Lena Dunham’s often controversial, always intriguing Girls returns for its fourth season tonight (Jan. 11) on HBO. From the get-go, music has been paramount to the show’s appeal, from its era-hopping, carefully curated soundtrack to its cringe-worthy moments of millennial awkwardness. To get ready for the new season, we’ve compiled our 10 favorite Girls music moments, big and small.
10. Ray and Charlie Sing Hannah’s Diary
In real life, Lena Dunham’s diary entries would probably make for some intriguing lyrics. It’s too bad that listening to Bleachers might be the closest we ever get to such a sentimental millennial spectacle. But in the fourth episode of the first season, Charlie and Ray formed a folk duo called Questionable Goods and read Hannah’s diary over acoustic guitar. It turned out to be just as rough for Charlie as it was for Hannah; the diary foreshadowed the end of his relationship with Marnie.
9. Vampire Weekend Covers The Boss
The Season Two premiere found Marnie losing her job and then having a bit of very awkward sex with Elijah. Having the credits soundtracked by Bruce Springsteen’s playfully melancholic “I’m Going Down” was a nice touch; updating and New York-ing it with a Vampire Weekend cover from their 2010 iTunes Session EP was even sweeter.
8. Childish Gambino Goes Republican
Girls tends to skew pretty white and liberal, and it’s gotten some flack for the former. But Season Two opened with an exception to both when Hannah dated Donald Glover, who played a staunch fiscal conservative. Yeah, that wasn’t going to last long, but at least we got to see the rapper known as Childish Gambino testing his non-Community television repertoire.
7. The Awkward DJ and the Kinda-Sorta Threesome
New York is full of DJs and many of them are very, very bad. To make matters worse, smarmy venture capitalist Thomas Jane (Chris O’Dowd) was also a pushy asshole who tried to guilt Marnie and Jessa into a threesome after wooing them with a mashup of Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” and nature sounds in his apartment. Oh well, Jessa did marry him two episodes later…
6. Hannah Dances to “Halo”
Jessa and Thomas’ marriage didn’t endure, but the image of Hannah dancing to Beyoncé at their wedding sure did.
5. A Bathtub Oasis
When that marriage did fall apart, a down-in-the-dumps Jessa joins Hannah in the tub. Hannah had been singing her own version of Oasis‘ “Wonderwall,” and the real version took us into the credits.
4. Beach House Dance Scene
A choreographed dance scene to the band Beach House would have been a sight to behold but, in a polarizing Season Three episode, Marnie’s mother’s friend’s beach house was instead the setting for a dance routine timed to Harry Nilsson’s “You’re Breakin’ My Heart.”
3. Marnie’s Music Video
When she’s in singer-songwriter mode, Marnie Michaels is a hip, modern take on Alanis Morissette with the pop sensibility of Sara Bareilles and Sheryl Crow sprinkled in. Or at least that’s what her press release would have wanted you to think.
2. Hannah Dances On Her Own… With Marnie
Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” may not have been a traditional Billboard Hot 100 hit, but its cultural impact ran much deeper than sales numbers. In one of Girls‘ most iconic scenes, Hannah and Marnie close out the third episode of Season One by dancing out their man-related frustrations in Hannah’s bedroom as Robyn’s song leads into the credits.
1. Marnie Sings “Stronger”
Oh, Marnie. We hate to tease you again, but you’ve got to know that Auto-Tune doesn’t translate well to piano balladry. At her ex-boyfriend Charlie’s app party, Marnie tried to impress the crowd with a heartfelt cover of Kanye West and Daft Punk’s “Stronger,” but instead gave a painfully awkward rendition. Allison Williams originally rapped the cover, only to be told by Dunham onset that the script called for it to be sung. That on-the-spot changeup did wonders for a scene that’s almost too awkward to watch.