Gilmore Girls is a series punctuated by music. There’s the troubadour (Grant Lee Phillips) crooning his always relevant songs on the street corners of Stars Hollow, there’s Lane’s band Hep Alien, there’s the regular discussions about songs and bands and the eventful trip to see The Bangles, and there’s the la la music. The gentle score composed by Sam Phillips is the undercurrent pulling you into the river of emotions that is the Gilmore Girls. Whenever you binge Gilmore Girls, which for me is somewhat regularly, you’ll find the appropriate la la tune playing in your head to suit whatever situation you’re in.
Besides providing the recognizable la las, Phillips’ songs are scattered throughout the series. Her work plays during some key points and are among the best musical moments in Gilmore Girls. My top picks:
1. Wedding dance
Ah, Luke and Lorelai. This couple had more ups and downs than most roller coasters, but when they were on, it was so very right. Their chemistry practically leapt off the screen during their first dance in Season 4 at Liz and T.J.’s wedding. Luke wasn’t a dancer, but he was trying to show his interest in Lorelai and it’s incredibly sweet. They danced to “Reflecting Light” by Sam Phillips.
2. Where you lead…
You can’t go wrong with “Where You Lead.” The theme song by Carole King and her daughter Louise Goffin captures everything about the special relationship between Lorelai and Rory. Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said in a recent interview that King told her she didn’t perform the song in concert anymore because it was about a woman following a man, and she didn’t want to sing about that. However, she liked the idea of it being about a mother and daughter and she re-recorded it with Goffin. Even through seven seasons, the tune never gets old.
3. So much joy
In the Season 1 finale, Lorelai and Rory ran across town and into each other’s arms while Yo La Tengo’s “My Little Corner of the World” played. It’s the sort of scene you usually see between romantic partners, so it emphasized Lorelai and Rory’s connection and how they were often in their own little world. Really, their worlds revolve around each other. To add another layer to the song, it sort of references the unique, secluded place that is Stars Hollow.
4. Small town misery
Jess Mariano wasn’t pleased about being sent to live with Luke in Stars Hollow. He was surly, rude, and pretty unlikable. Being from New York City, the small town vibe didn’t appeal to him and when he walked out to view his new home for the first time, Elvis Costello’s “This Is Hell” captured his thoughts. It starts at about 1:50 in the above video.
5. A confession
Remember those ups and downs in Luke and Lorelai’s relationship? They went on quite a downhill slide for a while, but when Lorelai saw Luke while she was singing “I Will Always Love You” to Rory in Season 7 at karaoke, all the emotion returned. She thought she’d put their relationship in the past, but the powerful song reminded both of them that things were unresolved. How is that after watching this series repeatedly I still get affected by Luke and Lorelai? Ugh. My heart.
What do you think the best musical moments in the Gilmore Girls are? Tell me in the comments.
Images: Warner Bros.