The 50 Best Musical Moments of The O.C.

TV Lists The O.C.
The 50 Best Musical Moments of The O.C.

In the mid-2000s, The O.C. became a treasure trove of indie music in an unexpected place: one of network television’s “Big Four” broadcasters. Through Fox’s sudsy teen drama, most specifically, the character of Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) and the series’ fictional music venue, The Bait Shop—bands like Death Cab For Cutie, Bright Eyes and Phantom Planet, which provided the unforgettable title track, attracted wide attention—including from audience members not previously tuned into the artists featured on the soundtrack. In honor of series’ incredible (and influential) music, here’s Paste’s list of The O.C.’s 50 Best Musical Moments, in chronological order. (Be sure to check out our list of the series’ 50 Best Moments and our ranking of all 92 episodes, too.)

1. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

Phantom Planet, “California”

2. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

Joseph Arthur, “Honey and the Moon”

3. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

Mazzy Star, “Into Dust”

4. “The Model Home” (Episode 1.02)

Doves, “Caught By the River”

5. “The Model Home” (Episode 1.02)

Jeff Buckley, “Hallelujah”

6. “The Gamble” (Episode 1.03)

Turin Brakes, “Rain City”

7. “The Heights” (Episode 1.09)

South, “Paint the Silence”

8. “The Secret” (Episode 1.12)

Jet, “Move On”

9. “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (Episode 1.13)

The Seth Cohen starter pack: “We got Death Cab. We got Bright Eyes. We got The Shins.”

10. “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (Episode 1.13)

Ron Sexsmith, “Maybe This Christmas”

11. “The Countdown” (Episode 1.14)

Finley Quaye, “Dice”

12. “The Third Wheel” (Episode 1.15)


13. “The Heartbreak” (Episode 1.19)

Super Furry Animals, “Hello Sunshine”

14. ”The Heartbreak” (Episode 1.19)

Ryan Adams, “Wonderwall”

15. “The Telenovela” (Episode 1.20)

Patrick Park, “Something Pretty”

16. “The Goodbye Girl” (Episode 1.21)

Nada Surf, “If You Leave”

17. “The L.A.” (Episode 1.22)

The Vines, “Ride”

18. “The Ties That Bind” (Episode 1.27)

Jem, “I’m Amazed”

19. “The Ties That Bind” (Episode 1.27)

Jeff Buckley, “Hallelujah”

20. “The Distance” (Episode 2.01)

21. “The New Kids on the Block” (Episode 2.03)

Rachel Yamagata, “Wore Me Down”

22. “The New Era” (Episode 2.04)

The Killers

23. “The Family Ties” (Episode 2.07)

Modest Mouse

24. “The Ex-Factor” (Episode 2.09)

The Thrills

25. “The Second Chance” (Episode 2.11)

Rachael Yamagata

26. “The Lonely Hearts Club” (Episode 2.12)

27. “The Rainy Day Women” (Episode 2.14)

Matt Pond PA, “Champagne Supernova”

28. “The O.C. Confidential” (Episode 2.20)

Death Cab For Cutie

29. “The O.Sea” (Episode 2.23)

Coldplay, “Fix You”

30. ”The Dearly Beloved” (Episode 2.24)

Imogen Heap, “Hide and Seek”

31. “The Aftermath” (Episode 3.01)

Bloc Party, “Bluest Light”

32. “The Last Waltz” (Episode 3.04)

Youth Group, “Forever Young”

33. “The Anger Management” (Episode 3.07)

The Subways

34. “The Anger Management” (Episode 3.07)

The Subways, “I Want To Hear What You’ve Got To Say”

35. “The Heavy Lifting” (Episode 3.15)

Sufjan Stevens, “For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti”

36. “The Road Warrior” (Episode 3.16)

Youth Group, “Forever Young”

37. “The Undertow” (Episode 3.18)

Bettie Serveert, “Lover I Don’t Have to Love”

38. “The Man of the Year” (Episode 3.24)

Bloc Party, “Pioneers”

39. “The Graduates” (Episode 3.25)

Imogen Heap, “Speeding Cars”

40. “The Graduates” (Episode 3.25)

Apogee, “Chapters”

41. “The Graduates” (Episode 3.25)

Imogen Heap, “Hallelujah”

42. “The Avengers” (Episode 4.01)

Placebo, “Running Up That Hill”

43. “The Avengers” (Episode 4.01)

Keane, “Bad Dream”

44. ”The Cold Turkey” (Episode 4.03)

Alexi Murdoch, “All My Days”

45. “The Metamorphosis” (Episode 4.04)

The Pogues, “Love You Till The End”

46. “The Chrismukk-huh?” (Episode 4.07)

Sia, “Paranoid Android”

47. “The French Connection” (Episode 4.10)

Coconut Records, “The West Coast”

48. “The Case of the Franks” (Episode 4.13)

Youth Group, “Start Tomorrow Today”

49. “The Case of the Franks” (Episode 4.13)

The Midway State, “Unaware”

50. “The End’s Not Near, It’s Here” (Episode 4.16)

Patrick Park, “Life’s a Song”

Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. His starter pack includes Death Cab, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, and a Captain Oats. You can follow find more of his writing at and follow him on Twitter.

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