The second Alex Greenwald’s angsty voice joins forces with the catchy chords of Phantom Planet’s “California,” you may sense The O.C.‘s soundtrack goes to be particular. The tune, which went on to accompany the 2003 drama’s opening credit, first performs a couple of minutes into the pilot, setting the tone for the most effective TV reveals to ever occur to music.
Over the course of its 4 seasons, The O.C. curated a soundtrack that masterfully emphasised character feelings, gave rise to influential popular culture moments, and immortalized a era of indie bands. From repeatedly namedropping Dying Cab for Cutie and reigniting a love of combine tapes to reserving dwell concert events on the The Bait Store and being so obsessive about Imogen Heap that Saturday Evening Stay needed to chime in, the sequence harnessed the facility of music in methods no present had earlier than.
Practically 20 years later, The O.C. soundtrack stays in a category all its personal. So to rejoice August 5, the anniversary of the present’s premiere, we regarded again on the songs that began all of it. From mainstream 2000s hits by The All-American Rejects and Black Eyed Peas to underrated gems by Mazzy Star and Joseph Arthur, listed below are 11 of The O.C. pilot’s good music moments.
“California” (Tchad Blake Remix) – Phantom Planet
Ah, identical to Phantom Planet we’re proper again the place we began from. As famous above, The O.C. pilot units the soundtrack requirements with the 2002 tune “California.” It begins to swell after Ryan (Ben McKenzie) will get punched by his mom’s boyfriend and kicked out of the home, rides away on his bike, posts up at a payphone, and calls everybody he is aware of to discover a place to crash. Out of choices, he reaches out to his trusty lawyer Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher), who picks him up and takes him residence for the weekend. Because the Cali anthem blares, we see Ryan stare pensively out the passenger window. Photographs of waves, seashores, and opening credit carry the automotive to a gated group, which Sandy enters earlier than driving as much as his attractive mansion.
The tune is a quintessential embodiment of The O.C.‘s complete vibe. It concurrently invigorates and strikes folks. It will get you excited and nostalgic. And when laid over a montage of present clips and photographs of the sunny state, it packs an ideal punch. Little doubt about it, “California” is without doubt one of the biggest theme songs in TV historical past.
“Present Me” – Cham Ache
When Sandy goes inside to fill Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) in on their new home visitor, Ryan heads to the top of the driveway to smoke and has a meet cute with the Cohen’s neighbor, Marissa (Mischa Barton), who’s ready on the finish of her driveway. This scene births one in every of The O.C.‘s most memorable exchanges. Marisa asks Ryan, “Who’re you?” Cigarette in mouth, he replies, “Whoever you need me to be.” SWOON! After cigarettes and small speak, Marissa’s preppy jock boyfriend Luke (Chris Carmack) rolls up in a menacingly massive black truck. It’s onerous to listen to what he’s blasting, however the fan consensus appears to be Cham Ache’s “Present Me,” an ideal monitor to tank the flirtatious temper and let everybody know he’s a troublesome man.
“Candy Honey” – Barely Stoopid
The following morning Ryan and Seth (Adam Brody) have their meet cute. The 2 hit it off inside minutes and after a online game sesh Seth takes Ryan out crusing on his boat, “Summer season Breeze.” As Barely Stoopid’s 2003 tune “Candy Honey” performs and serotonin ranges skyrocket, Seth shares his dream of crusing to Tahiti and his huge crush on one of the vital well-liked ladies in class, Summer season Roberts (Rachel Bilson). The monitor’s upbeat reggae vibes paint a peaceable model of California — the calm earlier than the chaos — and symbolize the protected, sturdy basis of Ryan and Seth’s brotherhood.
“All Across the World” (Punk Debutante) – Cooler Youngsters
Our subsequent vigorous music second takes place on the charity vogue present Marissa invited Ryan to the night time they met. Upon getting into the flamboyant soirée, Seth says, “Welcome to the darkish aspect.” Thus begins one in every of many nights spent reluctantly schmoozing at an O.C. occasion. When everybody takes their seats and the sunshine dim, Marissa thanks them for coming and the music begins. Summer season struts her stuff in a costume that screams 13 Going On 30, she later meets Marissa within the lavatory the place they secretly down some alcohol, then Marissa takes the stage trying radiant as ever and flashes Ryan a smile (a lot to Luke’s dismay). All of the whereas, “All Round The World” is thumping within the background, giving large 2003/Lizzie McGuire Film power. The tune serves as a enjoyable, delightfully misleading shroud for the slew of private issues these characters are conserving secret.
“Swing, Swing” – The All-American Rejects
The video above packs three pilot music moments into one. The primary contains a monitor from All-American Rejects, as a result of what would a teen present within the 2000s be and not using a little AAR? As Ryan and Seth are about to go residence from the style present, Summer season invitations Ryan to an afterparty at Holly’s seashore home. The boys resolve to test it out (in hopes of getting some high quality time with Marissa and Summer season) and the band’s breezy 2002 heartbreak monitor, “Swing, Swing,” performs as they hop behind Summer season’s experience. The tune lets viewers know these guys are versatile! They float! They swing, swing, rattling it! And likewise, they’re about to have their hearts crushed by love.
