With summer coming to a close, all you need is the right playlist to make the most of the last few weeks of hot nights and pool days! Check out these soundtracks from some of your favorite movies and TV shows that capture the endless summer vibes.
Gossip Girl (OG)
In my humble superfan opinion, Gossip Girl arguably has the most iconic television soundtrack of all time. The teen drama following Manhattan’s elite was known for airing 2000s hits and highlighting emerging artists from genres like hip hop, indie rock, and pop. There are certainly too many unforgettable musical moments throughout the series’ six seasons to name them all. However, a few of my personal favorites include The Kills’ “Sour Cherry,” Nadia Oh and Space Cowboy’s “Got Your Number,” The Virgins’ “Rich Girls,” Just Jack’s “Embers,” and The Bravery’s “Believe.”
500 Days of Summer
This 2009 film may follow a couple’s journey, but as the narrator warns in the beginning, it is not a love story. As a result, the soundtrack is full of the sounds of falling in and out of love. This includes plenty of broody end-of-summer (literally) tunes. Some of my personal favorites are Regina Spektor’s “Us,” The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”, Daryl Hall & John Oates’ “You Make My Dreams,” The Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition,” and Carla Bruni’s “Quelqu’un M’a Dit.”
Kings of Summer
This 2013 indie film follows three teenagers’ quest for independence as they leave their families behind for an adventure in the woods. Not only is it visually stunning, but the soundtrack highlights some of the best alternative music of the 2010s. Some of my personal favorites include MGMT’s underrated track “The Youth”, Youth Lagoon’s “17”, Fleet Foxes’ “Sim Sala Bim,” Mean Lady’s “Far Away,” and Beirut’s “Postcards From Italy.”
Come along with the Pogues on their search for treasure and fight against the Kooks. This East Coast summer series will give you the last bit of summer adventure to wrap up the season. Many fans describe the show as a TV-style Pinterest board. So, it’s chock full of great songs. Some of those include Skinshape’s
“Left with a Gun,” Leon Bridges’ “Texas Sun”, Sonny & The Sunsets’ “Too Young to Burn,” Cayucas’ “High School Lover”, Babe Rainbow “Johnny Says Stay Cool”, The Clash’s “Police On My Back”, Mattiel’s “Populonia”, The Flaming Lips’ “The W.A.N.D.,” and binki’s “Heybb!”.
This 2004 Zach Braff film uses music as a primary device for characterization, plot, and the budding romance between Braff and Natalie Portman, who portray the leads. As a result, the soundtrack is full of musical gems intertwined with meaning both from the film and in their own right. These include Thievery Corporation’s “Lebanese Blonde,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York,” Zero 7’s “In The Waiting Line,” The Shins’ “Caring Is Creepy.”
Dazed and Confused
This 90s flick set on the last day of high school in 1976 highlights some of the best music and style of the 70s. Some of the film’s best number’s include Aerosmith’s
“Sweet Emotion,” Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze”, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”, The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb,” War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” as well as their other hit “Low Rider.”
Sofia Coppola’s 2006 reimagining of the “Let them eat cake” monarch’s life mixes 80s punk with 2000s indies and candy-colored set to create an atmospheric and otherworldly viewing experience. Some standouts include Siouxsie and the Banshees’
“Hong Kong Garden,” the Strokes’ “What Ever Happened,” as well as Bow Wow Wow’s “Aphrodisiac,” and “I Want Candy.”
The west coast predecessor to Gossip Girl was also known for curating some of the best 2000s songs into its soundtrack, just like its East Coast unofficial sister show. The soundtrack is surprisingly not exclusively full of Sunny California sounds. Instead, it also chose to highlight the emerging indie rock scene of the early 2000s. Some of the show’s memorable tunes include Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” The Dandy Warhols “We Used To Be Friends,” Dido’s “White Flag,” Rooney’s “I’m Shakin’, “Cat Power’s “The Greatest,” Gorillaz’s “Kids with Guns,” Mazzy Star’s “Into Dust,” and Alexi Murdoch’s “Orange Sky.”
This 1995 cult classic starring Liv Tyler and Renée Zellweger may not be action-packed, but what it lacks in plot, the film makes up for in soundtrack. Since the film essentially just follows a group of record store workers on a day in their lives, it’s the perfect vibes for just hanging out with your friends and feeling the last moments of summer. The classic uses bops such as Gin Blossoms’ “Til I Hear It From You”, The Cranberries’ “Liar,” Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You”, The Innocence Mission’s “Bright As Yellow”, PLEASE’s “Here It Comes Again”, and Coyote Shivers’ “Sugarhigh.”
From the broody tunes of 500 Days of Summer to the laidback soundtrack of Pogue Life in Outer Banks, these soundtracks are sure to help you and your crew soak up the last moments of hot weather, spontaneous adventures, and beach days!