Skip To Content
    Updated on Aug 13, 2020. Posted on Aug 9, 2020

    29 Teen Drama Scenes That Were Accompanied By The Perfect Song

    Name a more iconic moment than Quinn giving birth to "Bohemian Rhapsody" on Glee. I'll wait.

    Music is a huge component of most TV shows. Sometimes it's super weird — and sometimes it's absolutely perfect, adding to the emotion and stakes of the scene flawlessly.

    Netflix

    Umbrella Academy uses music SO WELL.

    In my opinion, no one does this better than teen dramas. Here are some of my favorite examples!

    The CW

    Did you download all of Haley's songs from One Tree Hill onto your iPod touch or are you normal?


    Warning:
    Some of the scenes contain mentions and depictions of suicide and drug use.

    1. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" by Led Zeppelin — One Tree Hill

    The WB

    One Tree Hill's music was always amazing, but a couple moments in particular stand out. Probably my favorite is when they used a Led Zeppelin song for the intense final minutes of the Season 3 finale, even though the band's work is notoriously hard to license. In case you forgot, that scene is when we found out someone was pregnant and when Nathan jumped in to save Rachel and Cooper after their limo went over the Molina bridge. The buildup of the scene worked perfectly with the buildup of the song until it hit its crescendo when the limo actually fell in the water. I can't imagine this scene without this song!

    Watch the second half of this scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    You miss out on the beginning, where Haley tells Nathan she has something to tell him and Brooke tells Peyton their friendship is over, but you get the meat of it here.

    2. “All for Us” by Labrinth and Zendaya — Euphoria

    HBO

    This is probably my favorite modern example. Euphoria's music moments were already great, but ending the first season with Rue's trippy relapse in a dance number set to Zendaya's music was a stroke of genius. It perfectly captured how tumultuous she felt in that moment and how she was trying to escape everything.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    SO GOOD!!

    3. "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen (covered by Jonathan Groff) — Glee

    Fox

    Say what you will about Glee, but watching Quinn give birth while Jesse St. James and his team performed "Bohemian Rhapsody" flawlessly was peak TV. The performance and choreography were so good, and the music was so well-timed to Quinn giving birth. Having Quinn scream things like "let me go!" at the times the words are sung in the song was particularly genius.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Absolutely iconic.

    4. "Don't Fence Me In" by Billy Williams & Sammy Kaye — Pretty Little Liars

    Freeform

    Pretty Little Liars's ridiculously rising stakes made it much harder to actually scare the viewers or seem clever, but the Season 5 finale did over the top so well. The dollhouse was creepy enough, but having the Liars think they'd escaped only to realize they were trapped behind an electric fence in the middle of a dense forest while the old-timey "Don't Fence Me In" played?? Genius. It felt sadistically creepy, ironic, and funny at the same time.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The way my heart dropped when they zoomed out...

    5. "Believer" by Imagine Dragons — Riverdale

    The CW

    Bughead/Varchie were always a little weirdly incestuous, and giving them sex scenes at the same time became commonplace on the show. But it worked best here, the first time Betty and Jughead got close to having sex, when it was also mixed with Cheryl burning down Thornhill and Jughead joining the Serpents. This intense, dark alt rock (yet poppy song) fit perfectly for a moment that just felt so iconically Riverdale: hot faux-teens making out and wreaking havoc on their town in a glossy, campy, dark, sexy way.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    When the music comes back after Jughead puts on the jacket...so good.

    6. "God Bless the Child" by Michelle Featherstone — One Tree Hill

    Keith trying to convince Jimmy to come with him and telling him it gets better while Lucas brings a wounded Peyton out to the medics and gets cuffed by the SWAT team
    The WB

    This scene is so heartbreaking in every way. Say what you want about One Tree Hill, but the shooting episode was done so devastatingly well. It had basically no music except for the ending scene, where Keith tries to convince Jimmy to leave with him while Lucas brings a wounded Peyton to the SWAT team. The song, mixed with Craig Sheffer and Colin Fickes's performances, made this scene even more emotionally resonant than it could've been. This episode was a reminder that even though the characters acted like adults, they were still children.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Warning: the above scene contains a depiction of suicide during a school shooting.

