'The O.C.'s Soundtrack Was Very Millennial

by Mary Grace Garis

It's true that the mid 2000s were a rough time for everyone (or at least, it was a rough time for me). But if nothing else, it was at least the period that birthed The O.C. Maybe more importantly, it birthed all the music from The O.C. — a collection of auditory treats that nearly defined an era. Seriously, the soundtrack for The O.C. is very turn-of-the-millennium, and there are some '00s songs that played on The O.C. that you might not even remember loving today.

Maybe you haven’t even thought much about the Millennial-ness of the soundtrack as you’ve been mainlining the series on CW Seed. Maybe you’ve just been too moved by all those heart-wrenching moments set to “Hallelujah” that you haven’t even noticed some of those early-and-mid-2000s standards. Well, I have an ear for nostalgia, so I decided to hunt down some of the more of-its-time tracks. Generally speaking, The O.C. coexisted with the brief but glorious rock revival, and some of the bands aren't making up our Top 40 list today. It’s tragic, really, but we’ll always have mix CDs to listen to that'll help us revisit the glory days of the mid-'00s.

So anyway, go back and relive your high school days hanging out with The O.C’s core four by listening to some of the most 2000s songs from the series.

1. "Swing, Swing" — The All-American Rejects

Everyone knows where they were when they first heard the opening keys of "California," but nobody remembers that this classic makes a small appearance when everyone's leaving for Holly's party. Seriously, it's only in the show for a hot second — which is funny considering this is the song that defined summer 2003.

2. "Why Can't I?" — Liz Phair

This track was on my first mix CD, and I feel like it could've also found a home on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack. Listen hard for this during the scene of Summer talking about her crush on Ryan (all together now: ew).

3. "Movie Script Ending" — Death Cab For Cutie

Really, any and all Death Cab falls into this category. What can I say? All emo boyfriends (both real and fictional) were worshiping at the altar of Ben Gibbard.

4. "We Used To Be Friends" — The Dandy Warhols

Oh, you already know this song from Veronica Mars, but it also had a glorious moment on The O.C., with Seth Cohen dancing in the hallways before feigning his Summer flu. Double 2000s points for popping up on two teen-focused shows. How retro.

5. "I'm Shakin'" — Rooney

Lest we forget, the whole gang saddled up to see Rooney, a band that's still going strong. But you probably haven't thought much about them since this episode premiered 12 years ago. Every single one of these guys has the haircut of the Classic Rock Guys in ninth grade who always won battle of the bands.

6. "Fix You" — Coldplay

This song is the perfect fit for the scene, with all that reuniting and death.

7. "Technologic" — Daft Punk

Ah, some vintage Daft Punk to play in the background as Seth gets threatened by some jock types for the umpteenth time.

8. "Smile Like You Mean It" — The Killers

The mid-2000s was this band's peak, and you can clearly see that from the fact that they got a gig at The Bait Shop.

9. "Paper Thin Walls" — Modest Mouse

And I say it again: The Bait Shop seemed to be where all the biggest bands of the time converged. Weird.

10. "Bad Dream" — Keane

This is all still very moving in 2016 (are any of us over Marissa Cooper's death?), but I have to admit, my memories of Keane have faded into "that one British guy with the piano."

11. "Do You Want To" — Franz Ferdinand

You can hear this as Seth and Summer have the least fun ever. Which is ridiculous, because, even though Franz Ferdinand may feel very of this time, this track will always be amazing. Seriously, I've put this on at parties, and people totally lose it.

12. "Hide and Seek" — Imogen Heap

OK, you haven't forgot this at all. But what can I say? Imogen Heap was featured on The O.C. religiously, but it's definitely this scene that will forever seal the show in a time capsule. In the very best kind of way.

Basically, The O.C. had the best TV soundtrack of all time.

Images: Warner Bros. Television