Maybe it’s just that I’m from a generation that can actually remember when most of MTV’s programming was dedicated to music, when the now all-but-defunct medium of the music video occupied multi-hour time blocks of primetime, but more than a decade of trashy-but-embarassingly-watchable dating game shows and Britney Spears video marathons has had most viewers questioning whether the network could still fittingly be called Music Television. Don’t mistake this for nostalgia. Its time has passed, and any attempt at resurrecting the music video on television would be little more than a novelty. But MTV has begun back-dooring new and all-around excellent music into their scripted programming. Great music has become a staple feature of a great show. In appreciation, here they are: the ten best music moments in Teen Wolf so far.
“I bet you haven’t had a day in your whole life where you haven’t been afraid of something.” Derek’s not wrong. It wins no points for subtlety—a close up of Jackson’s iPod makes sure the viewer knows exactly what’s playing—but this stand-out from duo Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields’ lone studio album, featuring hollow claps and a deep, resounding, rhythmic piano, pretty much embodies “ominous".
Teen Wolf has generally favored alternative pop, a grown-up and melodic hybrid of pop and electronica, but Fink’s pop folk gem with the drag and twang of delta blues captures both the danger and sexual magnetism of Danny and Ethan’s increasingly heavy flirtation and the thick, grimy atmosphere of “Motel California”’s Glen Capri Motel itself as well as the episode’s horror predecessors.
The rest of the track languishes a bit because, unlike much of the duo’s debut album, it never shakes up its shuffling pace or breathy croon, but “Second Chance at First Line” wisely sidesteps this problem by snatching only its infectious funk-blues guitar riff and the opening of its sultry melody before the song wears it out. It’s a savory moment that, quite frankly, nails the heady elation of teen romance.
On the collective strength of its music “The Tell” may well surpass any other single episode. Scott and Allison’s day skipping school itself alone featured Two Door Cinema Club’s “I Can Talk,” Phantogram’s “Mouthful of Diamonds,” Little Red’s “I Can’t Wait,” Oh Land’s “White Nights,” and Season 1 darling Graffiti6’s “This Man”. But the episode’s stand-out is “I Lay My Head,” the darkly boppy debut single from Danish songstress Fallulah. It captures both Stiles’ romantic plight and the trippy tone of Lydia’s pharmaceutical daze. And, of course, it’s so very notable where her head ends up.
It's a soaring percussion and brass epic. It could be an introspective masterpiece, or it could be an audacious and pompous trainwreck. Honestly, it's a little of both, which makes it perfect for Scott's first teeth-bared, claws-out brawl with Derek and his pack. They may be all testosterone and bravado, but the werewolves can't quite find their footing on the ice.
It’s a quietly strong moment in which almost nothing that is meant is said and nothing that is said is meant, even if the boys do end up kind of hungry at the rumble, but Isaac’s softly stubborn insistence on joining Scott for Mexican food knowing full well he’s off to meet Deucalion says more about his mettle and their deepening friendship than any proclamation could. The Valleys’ swirling, otherworldly indie-pop “Hounds” is just the kind of melodic, somber whisper-singing and rich echo of recalling the tense swell to a loss as a memory, or for us as a soft-lensed flashback.
After silently watching the newly minted sexpot Erica spend chemistry class feeling up her boyfriend and generally threatening to break up their secret (but obvious) relationship, Allison finally comes out on top in this ladies’ power game of cat and mouse. The Digital Daggers’ dark, sly electro-pop cadence in “Bad Intentions” is just what its title suggests, a stealthy paean to a little bit of justifiable malice.
After two seasons pretending Stiles wouldn’t get any play in high school, we get treated to this little nugget. Unfortunately for Stiles, and even more unfortunately for Heather, there’s a homicidal rogue druid on the loose, but that doesn’t keep their would-have-been tryst in the wine cellar from being any less hypothetically hot. Skyler Stonestreet’s hitchy, flirtatious single “A Little Taste” strikes just the right balance of innocent and naughty.
Teen Wolf capitalizes on a mini-zeitgeist with Mikky Ekko’s eerie, soaring “Who Are You, Really?”. After a few episodes of following Kate’s breadcrumbs, Allison finally gets answers to her suspicions in the form of a shirtless, chained and wolfed-out Derek. As Kate slyly smirks, “Isn’t he beautiful?” Yes ma’am, he is. And Ekko’s wailing pop crescendo is the perfect final surge to the end of excellent episode.
If it weren’t for this rebel anthem, Gin Wigmore’s “Kill of the Night” would probably have made this list for its simultaneously raw and sweet sexual appetite from Scott and Allison’s parents-are-away romp in “Omega”. But the rocker kills it here. And if the last two seasons have proved nothing else for Lydia, it’s that Wigmore’s right: “Once you go black, you never go back.” Welcome to the out pack, Lydia!