It has been 20 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on television. The series centred around a sixteen-year-old girl called Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) who has to deal with the pains of adolescence while also going to high school on the mouth of hell and struggling with the burden of being chosen by destiny to be the next vampire slayer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer received critical acclaim for creating a show that empowered women and for taking the trope of the "dumb blonde" who either dies in horror films or survives because she is the love interest and flipping it to make her the hero of the show.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired from 10 March 1997 to 20 May 2003. Music was a key element in creating the show. Many of actors in the show were gifted musicians and professional singers. The show used music to compelling effect with some episodes using silence to enhance the horror ("Hush") or drama ("The Body") and other episodes being filmed like Broadway-style musicals ("Once More, With Feeling"). The show creators also sought out real-life musicians and bands to perform live at a nightclub in the show called "The Bronze". Here are 10 Great Songs That Were Featured on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
1. Rasputina "Transylvanian Concubine"
Artist: Rasputina Album: Transylvanian Regurgitations, released 12 August 1997 Episode Featured: "Surprise" Season 2, Episode 13
"Transylvanian Concubine" is an alternative rock, gothic style song, performed by an American band called Rasputina from New York who are known for their unconventional musical style and for having a fascination with history and fashions dating back to the Victoria era. "Transylvanian Concubine" was released on the album Transylvanian Regurgitations on 12 August 1997. The song is a perfect fit to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It appeared in the season two episode "Surprise" at a vampire party organised by Drusilla. The scene begins with Drusilla, wearing a blood red dress, clapping her hands to start the music. As the music swells, she sways her hips to the song, and is totally in her element. "Transylvanian Concubine" begins with a deep, booming cello section. The creepiness of the strings combined with lyrics waxing poetically about vampires makes it the perfect vampire party song.
2. Sarah McLachlan "Full of Grace"
Artist: Sarah McLachlan Album: Surfacing, released 15 July 1997 Episode Featured: "Becoming: Part 2" Season 2, Episode 22
"Full of Grace" is an emotionally charged ballad by Canadian singer-songwriter and pop rock adult contemporary artist Sarah McLachlan. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will recognize "Full of Grace" as the song that plays after Angel's soul is returned to him but then Buffy is forced to kill him to save the world. "Full of Grace" perfectly captures the depth of Buffy's despair after being forced to kill Angel. Sarah McLachlan's incredible lyrics are unspeakably sad and coupled with Sarah Michelle Gellar's stellar performance in "Becoming: Part 2" makes it pretty hard not to tear up when watching the season two finale.
3. Biff Naked "Lucky"
Artist: Bif Naked Album: I Bificus, released 24 February 1999 Episode Featured:"The Harsh Light of Day" Season 4, Episode 3
Bif Naked is an Indo-Canadian singer-songwriter known for performing alternative rock and pop-rock. She performed her song "Lucky" at a UC Sunnydale party which Buffy attended with her college crush Parker Abrams in the season 4 episode "The Harsh Light of Day". "Lucky" is an alternative rock, slow ballad, that features guitars and strings. It is an excellent song that fits the scene well and the excitement that Buffy feels spending time with her crush.
4. Four Star Mary "Fate"
Artist: Four Star Mary Album: Four Star Mary, released 1 December 1998 Episodes Featured:"Inca Mummy Girl" Season 2, Episode 4 and "The Initiative" Season 4, Episode 7.
Dingoes Ate My Baby was a fictional band that appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer numerous times. A character in the show, Oz, played in the band as a guitarist. Dingoes Ate My Baby had a big impact on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What some people might not know is that a real band called Four Star Mary provided the music for Dingoes Ate My Baby and the songs they performed on the show are real songs from their albums. Fans of the show will recognize "Fate" as the song that Dingoes Ate My Baby are playing when Oz first notices Willow at the Bronze and becomes romantically interested in her. The song is heard briefly again in the season four episode "The Initiative" playing at a party after Willow and Oz break up. An acoustic rock track, "Fate" is a charming song, featuring gruff vocals and a beautiful, melancholy sound. Four Star Mary made a huge contribution to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, second only to Nerf Herder, the band that provided the theme song to the show.
5. THC "Overfire"
Artist: T.H.C Album: Adagio, released 1999 Episode Featured:"Beer Bad" Season 4, Episode 5
In season four a new band comes to Sunnydale called Shy. Oz finds himself incredibly attracted to the lead singer of the group, a woman called Veruca, who is a werewolf like him. Veruca is a sensual and passionate woman who has embraced being a werewolf and succumbing to its desires and tries to pressure Oz into giving into his animal instincts. This causes a massive about of tension in the plot and for an emotional fallout between Oz and his girlfriend Willow. The fictional band Shy was played by a real-life band called T.H.C. T.H.C was a trip-hop band that was active from 1997 to 1999. The band first appears in the episode "Beer Bad" where they perform "Overfire" at the Bronze. This is when Oz first notices Veruca for the first time. "Overfire" has a unique, haunting sound. It begins with a long keyboard section and has elements of trip-hop and hip hop. The main vocalist and lyricist of the band was Sarah Folkman. Her sensual, erotic voice was the perfect singing voice for the bewitching Veruca.
