By Shannon Carlin
Having a song featured on an episode of Girls can be a career defining moment. Just ask Icona Pop.
After using the unknown Swedish duo’s song “I Love It” to soundtrack a season two party scene in which Hannah (played by show creator/writer/executive producer Lena Dunham) tries cocaine for the first time — in a see-through neon mesh top, none the less — the track immediately found a spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Since Girls premiered in 2012, it has mixed things up by using songs from established artists like Beyoncé, underrated favorites like Robyn, newbies like Angel Haze, cheesy ’90s acts like Duncan Sheik and legends like Judy Collins — who played herself in an episode from last season — to set the scene for the coming-of-age comedy. And according to Billboard, in just two seasons the HBO series has shown its as influential, if not more, than Glee when it comes to the musical zeitgeist, helping new and old songs, including Oasis’ 1995 hit “Wonderwall,” find a spot on the charts.
Last year, the show even premiered a few exclusive tracks from the likes of fun. and Santigold — both of which ended up on the Girls- Volume 1 soundtrack — along with a previously unreleased cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down” from Vampire Weekend that accompanied a cameo from the band’s lead singer Ezra Koenig. Getting exclusive tracks from well-known artists is something the show plans to do even more of this season.
But while Dunham is the voice of the show — and at this point, let’s be honest, a generation — it’s Manish Raval, the show’s music supervisor, who curates the series’ song syncs for her. Before this upcoming season, Raval sent her weekly mixtapes filled with songs that he thought she might like. Dunham did, writing a lot of those mixtape suggestions into season three.