Original film scores are tailored to the visuals on screen, but creating the perfect soundtrack is an art in itself. Using the right song at the right time can convey what a character is feeling, hint at a deeper theme, or forever imprint a cinematic moment. The best movie soundtracks can act as snapshots, capture a particular musical era, or shed light on songs from the past and recontextualize them to the present day.
In the days before Napster and streaming, soundtracks were effectively mixtapes for music discovery. Whether it’s a pre-packaged hipster underground artist or a strategic selection of vintage his tracks coming to light, it’s simultaneously a creative and targeted marketing tool for a younger audience. There was also. The soundtrack also served as a memento of the film, allowing audiences to replay the film’s best moments in their minds before they were released on video.
Soundtracks have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to blockbusters embracing the medium, so let’s take a look at some of the best movie soundtracks that put music at the heart of it.
For many people, the conversation about movie soundtracks begins and ends with John Hughes. The beloved director not only chronicled teenage existentialism onscreen, but created his own enduring mixtape. Judd Nelson’s defiant fist floats in the air, simple mind“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” became the official anthem of a generation. His New Wave leanings have led to OMD’s ‘If You Leave’, The Thompson Twins’ ‘If You Were Here’ and of course The Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Pretty In Pink’ (named after the 1986 film). ) was a hit. Hughes reimagines the suburbs as exotic environments, brimming with rediscovery and stylishly dressed youth.
sandwiched between INXSThe Smiths, Echo And The Bunnymen are iconic scenes in which Jon Cryer reaches an ecstatic state. Otis Redding‘Try A Little Tenderness’ pretty in pink, didn’t even make it into the soundtrack, but remains an indelible part of the film. The same goes for Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen.” The song, which was over 20 years old at the time, suddenly became the hottest thing since Matthew Broderick sliced bread when he performed Ferris in his Bueller holiday parade scene. Hughes’ affinity for classic R&B and lip-syncing brought audiences a flair for John Candy bouncing along to Ray He Charles’ “Mess Around.” planes, trains, carsa hilarious scene that cannot be attempted at home.
in the meantime pretty in pink It remains the quintessential teen movie soundtrack and Hughes’ predecessor, strange science, and its accompanying soundtrack made up for questionable gender politics with killer music. Mike Oldfield’s “tubular bellcontains Oingo Boingo’s theme song, General Public’s “Tenderness”. 16 candles Then in another youth movie, ignorance.
Another perfect distillation of American class consciousness, teenage romance and youth culture with an Austenian twist ignorance Reinvigorating the teen movie genre, its genre-spanning soundtrack covered all the scenes of the decade: alternative rock, pop, rap, ska, and retro covers (although notable Grunge is not worth it).Platinum His soundtrack includes Counting Crows covering “The Ghost In You” by The Psychedelic Furs, Luscious Jackson, Pop Punks Smoke Popes, and Coolio (who’d enjoy his boost on movie soundtracks). dangerous mind) and even gave a nod to the Britpop phenomenon of the time with Supergrass’ teen anthem “Alright.”
In addition to some great covers of Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes” and Kim Wilde’s 1981 hit “Kids in America,” ignorance More artists like college radio staple Velocity Girl’s “My Forgotten Favorite” and Radiohead, who provided an acoustic version of “Fake Plastic Trees” despite being described as “college station maudlin music”. It appealed to an indie audience.enduring popularity of ignorance The soundtrack is also a big thank you to Music Supervisor Karin Raftman, who curated other great soundtracks at the time. boogie nights, reservoir dog, When pulp fiction.
If John Hughes was the great architect of ’80s movie soundtracks, Quentin Tarantino was the author of ’90s soundtracks. How else would you explain that Harry Nilsson’s “Coconuts” was in regular rotation at his college party in 1992? It is clear that he carefully studied his albums as well as classical music. As such, he owes more to Martin Scorsese than to John Hughes, getting the former’s knack for finding classic songs, but completely redefining their meaning through on-screen use. I just defined it.
As Tarantino explained in the liner notes The Tarantino Experience: The Ultimate Tribute to Quentin Tarantino For the album, “When I have an idea for a movie, I go through my record collection and start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, the spirit of the movie.” “Misirlou” by Dale was used in the opening. pulp fictionturns Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’ into a revenge ballad and explains why I feel pain every time I hear ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ by Stealers Wheel.
After Cameron Crowe
Throughout the ’90s, the filmmaker became synonymous with a musical signature, further establishing its authenticity with sophisticated soundtracks. rolling stone Writer-turned-writer-director Cameron Crowe has picked up the mantle of Hughes and deftly soundtracked his thorny road to adulthood with films like The Whisperer’s. say anythingflannel heavy singles (The soundtrack featured Chris Cornell act as fiction thunder and his semi-autobiographical most famousabout a fictional ’70s stadium rock band, in which teenagers sing along to Yes’ ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’ again, Elton John‘Tiny Dancer’ is on the rise.
For many teens, movie soundtracks provided a gateway to scenes they might not otherwise have explored.The up-and-coming punk dreamed of breaking out of his suburban shackles while listening to LA hardcore with his band The Fear off. SLC Punk!the skater kids ate every Kevin Smith release (salesperson When Marat Some of them were obsessed with Kid ‘N Play and Public Enemy cuts) home party soundtrack.Needless to say, nearly all teenagers empire records I incorporated “Damn The Man” into my vocabulary.
Movie soundtracks have also been essential in getting foreign artists to break out abroad.right The Verve When placebo made such a splash on the state side without appearing in cruel intentions Soundtrack? UK Electronic Law underworld be a common name in the United States without trainspotting?
Another influential teen drama that served as a springboard for international talent was 10 things you hateThe 1999 rom-com is a repackage of Shakespeare’s works. The Taming of the Shrew For a generation in the late 90’s, America was introduced to two of Australia’s newest imports: the Spiderbait and the Heath Ledger. Spiderbait’s “Calypso” first appeared on the 1996 album. ivy and big apple It reached No. 13 on the ARIA Singles Chart, but everyone took notice three years later when it appeared in a pivotal scene in the film.
Arthouse cinema was also fertile ground for film soundtracks.Brought to you by Paul Thomas Anderson disco Dating back to the 90’s boogie nightsThe Coens have created the ultimate stoner soundtrack with Kenny Rogers’ ‘Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In)’ and a cover of The Gipsy Kings’ ‘Hotel California’. Resurrection of Creedence Clearwater upon Big Lebowski. And let’s not forget Baz Luhrmann’s ambitious remake Romeo + Juliet As a teenage SoCal heartthrob with two volumes of The Butthole Surfers, Garbage, Radiohead and other ’90s favorites.
This trend continued well into the 2000s, when other indie movie darlings meticulously crafted film soundtracks as a showcase for their striking musical tastes. It’s impossible to listen to Ayer’s dreamy “Playground Love” without thinking about Sofia Coppola. Virgin Suicidesor the obscure Bollywood track “Jaan Pehechan Ho” from the film adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ beloved graphic novel ghost world.
But the true tastemaker of post-2000s soundtrack music was Wes Anderson. Since debut work, bottle rocket, Anderson and his dream team, made up of music supervisor Randall poster and composer and Devo legend Mark Mothersbaugh, use music to create the whimsical worlds and characters that appear on screen. was built. It’s rare for a filmmaker to create the ultimate sampler of Anderson’s films and be inseparable from his music.
Like Tarantino, Anderson often chooses his music first before filming, then builds characters and stories based on those choices. His scenes feel like his videos of music by then-forgotten, more obscure artists.for rushmore, where he delves into lesser-known acts of the British Invasion such as Unit 4+2, Creation, and Chad and Jeremy.for Royal Tenenbaumswhat a disgruntled urbanite hears besides Nico, Elliott Smith When Nick DrakeBut perhaps his most exciting move was casting Brazilian singer-songwriter Seu Jorge as a singing sailor.? Life Aquatic with Steve Jisoo. The movie may have failed, but Jorge’s acoustic samba rendition David Bowie The Portuguese song was a hit.
the age of streaming
When the physical soundtrack market began to dry up in the 2010s, music directors and labels no longer had large budgets to commission original songs. Enter the streaming service and the revival and redemption of movie soundtracks. With the right sync licenses, older and current artists can introduce their music to new fans at the same time and let moviegoers explore their extensive discographies. Just in 2017, classic rock led Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 The soundtrack will be the first soundtrack album to consist entirely of previously released songs, billboard chart.
with the success of Guardian…, followed by other directors, including Edgar Wright baby driver (However, Wright previously had a strong track record of excellent soundtrack albums, including: Scott Pilgrim Vs The Worldfeaturing original songs by , BeckWhen Shaun of the Dead). Whatever the medium, even if it’s an old LP, Graduate, he got the game cassette or your 24 hour party people You can rest assured that the soundtracks of CDs and movies are alive and well.
Looking for more?Discover 50 of the best movie scores of all time.
Check here for the latest music news and exclusive features udiscover music.
uDiscover Music is powered by Universal Music Group (UMG). Some recording artists featured in uDiscover Music articles are affiliated with UMG.