Music has always been an important part of Veronica Mars. The show was ace at making a great scene even better by pairing it with just the right song, creating thoroughly affecting moments that have stuck with viewers long after the show ended its three-season run. It’s impossible to hear The Dandy Warhols’ “We Used To Be Friends” without expecting to hear it followed by a sassy Veronica voiceover (and don’t even bring up the altered version that replaced the original during Season 3). It’s still downright traumatic to listen to Mike Doughty’s “I Hear the Bells,” while the ultimate fate of Veronica and Logan’s relationship is still unknown. In anticipation of the movie — which also has a great soundtrack — here is a look back at the 20 best music moments from the show, complete with a Spotify playlist.
The Dandy Warhols — “We Used To Be Friends” “We Used To Be Friends” was the theme song for Veronica Mars for all three seasons (the third had a newer, darker version to go with the noir themes). It’s one of the few opening credits sequences I never skip.
The Postal Service — “Such Great Heights” From “You Think You Know Somebody” Ah, remember 2004? This still-great song plays twice this episode but has the most impact at the end. Veronica relaxes with the album in her Discman (Discman!) as her cell phone buzzes with a call from her missing mother.
Blondie — “One Way Or Another” From “Clash of the Tritons” During the first season, Veronica investigates her high school’s secret society. Trying to lure them out at karaoke, she offers a not-so-subtle warning during her performance: “One way or another, I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna getcha.”
Ivy — “Feel So Free” From “Clash of the Tritons“ This dreamily sad song creates a drastic change in tone. As the episode is about to cut to credits, we get a shot of Lynn Echolls’ abandoned car on the bridge after she commits suicide. “I feel so free / I feel all right.”
Hall and Oates — “Private Eyes” From “Kane and Abel’s” The perfect song for a show about private investigators. Rival PI Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino) sings this ditty to Veronica upon finding one of her bugs in his office.
Something Happens — “Momentary Thing” From “Weapons of Class Destruction” Devoted shippers of Logan and Veronica (the “LoVe” crew) adore this song for good reason. It occurs during The Kiss Heard ‘Round The World — a kiss that surprised both viewers and Logan and Veronica themselves and a kiss that we won’t soon forget.
Dean Martin — “That’s Amore” From “Hot Dogs” During one of the more fucked-up scenes of the series, Aaron Echolls learns that Trina’s boyfriend has been hitting her. Acting on his dark, violent tendencies, Aaron beats the guy to a bloody pulp as everyone looks on in horror and Dean Martin sings about love.
Louis XIV – “Finding Out True Love Is Blind” From “M.A.D.” This decidedly upbeat song brings together a montage of Tad and Carmen. As the faux-happy couple run around the boardwalk while Louis XIV plays, they’re actually headed toward mutually assured destruction.
Garbage — “Bad Boyfriend” From “Leave It to Beaver” Talk about a perfectly titled song for all of Veronica’s relationships! This plays as a reckless and drunk Logan toys with death on a bridge and taunts the PCHers into a fight.
Embrace — “Ashes” From “Normal is the Watchword” This plays over a chilling scene where Veronica and Weevil round a corner on the highway to see that the bus she was supposed to go on has gone off a cliff, killing a handful of her classmates and setting up Season 2’s central mystery.
The Format — “On Your Porch” From “Driver Ed” “On Your Porch” is one of my favorite quiet songs by one of my favorite now-defunct bands. Still reeling from the bus crash disaster, Veronica realizes that she doesn’t want to die with any regrets and shows up at Duncan’s door.
Pixies — “Where Is My Mind?” From “Driver Ed” This is a brilliant music cue: the song begins when Veronica heads home and worries that her father can tell she’s just had sex. But the real kicker is when it continues as Curly Moran’s dead body washes up on the beach — with Veronica’s name written on his hand. The entire scene is eerie but the song makes it that much creepier.
The Temptations — “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” From “Blast From The Past” Season 2 didn’t give Wallace the best storylines — and temporarily shipped him off for a few episodes — but when his father returns, an angry Wallace sings this as a “fuck you.”
Air — “Run” From “Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner” “Run” by the French electronic duo Air has a sinister sound, and the repetition pairs well with the moment we get a glimpse of Sheriff Lamb’s past. After hinting that he had an abusive childhood, the haunting melody plays out as Lamb stalks the Manning household.
The Hollies — “Air That I Breathe” From “Donut Run” Veronica knows how to wallow. While playing up her Duncan-related sadness, she breaks out the soundtrack for The Virgin Suicides, playing Al Green’s “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” and The Hollie’s “Air That I Breathe,” two perfectly devastating songs.
Elvis Costello — “Veronica” From “Rashard And Wallace Go To White Castle” Can you believe they didn’t use this song until Season 2? It’s a no-brainer. In the show’s most O.C. moment, Britt Daniels of Spoon makes a cameo appearance and performs this song at karaoke.
Tegan and Sara — “I Know, I Know, I Know” From “The Rapes of Graff” The Logan/Hannah pairing was a strange arc, but necessary for Logan to clear his name. It led to a great scene in which Logan and Hannah are about to have sex, only to have her father bust in and drag his daughter away, never to be seen on the show again.
Mike Doughty — “I Hear The Bells” From “Look Who’s Stalking” Easily the most memorable musical moment of Veronica Mars, this plays during Logan’s drunken speech: “I thought our love story was epic … Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined. Blood shed. Epic.” When Veronica replies that relationships shouldn’t be that, Logan points out, “No one writes songs about the ones that come easy.”
M. Ward — “Poison Cup” From “Lord of the Pi’s” So much of the third season revolved around Veronica and Logan’s intense but poisonous relationship. It seemed doomed from the beginning, and by this point, the cracks were getting too big to ignore — though this plays as Logan watches Veronica ignore his call. It’s a great choice for Logan’s feelings: “I want all of your love. I need all of your love.”
Leonard Cohen — “A Thousand Kisses Deep” From “Poughkeepsie, Tramps & Thieves” Yet another song for Veronica/Logan fans. This plays as they talk about their past romances and struggle to get to a place where they can be completely honest and comfortable with each other, something they’ve always had trouble with.