Buffy the Vampire Slayer has the most amazing soundtrack. It shifts from 90s grunge to trip-hop to pop-rock without batting an eye. If you’re a Buffy fan, chances are you own all of the soundtracks (Radio Sunnydale’s my favourite), listen to songs on repeat, and know exactly which episode has which song in it. I’ve slogged and struggled and narrowed down my list of the most amazing songs to a mere ten, based on how much they rock and how important they are to the scene. I’ve know I’ve missed a load off and I keep thinking up others to include, but I had to stop somewhere!
In no particular order:
Ballad for Dead Friends by Dashboard Prophets
Episode: ‘The Pack’, Season 1 Episode 6
The main redeeming feature of this episode. The perfect song for a grungy karaoke session. Actually makes Xander seem cool, which is a pretty big feat (apologies to Xander fans).
Stupid Thing by Nickel
Episode: ‘School Hard’, Season 2 Episode 3
Spike is stalking Buffy on the Bronze dance floor. She’s dancing with the Scoobies and Spike’s interest in Buffy is clear, setting up their relationship 4 series’ later.
Sugar Water by Cibo Matto
Episode: ‘When She Was Bad’, Season 2 Episode 1
Buffy deals with trauma in her own way. This time it involves grinding on Xander. I dare you not to sing along to the chorus.
Transylvanian Concubine by Rasputina
Episode: ‘Surprise’, Season 2 Episode 13
The perfect marriage of song and character, and Drusilla looks particularly amazing in red.
Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch
Episode: ‘Tabula Rasa’, Season 6 Episode 8
This musical moment really moves the plot along. Not only do we have Tara leaving Willow, Giles returns home to England and Buffy and Spike have an epic snogging session in The Bronze like lusty teenagers.
Giles’ Exposition Song
Episode: ‘Restless’, Season 4 Episode 22
As the title implies, this is entirely exposition-focused. I love it because:
1. The chorus is pretty epic
2. Buffy’s main composer Christophe Beck is visible playing the piano – he’s pretty prolific in the soundtrack scene. For context, he’s worked on Frozen, The Hangover and Hot Tub Time Machine. Quite the CV.
3. Anthony. Stewart. Head.
Blue by Angie Hart
Episode: ‘Conversations with Dead People’, Season 7 Episode 7
This appears twice in the episode – once at the start and once at the end – and it really brings the whole episode together. Lots of plot points are revealed during this episode, so it’s great to have some continuity to show the devastating impact of The First’s big reveal, and the song’s mellow mood acts as a great counterpoint to particular brutality (*sob* Jonathan’s murder).
Sacrifice by Christophe Beck
Episode: ‘The Gift’, Season 5 Episode 22
Piano often makes me cry. Using this music alongside footage of Buffy’s sacrifice at the end of series 5 just breaks me every time.
Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns
Episode: ‘Hush’, Season 4 Episode 10
As this is an almost entirely speechless episode, the music becomes very important to inform the tone. Accompanying Giles’ terribly-drawn slide projector presentation of The Gentleman, Danse Macabre adds an air of the creepy and the hilarious to a scene that could be quite sombre in anyone else’s hands but Joss Whedon’s.
Rest in Peace
Episode: ‘Once More with Feeling’, Season 6 Episode 7
Once More with Feeling contains a plethora of brilliant songs, and Dawn’s Lament. Rest in Peace is my personal fave, and not just because of the mad Spike crush I had as a teenager (who am I kidding? I still love Spike). It’s a rock ballad and James Marsters can truly sing – in an American accent, clashing a bit with usual British Spike – but it’s still an awesome song.
Let us know your favourites in the comments!