First of all, the score was amazing, minus Season One that was teetering on the edge of being in some crappy John Carpenter flick. I particularly hated the season finale, where Buffy, who's just been resurrected by Xander after she drowned, is marching down the street to the opening theme of the show. I mean, that was back in 1997, when I was still in middle school, and I rolled my eyes even then.
But this isn't about what I hated. This is about what I loved, and I think my favorite piece from the score was "Slayer's Elegy" from "The Wish." (Yes, this beats out "Sacrifice" from "The Gift" and Buffy and Angel's love theme, "Close Your Eyes," although they are tied for a very close second.)
It's such a heartbreaking and beautiful composition, desperate and hopeless, like the alternate universe of the episode. When I hear this, I can't help but think that this actually is the theme of the Slayer spirit. In the end, you are probably going to die in a very gruesome manner, so every step you take, every kill you make (ha, see what I did there?), the theme is cresting, up until your killer makes the music stop. And then it starts again, repeating until the end of time.
And now that I've depressed you, I'll go to "Once More with Feeling!"
"I'll Never Tell," when taken out of context of the greater narrative (spoiler - Xander leaves Anya at the altar because he's an immature dillhole, not that it's any surprise to me or anyone with eyes), really highlights what I like about Xander and Anya's relationship. They both have a lot of insecurities (Xander with his "I'm a man-child" complex, and Anya, with her "Remember how I know men are assholes and I'm kind of waiting for you to turn out that way, too" ways), but they love each other deeply and do bring out the best in each other. But then I remember what happens later, and this song just makes me sad. Sigh.
("I'll Never Tell" beat out "The Parking Ticket" for no other reason than "The Parking Ticket" is more of a vignette than anything else. And I felt that would be cheating. Although ahahahahaha "Hey, I'm not wearing underweeeaaar!")
And finally, sampled music! To be completely honest, a lot of the sampled music from Buffy was ... kinda blah. A lot of the bands were local indie bands that Joss was trying to give a boost - and for that, I say, go Whedon - but there's a reason they didn't get too popular regardless of the exposure. There were ones that stood out to me, particularly in later seasons ("Window to Your Soul" by Delerium from Season Four is still one of my favorite songs that I found by watching Buffy), but for the most part, snore. But, since I said I was splitting this into three categories, I'll stick to my word.
I was originally going to go with Sarah MacLachlan's "Full of Grace" from the Season Two finale because it really does fit the emotion of the moment, but I kept going back to this:
"Wild Horses," the Sundays cover of the Rolling Stones song, plays in the background while Angel and Buffy are dancing together at her senior prom, the last time she'll get to touch her now-ex (they broke up earlier in the episode, which was followed by one of the most real depictions of teenage breakups ever) before they fight the mayor and he leaves for LA. It's one of those times where the song's lyrics - "wild horses couldn't drag me away" - matches what the characters want to do but actually won't because they know it's best for both of them. I was a fan of Buffy and Angel staying together at the time of the original airing, but looking back on it, I realize that he really did have to leave, even if David Boreanaz was going to star in his own show. Plus, the dude or dudette you fall in love with in high school is rarely the same one you end up with later on, if you don't decide to live a life of singletude (which is a totally awesome life choice, by the way), so the idea that Buffy would be moving on is way more realistic than Angel sticking around and turning into a Riley-ish character.
Oddly enough, the other contender for favorite song in an episode was Third Eye Blind's "In the Background," where Buffy dreams that Angel comes back from whatever hell dimension she sent him to in Season Two, and they were dancing together in that scene, as well. Hmmmm. However, I'm partial to the Sundays, since they were one of the first bands that I listened to after I broke out of the Christian music mold (the first CD I ever owned was a gift from my parents and it was DC Talk's Jesus Freak). See also: Alanis Morissette.
And there you have it. Not nearly as difficult as yesterday's choices. Next up: favorite female character, the identity of whom no one (who knows me, at least) will be surprised.