Our Favourite TV Soundtracks in 2018

Photo by Tracy Thomas
Photo by Tracy Thomas

2018 was a great year for TV. As we go into the new year, we take a look back at our favourite soundtracks in TV of 2018. There are a few recurrent themes that made our selected shows stand out from the rest. For example, there are a number of shows that seamlessly blend music from different eras and genres, in a way that doesn’t feel forced or unnatural. The way music supervisors incorporate the music and explain the diversity of the soundtrack is very effective. Whether it be a specific genre associated with a character in “Casual” or a character that has an extensive record collection of crooners in “Sharp Objects”.  

Nowadays, it is becoming more common for people to turn to tv shows to discover new music and find their next favourite artist. Music supervisors are quickly becoming the radio DJs of the modern era and can be responsible for setting musical trends. When a song is synced with the right scene, people will flock to Tunefind or Shazam and listen to the song on repeat. In terms of trends, certain shows often have a consistent sound or vibe. If not the whole show, then a specific character will have their own sound. In this sense, music supervisors are influencing musical trends. The viewer will subconsciously associate that music with their favourite show and, consequently, listen to that genre in their spare time.

Below we take a look at our favourite TV soundtracks of the past year.

Sharp Objects

Music Supervisor- Susan Jacobs

In Sharp Objects, “music is integral to Camille’s (Amy Adams) state of mind; fragments of songs provide insight.” This sound track is a perfect example of a music supervisor seamlessly weaving great songs from different eras and genres. Including the regular inclusion of crooners such as Engelbert Humperdinck from Camille’s step-father’s record collection.


Music Supervisor – Tricia Halloran

The soundtrack to the Hulu original series Casual, is dictated by the three main characters having their own distinctive musical tastes. Throughout the development of the series, this was discussed extensively between the producers, editors and music supervisor.

Like Sharp Objects, the soundtrack effectively uses music from different eras, “bridging decades worth of sensibilities.” Halloran had the following to say on the sound of each character:

  • Val “turned out to be very classic soul; the classy end of soul, like Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone.”
  • Alex is like “a grown up that is still a boy. But he’s cool without trying to be cool. We did a lot of indie rock for him, but real indie rock doesn’t play that well in the background of a scene. So we did obscure soul 45s” that would sound good in the background, echoing around his home.
  • Laura “was very contemporary and very indie, mostly. Hers was, in a way, the hardest because we really didn’t feel like the old classic music was right for her, like it was often for Alex and Valeria.” Finales and montages were often amongst the most memorable sync moments in TV series this year. Including “Radio Gaga” by Queen, that “underscores a celebration montage that culminates in a karaoke performance.”


Music Supervisor – Jen Malone

This show is supervised by Jen Malone and Fam Udeorji, with large input from Donald Glover. The soundtrack is an opportunity for Glover to test some of his new music and spotlight Atlanta’s hip-hop legends past and future. The group behind the Atlanta soundtrack “has given artists a platform they normally wouldn’t be exposed to”. With the help of the producers of Atlanta, Malone thinks about what the characters in the scene would be listening to if they were real people. What music would be playing in the car to get hyped for a robbery for example? “Tay-K or Yung Bans as they’re on soundcloud a lot” Udeorji explains.

Bold Type

Music Supervisor – Rob Lowry

The Bold Type headed into its second season in 2018. Set in New York, the series focuses on three women in their mid-twenties trying to navigate through life. The series isn’t afraid to touch on topics which resonate with a modern day audience. As well as this, music becomes a vital part of the show that’s just as important as the characters and the narrative. As the show represents strong women trying to stay true to themselves so does the soundtrack, featuring a diverse, thoroughly enjoyable, female dominated soundtrack.

Below is a list of our favourite tracks from the shows mentioned above:


Sharp Objects

  • Dance and Angela- Franz Waxman as well as trip hop version
  • Plus Tot – Alexandra Srelinski
  • There’s A Key – M.Ward
  • You Don’t Know – Leon Bridges
  • Riders on the Storm – The Doors
  • Les Parapluies de Charbourg – Nana Mouskouri
  • Thinking of a Place – The War in Drugs
  • A Man Without Love – Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Through the morning, through the night
  • It’s Too Late – Carole King
  • Casino Royale – The Soulmates


  • You Make My Dreams – Daryl Hall
  • Radio Gaga – Queen
  • Revolution – First Aid Kit and Van William
  • Roots Suite – Odyssey
  • Bridgebuilder – JD McPherson
  • The Bird – Anderson Paak.


  • Gap in the clouds – Yellow Days
  • I’ll Be Good – Rene & Angela
  • LOVE. Kendrick Lamar
  • Sweet Little Girl – Stevie Wonder
  • Evil – Stevie Wonder
  • Little Bit of Lovin – Roy Woods
  • House of Mirrors – David Axelrod
  • Thank You For Being a Friend – Andrew Gold
  • Nite and Day – Al B. Sure!

The Bold Type

  • Stuck – The Aces
  • Every morning I feel like running away – TOMI
  • Rebels – Royal Cinema
  • Past Yesterday – Nishantashi Primary School
  • I Love Dancin’ – Tisa Weathersbee
  • Boys (Coldabank Remix) – Charli XCX
  • Say It To My Face – Maty Noyes
  • I Love You Like a Brother – Alex Lahey
  • Bad Bad News – Leon Bridges
  • There’s A Reason – Wet