    7. "DLZ" by TV on the Radio — The Vampire Diaries

    Damon talking to Jessica while she asks if he'll kill her — he responds he doesn't know because she is his existential/identity crisis
    The CW

    This scene, where Damon decided whether or not to kill an innocent girl after Rose died, would've been great without music. But this creepy song about someone with questionable morals playing God to become more powerful at the cost of others really fits Damon's crisis here between monstrosity and humanity, and between the person he's become as a vampire vs. the vastly different person he was as a human.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Poor Jessica :(

    8. "I'm Not Calling You A Liar" by Florence and the Machine — Pretty Little Liars

    people gossiping saying the girls knew Alison and are lying, and then the girls receiving a message from A that says, "It's not over until I say it is. Sleep tight while you still can, bitches"
    Freeform

    This one's easy because of the title of the show and the song, but its placement in the Season 1 finale works particularly well because it marks the Liars actually being outed as such. After Ian nearly kills Spencer and then falls off the bell tower, the Liars call the police (for once!) — but when they get there, Ian is gone, and everyone thinks they lied for attention. This is also a love song warning a lover not to misbehave, which marks the way in which A "plays" with the liars — almost lovingly (the girls are, after all, her dolls), punishing them for "misbehaving."

    Watch the scene here (the song starts at 0:21)

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Side note: why did they always read the end of the A texts out loud together, perfectly coordinated??

    9. "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson (covered by Grant Gustin and Naya Rivera) — Glee

    Fox

    Maybe this doesn't count because it's a performance on a musical show and not background music, but I had to include it, because it's the absolute best musical performance from any show ever. Naya Rivera and Grant Gustin's vocals kill here (especially Naya's falsetto) and the cellos are absolutely amazing. This number needs no dancing or costumes — it's just absolutely incredible. The song choice feels as dark yet overdramatic as the characters, and it makes what feels like a stupid storyline (Blaine getting hurt by a slushee) actually have some tension.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    10. "Vienna" by Ultravox — 13 Reasons Why

    Hannah finishing her tape saying no one cared enough and she's sorry but that's the end; Clay telling Mr. Porter they all let her walk away and she died
    Netflix

    Clay describing Hannah's last day to Mr. Porter as we saw it play out and heard the end of her last tape was heartbreaking, but there was more to it than that: this sort of hopeless finality that death (especially of someone young) brings. "Vienna" feels very final and lonely, and it slowly fading to silence fit the end of Hannah's life really well.

    You can see the beginning of the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    I could not find the full version, but you can watch it near the end of episode 13 on Netflix. The song ends before Hannah's suicide (which is now cut from the show anyways), but please be aware that the scene directly following is a graphic depiction of Hannah's mother discovering her.

    11. "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo — Gossip Girl

    Cece revealing Lily left her in August and Rufus saying she didn't come home until October; Jenny telling Eric she knows he sabotaged her at Cotillion; Blair accusing her mom of being pregnant; Maureen threatening to out Serena and Tripp's affair
    The CW

    Season 3 of Gossip Girl was a bit of a mess, but this one scene in the Thanksgiving episode seemed to perfectly encapsulate the backstabbing, lying, cheating, and manipulation of the Upper East Side all at once. Every character and storyline was addressed over the course of a single song seamlessly. The fun pop song about making mistakes and the truth coming out worked so well here.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    "AND I WANT PIE" — Blair Waldorf, icon.

    12. "Seventeen" from Heathers (covered by Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse, Vanessa Morgan, and Madelaine Petsch) — Riverdale

    The CW

    This is another musical performance, this time from one of Riverdale's musical episodes. It's by far the best number from the Heathers episode, because the lines of the song actually fit what's going on perfectly. We often see the main characters struggling with things that they shouldn't be at their age, and watching Betty and Jughead lament this fact just before they commit arson then appear in a school play is perfect. Lili's vocals in particular shine, and it's fun to hear Cole Sprouse sing.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    CAN'T WE BE SEVENTEENNNNNNNN

    13. "Never Let Me Go" by Florence and the Machine — The Vampire Diaries

    The CW

    We'd seen Damon and Elena kiss a few times before, but this felt like the first big moment that they really gave into their mutual attraction. It felt like it was seasons in the making, and the buildup of the song was timed perfectly to their kiss and the feeling it gave the audience.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    This song was actually also used in an amazing music moment in One Tree Hill Season 9, when Nathan and Julian rushed Dan to the hospital and Nathan and Haley finally reunited.

    14. "The Walls Came Down" by The Call — 13 Reasons Why

    Clay saying everyone at school is so nice until they drive you to kill yourself and that the truth will come out — Mr. Porter asks Clay to come with him and Clay says "Welcome to Liberty High," then Justin says "New game" as Clay walks away
    Netflix

    This song only starts to play at the end of this scene and into the credits, but it's still absolutely perfect. For the first time, we see Clay really lose it and break out of the prism of control he's lived in so far, speaking out against the people on the tapes despite all his advice not to. The lyrics fit so well, and almost feel from Hannah's point of view: "They'd all been warned, and the walls came down. They stood there laughing...they're not laughing anymore."

