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24 Supernatural Songs

winchesters

SO, SO PRETTY.

Supernatural is a hilarious, ridiculous, long-running show on the CW about 2 VERY pretty brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who battle supernatural entities for a living: demons, angels, vampires, ghosts, demigods, what have you. Now in its 9th season, multiple characters have been killed off and then resurrected multiple times. I watched the pilot and then ignored it until a year or so ago, when my daughter got into it. I started watching it by osmosis and found its really fricking funny, and then realized that Ben Edlund (of The Tick and Firefly) was involved with the show. Well, there we go. I dug in and became a big fan. Season 1 takes itself too seriously, but it gets fun in Season 2, and by Seasons 4 and 5 the show was trafficking in some very cool meta-TV concepts. One great example is Changing Channels, in which the trickster god Loki tries to teach the brothers Winchester a lesson by trapping them in television tropes; the theme song for the sitcom that their lives has become has to be seen to be believed. 

Anyway, a key feature of the show is its reliance on classic rock to soundtrack it. The brothers are in their early to mid 30s or so, but Dean (the older brother, who is in charge of the radio in his 1967 Impala) seems to have his musical taste fully formed about 3 years before being born. The brothers battle most of the demons and company in the Midwest, and never fly, instead spending hours in the Impala to scoot from a poltergeist in Oklahoma to a killer clown in North Dakota (driving not shot in real time, FYI). Classic rock fits their road trips perfectly,  and is the perfect score for all the fight scenes.

Plus, some of the show’s overarching themes are perfectly reflected in a song, like Foreigner’s Long, Long Way From Home. These brothers are intensely co-dependent (e.g., Dean currently has an angel possessing Sam’s body to keep him alive, rather than just let poor, battered Sam die in peace), so the repeated phrase “I’m looking out for the two of us” is spot on/creepily insistent. The refrain of Long Train Running is perfectly sad and perfect here as well: the Winchesters sacrifice every other relationship in their lives for each other, just as their father raised them to do; without [that family] love, where would they be now? Probably happily living chill lives that don’t center on constant battles with evil in every form. Just saying. Dean is caught shamefacedly singing along to All Out of Love at one point, hinting at a possible soft side he can’t express given his lifestyle. Oh, the emotions!

So, I’ve put a list together of my favorite 24 songs used so far in the show (that are on Spotify). No deep cuts or B-sides here; just straight-up radio rock. That’s OK; it is mighty fine radio rock.

One flaw in this list: no AC/DC. AC/DC doesn’t do Spotify, but are used repeatedly and perfectly in the show, so Back in Black and For Those About To Rock don’t have their rightful place on this list. Also, Gregg Allman’s I’m No Angel doesn’t actually appear in the Season 9 episode “I’m No Angel” but that has to just be a licensing holdup because clearly this song would belong in that episode.

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