choir of skinny school girls.
3. MIKA's "Happy Ending" in "The Handmaiden's Tale"
Nate's mother discovers his dad's cocaine. Dan and Vanessa eat pierogi.
4. The Soho Dolls' "Stripper" in "Victor/Victrola"
Blair does some dirty dancing.
4. Elliot Smith's "Whatever" in "Victor/Victrola"
Roses and candles; Dan and Serena attempt to get in on Marvin Gaye-style and, um, don't. But what says graceful failure more than a little Elliot Smith?5. Band of Horses' "The General Specific" in "Roman Holiday"
6. Death Cab for Cutie's "The Ice is Getting Thinner" on "Much 'I Do' About Nothing"
Gibbard's elongated vowels are the perfect lament to Dan and Serena's break up and Chuck's lovelorn toast to Blair.
7. Manchester Orchestra's "I Can Feel a Hot One" on "The Dark Knight"
Dan and Serena break up again, this time in an elevator. Chuck finds Blair in the dark with a single candle. She blows it out and Manchester Orchestra takes over the Cupid-and-Psyche moment.
8. Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" on "Bonfire of the Vanity"
Serena scampers about in Central Park in her slip. Say what you will about Kings of Leon, they are a frolicking-in-the-park-in-your-slip kind of band.
9. MGMT's "Kids" on "The Grandfather"
Nate tries to reconcile with his family and plays football. Vanessa realizes she'll never blend into the Hamptons lifestyle.