With this week marking the 10-year anniversary of the series' first episode, Myspace recently posted an excellent interview with music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, reflecting on how the show became a treasure-trove for fans eager to hear new music. She then offers 15 songs she'd incorporate into the show if new episodes were airing today. That got us thinking...
Keeping with the idea of supplying viewers with on-the-verge talent, here are a few suggested song replacements from so-called emerging bands of the last two years for pivotal scenes throughout the series. The goal was to swap similar bands in terms of atmospherics, though I wasn't going to touch the series' opening scene and theme song. That there is iconic and/or I'm just a big Jason Schwartzman fan.
Ryan Meets Marissa in the Pool House
Original Song: "Banquet" by Bloc Party
Updated for 2013: "Entertainment" by Phoenix
First of all, wow, great acting, guys! Second of all, that perfectly timed guitar bolt that reverberates as Ryan opens the door works as an almost comedic element in the scene—like a sad trombone, but not all that sad. "Entertainment" offers the same slick playfulness as Bloc Party did here and with similarly zigzagging synth lines to mimic the trick.
Marissa and Ryan's First Kiss
Original Song: "Paint the Silence" by South
Updated for 2013: "You Are a Lion, I Am a Lamb" by Ex Cops
The key here, I think, is to keep things relatively muted, as Ryan or Marissa aren't the type of people to get too excited about anything, other than wife-beaters and shopping, while choosing a song whose lilt still pushes upwards. Somewhere deep inside his charred heart, Ryan feels triumphant in the moment. Brooklyn-based Ex Cops swirl the same mixed emotions into "You Are a Lion, I Am a Lamb" as the original selection, without the hard-hitting schmaltz that we were so prone to hear in 2003.
Seth and Summer's Spider-Man Kiss
Original Song: "Champagne Supernova" by Matt Pond PA (Oasis cover)
Updated for 2013: hypothetically covered by Lord Huron
Cover songs recorded specifically for the show were definitely a thing on The O.C. In the Myspace piece, Patsavas speaks specifically about "fighting big" for the songs she and her team would go after, hoping that by having new artists adapt them, the selections would "resonate with a new generation of fans." That in mind, I don't want to mess with Oasis. Matt Pond PA's vibrant and woodsy folk, on the other hand, easily aligns with Lord Huron's take on the genre. I'd definitely listen to Lord Huron doing "Champagne Supernova" while staring outside a rainy window and contemplating deep thoughts.
Marissa Shoots Trey
Original Song: "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap
Updated for 2013: "Genesis" by Grimes
The stilted silence of James Blake could slip in here for similar emotional pull, but Grimes would turn the scene on its head by essentially painting the opposite of Blake's white space: "Genesis" is full of electro gurgles and watery synths, but its first 60-plus seconds fuse into an almost singular sound, blanketing the scene with something strangely comforting though still off-kilter, not unlike Imogen Heap's icy "Hide and Seek." I suppose the entire Knife album could work here also, if you wanted to give teenagers nightmares.
Original Song: "Hallelujah" by Imogen Heap (Leonard Cohen cover)
Updated for 2013: "Turns Turns Turns" by Majical Cloudz
And so begins Patsavas' love affair with Imogen Heap. At the risk of cluttering tear-filled memories of watching Marissa slip away in Ryan's arms without messing up her makeup much, Majical Cloudz' "Turns Turns Turns" moves like it's being dragged through the gutter in the same slow-motion pace as Heap's take on the classic Leonard Cohen cut. This allows for the song's crucial cutaway as Ryan lies Marissa's body down and its reemergence at her last dying breath. Both options bleed with heartache, but only one of them is an arguably overdone cover.
Final Scene of the Series
Original Song: "Life Is a Song" by Patrick Park
Updated for 2013: "Song for Zula" by Phosphorescent
Patrick Park's appropriately themed "Life Is a Song" might actually be the perfect soundtrack to Big Life Moments montages, and I may have just teared up in the office watching the series final two-and-an-half minutes because of it, but Phosphorescent's aching "Song for Zula" deserves some consideration. Here, Matthew Houck is gently anthemic in the same way as Park, bound to leave viewers with the series' signature mix of happiness and sadness in its parting moments. I can almost guarantee tears.
Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.