In honor of its 10th (!) anniversary, I recently rewatched the pilot (okay, and several first-season episodes) of “The O.C.” I did not watch the show when it actually aired, but discovered it in reruns. I hadn’t thought about it until I saw an article about its anniversary and realized that the show still had many fans who remembered it fondly. Why? Largely because of its tongue-in-cheek take on soap operas and its ability to make fun of itself, but also because of the music. The showrunners clearly had great taste in music, since they featured acts like The Killers and Death Cab for Cutie before those bands were household names.
Even though I wasn’t watching “The O.C.”, the music featured in the show was exactly the type of music I was listening to back in 2003-2005, when the show was popular (it limped along until 2007, but was most popular in its first two seasons). Death Cab, The Killers, Modest Mouse, Interpol, Bloc Party, Nada Surf, The Walkmen, The Shins, Coldplay, and Beck, all featured on The O.C., were in heavy rotation on my CD player and iPod back then. It was a great period for alternative music and a great time to be someone who lives in a big city where all of the bands you are interested in are bound to show up at some point in their tours.
These days I still love The Killers, and other established bands like The National and Frightened Rabbit. But I don’t see live music nearly as much now as I did 10 years ago. Back in 2003 I would read Paste and Q Magazine and listen to Boston’s leading alternative radio station, the (now-defunct) WFNX, trying to keep up with the alternative music scene.
Ten years later, I’m not spending time discovering new music like I used to, and one of my resolutions for this upcoming year is to spend more time looking for great new music that’s out there. I miss that sense of discovery and the pleasure of hearing a distinctive voice or listening to a new creative talent’s thought-provoking lyrics for the first time.
For now, in honor of the great music of a decade ago, I present you with one of my favorite songs from 2003. I’m sure Seth Cohen would approve: