To an extent, we already know how Girls will end: with its closing credits, like all TV shows do. What we don’t know, however, is how it will sound, though we do have plenty of precedent. Over its six seasons, Girls has put together a soundtrack that’s both distinctive and esoteric, sampling the likes of Robyn, Icona Pop, fun., and more. At this point, the “Girls closing credits song” is a genre unto itself: The uplifting yet melancholy, not-quite-big-yet track (or possibly cover) that oozes both warmth and anxiety, like a spring New York evening. Before the Girls finale airs, the Vulture staff got together to make our guesses about what will be the final, and possibly ultimate, Girls closing credits song.
“First Day of My Life,” Bright Eyes
It feels like the kind of song Girls would use. Also, I am banking on the idea that the finale will end with Hannah seeing her child for the first time, and if you think of the lyrics of that song from the perspective of a newborn speaking to his mother, or vice versa, boy, it’ll get the tear ducts flowing. The case against it: “First Day of My Life” is more than a decade old, so it may seem too played out, but it still would be a lovely choice.
– Jen Chaney
“Out of the Woods,” Taylor Swift
This pick is based on the fact that I assume the final shot of Girls will involve Hannah looking into the middle distance, because that’s how all of the best Girls episodes end. So, there she is looking … looking … looking AND THEN a digital drum crack and that distinctive “O-o-O-o.” Co-written by Mr. Lena Dunham, Jack Antonoff, this is the Taylor Swift song that most sounds like a Girls closing credits song — uptempo but not too uptempo, computer-y but not too computer-y. “But, but, but this song is about a romantic relationship?” you ask. To which I reply, what if it weren’t? Girls loves to recontextualize songs — take Elijah singing a wistful “Cool for the Summer” on last week’s episode. In the context of the final shot of Girls — which, as I said, will definitely be Hannah looking into the middle distance and probably doing a little smile — the “woods” will stand in for, you know, your 20s. The woods of becoming a person. The song asks, “Are we out of the woods?” Its placement will sugges t… maybe.
– Jesse David Fox
“Dancing on My Own,” Robyn
The easy objection to this song would be that it closed an episode (season one, episode three) when each of the girls were in an entirely different place in their lives, making it a redundant move. But the spirit of the tweet Hannah ended that episode with is still the guiding spirit of the show: “All adventurous women do.” Our heroine is pregnant now and about to embark on a life outside the chaotic confines of the city for the first time (with an impossible job), and the little web of dysfunctional friendships the Girls girls defined their lives through has mostly dissolved. “Dancing on My Own” was the show’s first truly great musical moment, and it deserves to be its last as well.
– Jordan Crucchiola
“Dancing on My Own,” Lorde (Robyn cover, co-produced by Jack Antonoff)
It may be obvious to send Girls off with that same Robyn song, but not more obvious than ending with Hannah giving birth. Imagine: Hannah goes into labor and Elijah and/or Marnie starts humming the melody to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” in the cab to the hospital. Then we cut to the delivery room, Hannah with her son in her arms and, boom, in comes That Song as we go to credits. Only now it’s a sentimental ballad sung by Lorde — or, as Lena Dunham and the #squad know her, Ella — and co-produced by Dunham’s boyfriend Jack Antonoff, who just so happens to have also co-produced Lorde’s next album. (Hint hint!) This season brought back Robyn once already; if only for continuity purposes, it can happen again. Hannah’s been channeling Lorde’s eccentric dance moves for years, and now she’ll never be left alone again (parenting, yay!).
– Dee Lockett
“Tears of Rage,” the Band
Does this go against the entire musical program Girls has offered us thus far? Sure, but this season has been about growing up, defying expectations, and weird left turns. The Band’s “Tears of Rage,” recorded in the now-legendary Big Pink house in Saugerties, has always felt like a very adult approach to bitterness and frustration (about the fallout from the Vietnam War, but still). It’s calm, measured, but unafraid to show actual emotion. Plus, Hannah lives upstate now so there’s that.
– Sam Hockley-Smith
“Run Away With Me,” Carly Rae Jepsen
At this point, it’s frankly rude that Jepsen, the reigning queen of bubblegum pop, hasn’t gotten a song into the Girls credits — despite the fact that the show briefly sampled “Sweetie” and she was part of a throwaway joke back in season two. But given how many of Jepsen’s songs nail that requisite Girls credits ache, there’s still a decent chance she’ll make it into the finale. The daring choice would be something from Emotion: Side B — perhaps “Higher” — but my money’s on the anthemic “Run Away With Me,” which (a) deserves to land in an iconic screen moment of some sort and people aren’t making rom-coms good enough to deserve it, and (b) has all sorts of thematic resonance with Girls. Hannah has run away to her new life. Carly’s “baby” in the song could be Hannah’s baby. The fact that it’s clearly about a romantic relationship needs to be ironed out, but, hey, we’ve got some potential here!
– Jackson McHenry
“I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” Britney Spears
First, let me say with the absolute certainty of someone who has only watched a handful of Girls episodes: Britney’s not getting the end credits. It won’t be this song. But it also Will Be this song, if you get what I’m saying. Brit’s teen-pop anthem is truer to the themes of Lena Dunham’s narrative than anything else: getting older, and growing into and out of friendships and big decisions. Let’s be real: It’s Britney, bitch. She’s made and remade herself through so many comebacks, it would be a meaningful homage. Anyway, it won’t happen, but it’d be so major if it did.
– Hunter Harris
A new Taylor Swift song
Now that you’ve read those words it seems inevitable, right? Taylor has been noticeably absent from the public eye since breaking up with Tom Hiddleston, only releasing one new track in the past year (“I Don’t Want to Live Forever” with Zayn Malik for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack). What better way to emerge back into the limelight than to send off the show of a generation, a show that was created by and stars one of your prominent squad members? Maybe Taylor herself will cameo as a girl in Dunham’s class learning about “the internet.” Maybe the song will be called “Yes, I Voted for Hillary.”
– Tara Abell