A Collection of the Top Ten Times “One Tree Hill” Nailed its Soundtrack


Intense rivalry between two half-brothers fueled by basketball? An entanglement of love affairs between friends? Psycho Derek? What more could The CW’s hit series One Tree Hill have to offer? Oh yeah, a KILLER soundtrack. Between Peyton Sawyer’s denim skirts and an overwhelming use of flip phones, viewers can easily infer that One Tree Hill was a product of the early 2000s. However, one factor of the show that is a dead giveaway is its angsty soundtrack. Filled with one middle school throwback after the other, One Tree Hill really knows how to appease our inner-emo. Out of appreciation for such an impressive soundtrack, I’ve put together a list of the top ten times the show really nailed a scene and its accompanying song. Be aware: this list has some serious spoilers.

Season 1, Episode 1: “Hands Down” – Dashboard Confessional


The scene: Peyton Sawyer speeds down the road in her ’63 Mercury Comet after a Tree Hill Ravens basketball game. While her eyes are off the road as she searches for a CD, she comes within inches from hitting Lucas Scott, who is dribbling a basketball in her path. This is their first of many encounters. A Dashboard Confessional song really establishes Peyton’s character as much darker and more mysterious than the clique she belongs to.

Season 2, Episode 5: “Dare You to Move” – Switchfoot


The scene: After a night of endless dares and shenanigans in Tree Hill’s local mall, Lucas and his newfound friend, Anna, part ways. Lucas, clearly interested in Anna, walks her to her car and, giving her his cellphone number, dares her to call him.

Season 3, Episode 2: “Move Along” – The All-American Rejects


The scene: After an emotional night of watching his former girlfriend, Brooke, flirt with other guys at an end-of-summer beach party, Lucas confronts her as she mingles with two boys. He asks to speak with her and, to her surprise, tells her that one day she will realize he is the guy for her. He parts from the gathering with his arm thrown around his best friend, Haley.

Season 3, Episode 3: “This is for Keeps” – The Spill Canvas


The scene: Haley rushes outside after a fleeing Nathan. After a debilitating strain in their relationship, the two consider divorce. Haley attempts to convince Nathan they can work their issues out. Nathan declares his doubts and leaves her brokenhearted in the street.

Season 3, Episode 13: “Missing You” – Tyler Hilton


The scene: A crazy thunderstorm knocks the power out in Tree Hill. The couples in town nestle up with one another for the duration of the storm. Nathan and Haley argue over their time apart when Haley ventured off with musician and asshole Chris Keller to perform. Nathan, in a fit of passion, runs out to his car in the pouring rain and shows Haley a collection of news clippings he kept during her stardom. He assures her that regardless of the tension in their relationship and her distance from him, he has always been proud of her. The two kiss in the rain.

Season 3, Episode 17: “How to Save a Life” – The Fray


The scene: Nathan and Haley spend time together to decompress before joining the rest of their friends for Keith Scott’s repass. Seriously, has anyone EVER had a good time listening to this song?

Season 4, Episode 17: “Stolen” – Dashboard Confessional


The scene: After a lengthy road trip to rescue Mouth from jail in Honey Grove, Texas, the gang crashes Honey Grove High School’s prom to pass time before they return to Tree Hill. The song plays as Lucas and Peyton dance with each other and, mid-song, decide to ditch prom for a hotel room.

Season 6, Episode 23: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Ingrid Michaelson (Elvis Presley Cover)


The scene: Lucas and Peyton recite their wedding vows, solidifying their marriage in front of friends and family. From this episode to the Extra gum commercials, this tune never fails to play with our heartstrings.

Season 8, Episode 13: “Marry Me” – Train


The scene: Brooke walks down the aisle with Victoria during her marriage to Julian. Flashbacks of the couple’s relationship are featured.

Seasons 1-9: “I Don’t Want to Be” – Gavin DeGraw


The scene: Any One Tree Hill binger recognizes this legendary theme song the second they hear it. In my house, it is mandatory that everyone belts it out at the start of each episode. The song is played in a number of episodes as well.

While the ample amounts of Maroon 5, Jack’s Mannequin, and Fall Out Boy throughout the series are noteworthy, they must remain at the status of honorable mentions. It is songs and scenes such as these that make One Tree Hill so unique and memorable for its audience. This quintessential high school drama will forever remain a staple of my adolescence and its soundtrack a key part of my playlists.

Image via mtv.com.