I was a HUGE fan of the show The O.C. back in the day, not least because of the incredible music on the show. The music supervisor for The O.C. was legendary in finding new cool bands to feature. Thanks to The O.C. I learned about Imogen Heap, Spoon, Phantom Planet, and the list goes on. I bought every one of the six soundtrack Mix albums. But an all-time favorite is Mix #3, the Chrismukkah album.
Chrismukkah is the best holiday ever, and Seth Cohen of The O.C. gave a name to just what we do in my house. My husband is Jewish, and I grew up Christian so we do both. I sent many a Chrismukkah card after The O.C. episode that perfectly described our family’s combo celebration (Oh, Seth Cohen how I miss you!):
While we’ll always have the Wham! original, this is my favorite cover of Last Christmas by Jimmy Eat World:
This is my second favorite song from the Chrismukkah album. Maybe This Christmas by Ron Sexsmith:
What a wonderful post that brought back some great memories. My wife and I were huge fans of the O.C. We were still only about a year into our relationship at the time. We had originally bonded over shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and a lesser known show that only lasted a year called the Heights, about a rock band (it spawned the Jamie Walter’s hit How Do You Talk To An Angel, but we both preferred a song called Natalie and could both sing all the lyrics- it was love!) We also adored Dawson’s Creek and weren’t sure what we would do with ourselves when it ended.
The O.C. came along and filled that void perfectly. I remember when the first volume came out on DVD, we both called in sick to work for the weekend and binge watched the entire season! And the music was amazing! My best friend had been trying to turn me on to Jeff Buckley for years. Knowing that I was, and still am, a big Leonard Cohen fan, he would go on and on about Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ cover. I was never that big on the original, so I never bothered seeking it out. When that song came on during the climax of the first season, I burst into tears- big, messy, impossible to disguise, tears. Ryan was leaving, staring out the window, mirroring the beginning, Sandy and Kirsten were holding each other as Seth sailed away and the sun set. And the saddest, most hauntingly beautiful song that I ever heard played. So many artists have done versions since, but no one has even come close to matching Buckley’s raw purity of emotion (and even more sorrowful if you’re familiar with his story.) Devastating. I’m tearing up just at the thought of it.
I loved the idea of Chrismukkah and that great episode and mix CD that came with it. I love the mixing and blending of different traditions, taking the best aspects of each, and creating something new and maybe even better. Those two songs you posted were so good. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ron Sexsmith because he was born in the same city as me. I remember being thrilled that he was getting some wider recognition. And Jimmy Eat World actually improved on the original (although my wife would strongly disagree!)
I’ve been going through some of those mixtape songs this morning. I found some old favorites like Joseph Arthur’s Honey and the Moon and Something Pretty by Patrick Park. How could I forget about all of these beautiful things that meant so much to me, what seems like such a short time ago? I really need to dust off my old O.C. DVDs!
Ryan I’m glad this post brought back good memories for you. I also have the DVD set of the first season, and I think I need to break it out, and at least rewatch the Chrismukkah episode. Writing this made me very nostalgic. The first season of The O.C. was just SO good. Later seasons didn’t always measure up to the first, but the way they used music was so woven into the story and added special meaning. Imogen Heap’s music especially. I listened to her song “Goodnight and Go” over and over and over – used for Seth and Alex’s relationship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89GZ_-4VWjg
But the ultimate was probably Heap’s “Hide and Seek” for the shooting scene in the season 2 finale. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saEzQcayEPM
Googling for those videos led me down the rabbit hole. You might enjoy this post of the 13 best musical moments from The O.C.:
Thanks for sharing that songs post. So good! I had completely forgotten that great Imogen Heap version of Hallelujah that was used over Marissa’s death scene. I also forgot that the O.C. was where I really discovered Ryan Adams, who is still my favorite contemporary singer/songwriter with that cover of Wonderwall. And you’re absolutely right- it never did quite match the perfection of the first season. Truth be told, when I think of the O.C., it’s usually season one that plays in my mind. I think my nostalgia glosses over some of the later episodes and storylines, especially the final season. But that first season was just magic.