    The music doesn't start until the very end, but you can watch the full scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Still one of my favorite 13 Reasons Why scenes.

    15. "Nux Vomica" by The Veils — One Tree Hill

    Peyton asking Derek to untie her and let her kill Brooke; he does and she punches Brooke then asks for the knife, and he says he can't trust her; she convinces him then stabs him
    The CW

    This is one of the creepiest rock songs I've heard, so it was basically written for fake Derek, who pretended to be Peyton's brother in order to kidnap and attack her. When Peyton finally seems to "give in" to her own dark side in order to convince Derek she's the same as him, this song about a backwards world gone wild, abandoned by God, plays with heavy crashes of drums and electric guitar. Even I almost believed Peyton.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The song starts before this, but you get the picture!

    16. "Who Are You Really?" by Mikky Ekko — Teen Wolf

    Kate shines the light on a tied up Derek in werewolf form and tells Allison it's beautiful
    MTV

    This huge moment of change in Allison's life, where she discovers werewolves are real, is accompanied by the perfect song. Kate only tells her because Allison has been so frustrated at no one giving her answers about her family: the lines "So you feel entitled to a sense of control, you make decisions that you think you don't own. You are a stranger here, why have you come?" seem to fit this moment so well. She feels entitled to answers and control over her own life, but when she finally finds them, she questions who her family is and what her place is in it.

    I can't find the scene on YouTube, but you can listen to the song here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    It's the end of Season 1 Episode 10.

    17. "Alice Practice" by Crystal Castles — Skins

    Sid and Tony hugging
    E4

    This song is not really my jam, but it's perfectly disorienting and even jarring for this scene where Sid goes to a club right after seeing his father dead and breaks down to Tony. It makes your mind feel scattered and provides a great juxtaposition to the really heavy thing Sid is going through.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Definitely one of the most heartbreaking Skins scenes.

    18. "Into the Black" by The Chromatics — 13 Reasons Why

    Alex floating in the pool
    Netflix

    13 Reasons Why Season 1 really had the best music. While Season 1 was about Hannah, to me a lot of it was Alex's slow descent into a deep depression and how Hannah's story was playing out yet again. This super melancholy song about burning out vs. fading away felt as slow paced and hopeless as Alex's arc, and worked really well with him floating in the pool as Hannah's tapes talked about how everything affects everything else.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Alex's friends did him so dirty in Season 1.

    19. "I Can't Hear You" by The Dead Weather — Gossip Girl

    The CW

    Chuck Bass was a trash character, and you could definitely argue that he did not deserve a redemption arc. But it was at the very least nice to see here that he was aware of the damage he had caused and the bad things he had done. This song is essentially about a manipulative monster, and that's what Chuck had largely been up until that point. It did a great job at conveying the message that Chuck pretty much deserved what had happened to him, and the aggressive rock beat matched with how his entire life, past, and self image were now in chaos.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    The "I'm gonna teach you" is perfectly timed to Eva throwing Chuck on the bed.

    20. "Ballad for Dead Friends" by Prophets — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Jesse looking at Cordelia at the Bronze
    The WB

    Buffy had some pretty great 90s/early 2000s alt rock, and the first great example came from the second episode, when we see a group of vampires enter the Bronze. The lyrics about nothing ever being the same and not being able to save somebody work perfectly for Xander's life in particular, as this comes just before he's forced to kill his friend after he turns into a vampire, but also for everyone else's life in Sunnydale as vampires begin to weak havoc on the teenagers.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Okay, so the dialogue isn't in English, but you get the idea.

    21. "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" covered by Miya Folick — Looking For Alaska

    Miles and Alaska sleep together then Alaska leaves in her car
    Hulu

    (SPOILER ALERT) Alaska's death is heartbreaking for so many reasons, but it's especially hard to watch the final time she sees her friends knowing she'll never come back, while our main characters do not yet know this. "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" felt like the perfect mournful song for this moment because Miles had finally gotten together with Alaska, and then she immediately went where he couldn't follow. The cover was especially haunting and really worked in this moment.

    I can't find the scene on YouTube, but here's the song:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    It's at the end of Episode 6.

    22. "Hunger" by Ross Copperman — The Vampire Diaries

    The CW

    However you felt about Delena, you have to admit the way they said goodbye when Nina Dobrev left the show was beautiful. Their final dance was set to this beautiful love song that really encapsulated their epic love and the fact that they were going to have to live apart for a long time.