“Fingers Up” – Black Eyed Peas
As soon as they arrive on the celebration, “Fingers Up,” the primary monitor off of Black Eyed Peas’ 2003 album Elephunk, units the scene and the musical period. Ryan and Seth survey the room, clocking medicine, make-out classes, ingesting, and extra Orange County drama ready to occur. As a callback to Seth’s vogue present quote, Ryan turns to him and says, “Welcome to the darkish aspect,” earlier than the night time actually begins. We see Marissa sneaking further booze into her cup, Summer season drooling over Ryan, and Luke about to cheat. The celebration is a recipe for catastrophe, one solely emphasised by this dramatic, horn-heavy banger.
“I am A Participant” – The Okay.G.B.
Subsequent up? Marissa and Ryan lastly steal some alone time. As The Okay.G.B.’s 2001 monitor “I’m A Participant” blasts within the background, Marissa asks Ryan what he thinks of Newport and he responds, “I believe I can get in much less bother the place I’m from.” The frisky tune units the temper, and flirts and questionable life decisions begin flying. Seth’s ingesting beer whereas a wasted Summer season hits on Ryan. After seeing them collectively, Seth assumes the worst and tells Ryan off in entrance of the entire celebration. They begin preventing and Seth screams, “Why don’t you simply return to Chino? I’m certain there’s a very nice automotive you might steal.” This prompts one in every of Summer season’s most well-known strains — “Chino? Ew!” — and turns all eyes on Ryan. A scandalous tune for a scandalous second.
“Let It Roll” – Most Roach
After his struggle with Ryan, Seth wanders the seashore alone and a bunch of fellows begin roughing him up. Ryan runs to the rescue and when Luke asks him if he has an issue, Ryan boldly replies, “You inform me.” The group begins throwing punches as this adrenaline-pumping tune will get louder. It’s one in every of many struggle scenes within the present, however it’s particularly important as a result of it ends with Luke saying the sequence’ most iconic line: “Welcome to the OC, bitch.”
“Into Mud” – Mazzy Star
After three high-energy celebration songs the present transitions to one in every of its greatest tear-jerkers, a 1993 throwback from Mazzy Star. When Marissa’s mates depart her mendacity unconscious in her driveway, Ryan goes over to attempt to discover her keys and produce her inside. The sluggish, foreboding monitor first performs as he carries her to the pool home and gently tucks her into mattress, then once more in Season 1, Episode 7, “The Escape,” when Ryan finds Marissa handed out in an alley in Tijuana and carries her identical to he did within the pilot. The solemn tune is without doubt one of the most memorable songs related to the couple, and a crushing cowl by Ashtar Command seems on the finish of Season 4, Episode 6 “The Chrismukk-huh?” when Ryan reads a letter from Marissa and says goodbye.
“Honey and the Moon” – Joseph Arthur
Each time I consider The O.C.‘s soundtrack, Joseph Arthur’s 2002 single “Honey and the Moon” — a tune that was within the script earlier than the ending was even written — is without doubt one of the first songs to spring to thoughts. Kirsten asks Sandy to take Ryan again residence to his mother after studying he and Seth received drunk and had been in a struggle, so earlier than the pilot ends, we watch Ryan depart the Cohens’ home behind. Because the guitar performs, we see Ryan face (black eye and all) staring in deep contemplation out Sandy’s passenger window but once more. The automotive backs down driveway, revealing Marissa, who’s standing on the finish of her driveway watching them drive away. Ryan stares at her, a darkish determine backlit by a burning sundown, and he or she stares again. We see his bike protruding of trunk because the automotive strikes ahead, and Ryan turns round to catch one final glimpse of Marissa by means of the rear window.
Arthur’s fragile voice says all that must be communicated on this dialogue-free scene. The lyrics and power completely seize the advanced relationship these two broken souls type on the present, and it marks one of many present’s most iconic music moments. We see a last shot of Marissa standing drenched in orange, sun-flared mild earlier than Luke’s truck pulls up and Ryan and Sandy make their option to Chino. Although a part of me needs they introduced “Honey and the Moon” again for this finale scene, I like considering the tune couldn’t exist in Marissa’s absence.
Finish Credit – Christopher Tyng
Whereas The O.C.‘s soundtrack was legendary, the present’s splendid rating additionally helped the present depart an enduring impression. From stirring finish credit score songs to dozens of suspenseful, inquisitive, transitionary tracks over time, composer Christopher Tyng made music magic on the sequence from 2003 to 2005. After Tyng, composer Richard Marvin took over for the ultimate two seasons.