Buffy the Vampire Slayer stormed onto the scene in 1997 like a shot of adrenaline to heart. A TV show with a perfect balance of horror, humour and action; blended with 90s smarts and high quality aesthetics. It made for some great watching then and still does today. Plus, it featured without a doubt, one of the best ensemble casts — ever!
The soundtrack too was masterfully curated. There’s the first — and in my opinion — best soundtrack, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album and then the still rather wonderful Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Radio Sunnydale: Music From the TV Series.
The soundtrack features artists such as Velvet Chain, Garbage, The Sundays, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Bif Naked, The Dandy Warhols, The Breeders and Aimee Mann and more.
Through these artists, the show creators fleshed out the world of Sunnydale with music that drew inspiration from the tastes of youth culture and then lead these tastes forwards too!
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Buffy, the Slayer of Vampires so I thought it’s about time we created a brand new slayer-worthy playlist.
Here’s my choices to start us off!
Beth Ditto — Fake Sugar
Oh, I do love a montage!
Whether it be a training to fight vampires or experiencing THE WORST FLATMATE EVER — montages are a great TV trope used to tell a story visually and in a time efficient manner.
Sometimes though, montages can be used with devastating emotional effect. Here’s the perfect song choice for such a moment — Beth Ditto’s Fake Sugar. Whilst her new album is a bit of a mixed-bag, this particular song has fast become one of my favourite songs of 2017.
Imagine a montage where Buffy reflects on her journey from adolescence into adulthood. The friends and family members loved and lost. The battles fought and the evil overcame.
All the while Beth Ditto sings,
“Hand bone, hand bone, where you been?
Around the world, and he’s gone again
Sunny days and I’m gettin’ paid
It’s welcome back the very next day”.
Welcome back to Sunnydale, Buffy.
We hope you enjoy your stay.
PVRIS — Heaven
This song, more than any of PVRIS’ other material clearly has a touch of the Gothic. What with the religious metaphors and epic imagery throughout. Lyrically, the song is pretty bleak — focusing on love lost. Which appears to be a reoccurring theme through most of their work.
When Lynn Gunn sings, “You took my heart” repeatedly we’re not sure if it’s an accusation, a prayer or a lament. Either way, it’s completely heartbreaking and we feel her desperation and devastation as the song swells to its stadium-ready chorus.
If there was a song to soundtrack momentous loss, it would be this! I’m thinking a loss of epic proportions.
All the angst ever!
Think, Buffy & Angel 2.0.
Twin Atlantic — No Sleep
Is this selection a bit ‘on-the-nose’?
Buffy slays at night and then parties at The Bronze.
Twin Atlantic are amazing and I’ll arm wrestle you if you disagree. Plus, they’re Scottish and I feel original Buffy soundtrack alumni Shirley Manson (from the band Garbage), would approve.
This is exactly the kind of band that would cameo on the show because they’re indie-rock, balance that careful tension between popular and still a bit niche and also look really great in skinny jeans.
Picture the scene, if you will:
Faith and Buffy party at The Bronze as Twin Atlantic play this song. Suddenly, a horde of vampires burst in the club and the whole place turns into chaos. Slaying ensues but all the while Twin Atlantic continue to play this song.
Why? Cause it’s Sunnydale and a girl’s gotta have an epic song to kick-ass to.
Perfume Genius — Otherside
Whenever you think of trail-blazing LGBTQ musicians, it’s pretty hard not to think of Perfume Genius. Seattle-based solo artist Mike Hadreas is skilled when it comes to penning heart-felt alt-pop with panache and devastating honesty.
The character of Willow may well be a pioneering LGBTQ character or a TV executives wet-dream — either way, Perfume Genius would add a much needed alternative perspective to our new soundtrack.
Plus, he’s super talented and this song is epic!
Mitski — Your Best American Girl
This self-aware indie-rock would slide quite nicely into the DMs of the original soundtrack.
Critically acclaimed Mitski Miyawaki, has already released 4 albums and is only 26 years old! Having graduated from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, Mitski has gone on to prove herself as an outstanding musician — both in terms of songwriting and live performance.
Lyrically, this particular song is a grand journey through self-reflection and the loss of childhood idealised notions of love and identity constructs. In fact, the music video to this song couldn’t be more apt! It explores these themes through the lens of a self-aware ‘Urban Outfitters’ tragic love story. Like if an Instagram filter was trying to cover-up the loneliness within an episode of Twin Peaks.
The bridge of the song is essentially the chords of the song repeated, but played with an unapologetic grungy abandoned and when Mitski sings, “I think I’ll regret this” on the lead-up to this moment, we’re not quite sure we actually believe she will.
The final resounding note of the song draws a sense of conclusion — a moment of completeness. To give us a sense that through the songs journey, self-acceptance has finally occurred and that regardless of her lover’s perception of her as an individual, her history or her cultural background, she continues to slay.
Now it’s your turn!
I’m looking for your suggestions for our Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2017 soundtrack. All suggestions will be collated, considered and then a delightful Spotify playlist will be compiled and shared in the coming weeks!
So, what tracks would Buffy slay to in 2017?
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