6. Angie Hart "Blue"
Artist: Angie Hart Album: "Blue" was co-written by Angie Hart and Joss Whedon for the episode "Conversations with Dead People" Episode Featured:"Conversations with Dead People" Season 7, Episode 7
Angie Hart is an Australian pop singer. Before she started a solo career in 2006, she was the lead vocalist in the alternative rock band Frente! and the Indie-pop band Splendid. Angie Hart performs the song "Blue" with her band Splendid in the season 7 episode "Conversations with Dead People". "Blue" was co-written by Angie Hart and Joss Whedon for the show. It is an acoustic rock song featuring guitar, bass and drums. "Conversations with Dead People" is a great episode that opens with Angie and her band setting up their equipment at the Bronze. As she steps up to the microphone and starts to sing, we see glimpses of several characters: Buffy patrolling in a cemetery, Spike drinking alone in the Bronze, Willow studying in a library, Dawn arriving home to an empty house, and Jonathan and Andrew return to Sunnydale. As the scene progresses, "Blue" plays in the background and really ties everything together, with the blue lighting on Angie Hart and her soft crooning voice capturing the low emotional place each of the characters are in.
7. Curve "Chinese Burn"
Artist: Curve Album: Come Clean, released 16 February 1998 Episode Featured:"Bad Girls" Season 3, Episode 14
"Chinese Burn" by alternative rock band Curve is an industrial dance-rock track that was used in the episode "Bad Girls" when Buffy and Faith dance flirtatiously with each other in the Bronze. A fast-paced, electronic dance song, "Chinese Burn" is perfect in the episode, capturing the exhilarated rush Buffy and Faith feel when acting out together and being bad.
8. Cream "Tales of Brave Ulysses"
Artist: Cream Album: Disraeli Gears, released 2 November 1967 Episode Featured:"Band Candy" Season 3, Episode 6 and "Forever" Season 5, Episode 17
"Tales of Brave Ulysses" is a rock song that was recorded in 1967 by the British rock group Cream. The song has a very 60s sound to it and features one of the earliest uses of a wah-wah pedal which helps to give it a very psychedelic feel. "Tales of Brave Ulysses" is first heard in the season three episode "Band Candy". In this humorous episode, all of the adults in Sunnydale fall under a spell which makes them revert to their teenage-selves again. Buffy's watcher, Giles, begins acting like a rebel thug and her mother, Joyce, starts acting like an impulsive, immature young girl. Giles and Joyce make out on the hood of a police car and listen to "Tales of Brave Ulysses" while smoking cigarettes. We later hear the song again in the season five episode "Forever" after Joyce's death. After attending Joyce's funeral, Giles puts the record on again and listens to it alone in his apartment, a drink cupped in his hands, and reflects on his memories of his friend. The creative use of "Tales of Brave Ulysses" is another good example of how the show creators used music in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to express the emotional states of characters.
9. Melanie Doane "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
Artist: Melanie Doane Album: Adam's Rib, released 28 September 1998 Episode Featured:"Family" Season 5, Episode 6
In the season five episode "Family" Willow tries to get Buffy and the rest of her friends to welcome her girlfriend, Tara, into their group by throwing a 20th birthday for her. Willow's plans are almost ruined when Tara's estranged family makes a visit and tries to break them up. But Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies stick up for Tara and welcome her as part of their family. The episode ends with the gang celebrating Tara's birthday at the Bronze with Canadian singer-songwriter Melanie Doane performing her pop-rock rock song "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You". It is such a sweet scene. Willow and Tara are the most adorable couple. "Family" is the episode that really embraces them and the love they share for each other. I really love how the show creators treated Willow and Tara's relationship. It was treated as wholesome and beautiful. Amber Benson (Tara) and Alyson Hannigan (Willow) are so great in "Family". The love Willow has for Tara shines in her eyes. The final scene in the episode has the two of them dancing in the middle of the Bronze wrapped in each other's arms and slowly start to rise magically into the air as "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You" plays in the background.
10: Nerf Herder "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Theme
Artist: Nerf Herder
I couldn't leave the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song off this list! Buffy's iconic theme song was written and performed by American punk rock "geek" band Nerf Herder. The theme song is an instrumental track that has an alternative rock and punk rock vibe. It begins with church organs, which give it a gothic feel, like you're standing in an old church. It then transitions into very fast, distorted guitars, with a steady drumbeat backing them up before ending with the toll of a bell. The soundtrack has been called one of the most iconic television theme songs of all time. The song does a great job capturing the horror genre of the show and has made Nerf Herder very popular within the pop-culture and science fiction communities.