"Somewhere a Clock is Ticking" by Snow Patrol
This song was played when Bailey discovers that Burke has been felled — back in the innocent times when one doctor getting shot was a big deal. It starts off pretty calm and low-key, but when the drums kick in, it becomes epic in sound. What clock is ticking, though? The amount of time before a patient kicks the can? The amount of time before a doctor leaves the hospital? The amount of time before Isaiah Washington is canned?
"How to Save a Life" by The Fray
The Fray, Grey's Anatomy, made you, okay? You should be the biggest fans of the show ever. This track of yours, arguably your most famous to date, played while Derek, Burke, and the Chief all performed surgery, and was also the basis of an officially-produced Grey's music video. Okay, so maybe your song is more about saving a friend from suicide than saving a patient on the operating table, but still... it's fitting. And, sure, we like the song.
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
The quintessential Grey's Anatomy song, which played when Izzie grieved over her dearly-departed dude Denny Duquette and quit the intern program shortly thereafter. Can any of us hear this on the radio and not think about that scene? Not think about the shock and the heartbreak? Not think about the cruelty — and, we suppose, the creative genius — of Shonda Rhimes? Not think about the ghost sex that would follow? (Ugh.)
"On the Radio" by Regina Spektor
This song, which played when Meredith and Finn kissed, is freakishly fun but weird as all get-out. Just take note of some of the lyrics: "All the Styrofoam / Began to melt away" and "A million ancient bees / Began to sting our knees." But then it gets all deep and poetical-like. "No, this is how it works / You peer inside yourself / You take the things you like / And try to love the things you took / And then you take that love you made / And stick it into some / Someone else's heart / Pumping someone else's blood" Seriously, how Grey's is that?
"Breathe (2 AM)" by Anna Nalick
Grey's played a big role in popularizing this song, which aired during a two-part episode, the first part of which aired right after the Super Bowl. Twenty-five million viewers returned the week after to see the culmination, including Meredith Grey nearly getting blown up while talking to the hunky bomb squad dude while this song plays.
"Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson
This tracked played over the last scenes of Season 3. (Detecting a theme here?) Alex rushed to find Ava, Callie eyed Izzie suspiciously, and Meredith helped a suffocatingly emotional Cristina out of her wedding dress. And the chorus, repeated ad infinitum, is a good mantra for the Grey's characters to bear in mind at all times: "All I can do is keep breathing."
"The Quest" by Bryn Christopher
This song was also the basis of a season-encapsulating montage and it was the soundtrack of the last scenes of Season 4. You know, the scenes in which the Chief told Meredith that he's not a bad guy and tells Adele that he's coming home, Callie commits to Erica, George celebrates with Lexie, and Izzie consoles Alex. Really, those scenes are just a lot of characters kissing, and Bryn Christopher punctuates the moments perfectly with the chorus: "What I'm gonna live for? What I'm gonna fight for? Who you gonna fight for?"
Alexandra Patsavas, you genius. As the music supervisor for the first six seasons of Grey's, you've introduced us to so much good music, and you know how to pick the perfect track for each moment. (And you've also picked the music for several other hit shows like Mad Men, Chuck, and Gossip Girl — how do you do it?) Here are some of our favorite numbers that have been featured on our favorite show.
"The Story" by Brandi Carlile
"All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am," sings Brandi Carlile. Who do we know who has been through all sorts of drama in their professional and personal lives? Oh yeah: pretty much every doctor featured on Grey's Anatomy. While not strictly a canon song — it was never featured in an episode — the song did provide the soundtrack to a great Grey's montage aired during "Every Moment Counts," a recap special hosted by Mr. Duquette himself, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. If you haven't seen the music video, do so now:
"Off I Go" by Greg Laswell
Grey Laswell is a regular contributor to the show's soundtrack, and this song of his played when it looked like George and Izzie were both headed to the Great Seattle Grace in the Sky. It was the perfect complement to that intense scene, especially the moment in which George greets Izzie at the elevator, because it signalled a new journey for them both.
"Cosmic Love" by Florence and the Machine
Florence and the Machine are so hot right now, but Grey's Anatomy employed this song of theirs while they were still famous only in the UK. It played when Teddy was planning on quitting, and Cristina offered Owen to her if she would only stay. (You remember. "Fine. Done. Take him!") Again, the drums inject some serious drama, but the real star of the track is the harp part, heard when Teddy stars at Cristina in shock.