Today marks The OC’s 10 year anniversary. We celebrate the occasion by reminiscing over our 10 favorite musical moments from the show.

What would The OC be without its groundbreaking soundtrack? Sure it would have still been a fantastic show – but think about what it would have lost if the music was taken away.

Somehow, the creators of The OC managed to make the soundtrack into its own character. An element that was just as important as Ryan, Seth, Marissa, or Summer. The music had its own identity and attitude. It was there for every fight, moment of goodbye, party, wedding, and death. Framing it and taking the experience to another level.

Phantom Planet – ‘California’

There are theme songs and then there are songs that define a show – Phantom Planet’s “California” is the latter. Whether you were a casual fan or a avid watcher, the first few notes that open the song will have anyone remotely familiar swimming in nostalgia. “California” is more of an anthem than it is a song. And Phantom Planet managed to capture the spirit of The OC with their song in a way that transported the audience to Orange County week-after-week– a miraculous feat, especially considering Phantom Planet penned the tune years before the show even existed!

Ryan Adams – ‘Wonderwall’

This was the moment where every girl in the world was swept off their feet by Seth Cohen and had their hearts broken by Ryan Atwood. “Wonderwall” was originally performed by Oasis in 1995, but this Ryan Adams cover gave a whole new generation of kids a song to cry their eyes out to. Covers were frequently used, and they were extremely successful because they never tried to be carbon copies of the original. Instead the cover artists, most of whom were hand picked by music supervisor Alexandra Pastavas, seemed to pay respect to the original while adding a new contemporary layer that served to fit the new song into the musical landscape of its time.

Rooney – ‘I’m Shakin’

You can’t talk about California inspired music without bringing up Rooney. Their self titled album has a quintessential west coast sound, and they quickly became the poster boys for the beach music scene. And if their west coast sound isn’t enough for you, there’s the subtle tribute to the California state flag on the cover of their album– what’s more west coast than that? Rooney is one of the many indie bands that got their big break on The OC back in season 1 when the kids went to watch the band perform live. Their music became a staple to the series as a whole, and they even contributed to the infamous Chrismukkah soundtrack the show released later in season 3.

Youth Group – ‘Forever Young’

Any OC fan worth their weight will know exactly what this song represents. Every pairing needs to have an anthem and this song defines Ryan and Marissa. It’s hard to know if the producers knew what was coming for the couple in years to come – if they knew the two really would wish to be forever young. But as we look back it’s evident how this bittersweet song fits the couple so perfectly.

Finley Quaye & William Orbit – ‘Dice’

Speaking of Ryan and Marissa… This song/scene moment may be the best for the couple in the history of the show. (But I could be biased, seeing as I spent my sophomore year playing this on repeat and crying over the boy I had a crush on.) Alas, this is some pretty dramatic and fulfilling storytelling. Two people madly in love with each other spending their entire New Years wishing to be with the other – meeting with seconds to spare for their midnight kiss. If that isn’t picture perfect and swoon worthy, then nothing is. And the song, THE SONG. It builds to this sultry climax that fits so perfectly with the moment you could cry.

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