    Watch the scene here (the song starts at 2:36):

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    23. "Say Goodnight Not Goodbye" by Beth Nielsen Chapman — Dawson's Creek

    Joey and Dawson kissing
    The WB

    I'm not a huge fan of Dawson or his relationship with Joey, but their first real kiss feels like such a classic Dawson's Creek moment. The intro is SUPER drawn out as Dawson and Joey skirt around admitting their true feelings for each other, and as the song croons about saying goodnight and not goodbye just as Joey is about to leave, Dawson grabs her and kisses her. The song and moment feel very sweet and fitting for young love.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    This is technically the continuation of the scene from the next episode, but it still uses the song.

    24. "War Sweater" by Wakey Wakey — One Tree Hill

    Lucas taking Peyton to the hospital, Nathan drinking at the River Court, Dan looking at his pre-bought vandalized grave, and Julian telling Victoria he loves Brooke
    The CW

    Wakey Wakey had some amazing music, and the end of One Tree Hill's Season 6 was filled with their songs since the character Grubbs was in the band in real life. The best example was the beginning of the Season 6 finale, where Lucas brings Peyton to the hospital after she collapses after their wedding, and all their friends come to support them. The music feels perfectly timed and also captures the horrible feeling of waiting for what could be terrible news as Lucas wonders if this is the end of their story.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    We also saw Dan's return here.

    25. "Iron" by Woodkid — Teen Wolf

    Scott in wolf form at the ice skating rink
    MTV

    "Iron" is a song about battle, so it fits well for a scene in which Scott has to fight Derek in Season 2 of Teen Wolf. However, the song marks a departure from the dubstep that we normally got during fight scenes. The epic music of the chorus fixed with the much more modern alt rock of the verses felt super appropriate for Teen Wolf, which blends so much interesting mythology with classic hero tropes (more so than other supernatural shows) and, of course, hot guys and popular music.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Derek was so annoying in Season 2. There, I said it.

    26. "Can't Get Used to Losing You" by Andy Williams/"Hold Up" by Beyoncé — Euphoria

    Rue on drugs with the voiceover, "Over time, that's all I wanted. Those 2 seconds of nothingness"
    HBO

    The entire intro to Euphoria's pilot is SO well done, and immediately we completely understand Rue's character. The very end of the intro, which goes back through her entire life, is an amazingly well-acted moment by Zendaya where Rue describes why she does drugs. The lighting is amazing, and her description of the "two seconds of nothingness" is fittingly matched with silence...but then everything comes back to her, and this old-timey song about losing someone that feels like it's about Rue herself plays. And then suddenly, it transitions seamlessly into "Hold Up" by Beyoncé for the main title, which almost feels like the drug's response to it fading from Rue as she comes back to reality.

    Watch the scene here (the song starts at 1:47):

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    27. "Trouble" by Cage the Elephant — Riverdale

    Cheryl being led away by the principal and Sheriff Keller
    The CW

    Right off the bat, Riverdale gave us some great music moments, but this was the first that made me go to Spotify. This song about having so much to both prove and lose (including your mind) matched what we knew about Cheryl thus far, and captured the intense standards her family kept her at as well as the secrets that kept her trapped. Her parents favored Jason and felt she was trouble, and Cheryl lived up to this when she helped Jason escape town, leading to his death. It felt fun and poppy yet still eerie.

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Ah, back when Riverdale at least sort of made sense.

    28. "The Killing Moon" by Roman Remains — 13 Reasons Why

    Hannah deciding who to put on the tapes as we see each of them deal with the repercussions — Justin leaves home, Alex talks to his dad, Sheri cries at the stop sign, and Jessica pours out her alcohol
    Netflix

    Finally, Hannah's tapes caught up to the moment where she decided to make them in the first place. At this point, we knew she was dead, and this song about fate and the "killing moon" coming for you felt appropriately eerie and melancholy for Clay listening to it, knowing he could do nothing to stop it weeks later.

    I can't find the exact scene (it's the end of Season 1 Episode 12), but here's the song:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    A different version of the song later played when Bryce listened to the tapes.

    29. And finally, "Hallelujah" covered by Imogen Heap— The O.C.

    Fox

    JUSTICE FOR MARISSA. At the very least, however, they did pick the right song for this moment. "Hallelujah" is such a mournful and beautiful song fitting of this moment, and its tone perfectly captured how Ryan and the audience felt in this moment. It also feels really poetic because the show used the Leonard Cohen version twice in Season 1.

    Watch the scene here (the music starts at 2:25):

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Still not over this death.

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form