Ever since Bob Barker left The Price is Right, it hasn’t been the same. I’m just not able to get that same home-from-school-sick rush I used to get. So having been sick for the past week, in lieu of one high, I traded in for another- an endless marathon of old movies ranging everything from cheesy 80’s romance to classic patriarchal Disney films. Nothing clears up a cough like cartoon plates and napkins singing “Be Our Guest!” So to pay tribute to my week long self-imposed exile, I’ve compiled my list of the Top 10 Best Movie Soundtracks (ever? or possibly within the last 50 years). There may be a lot of oversight in this list, but the incensed reader can either attribute that to my slow recovery or the obvious fact that subjectivity is in the eye of the beholder.
Let me just finally preface this with what I believe makes a good soundtrack. A worthy film score must capture some feeling encapsulated by the film, some intangible theme that is emanated but not given overt voice. A soundtrack can bring you back to a film long after it has ended; to help you relive that experience through the music. Furthermore, a truly great soundtrack will go even further, to not only capture the mood of the film, but of the times themselves. And lastly, there just need to be some kick ass tunes.
10. Juno– Honest to blog, the soundtrack for this cute flick about teen pregnancy is itself seriously pregnant . . . with some awesome tunes. Featuring songs by The Velvet Underground, The Kinks, and cute musical shorts by former Moldy Peaches member, Kimya Dawson.
9. I Am Sam Soundtrack -Sean Penn may not have won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a mentally retarded man fighting for custody of his daughter, but there is no question that this soundtrack is pure gold. A compilation of 17 Beatles covers by well respected artists of today, such as Ben Folds, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, and Eddie Vedder.
8. Singles -Cameron Crowe’s film about love in the 90’s not only paid tribute to the Seattle dating scene, but to the grunge sound coming out of there as well. The soundtrack has all the greats with Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, or should I say Citizen Dick. Eddie and the boys are not only on the soundtrack but stand-in for Matt Dillon’s band in the film.
7. Once: The Motion Picture – The acoustic rock songs by duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are the heart and soul of this movie and won them a very deserved Academy Award.
6. Velvet Goldmine – This post-modern glam rock pic, based roughly on 70’s glam gods David Bowie, Lou Reed, Brian Ferry and Brian Eno will have you reaching for the eyeliner and pair of platform space boots.
5. The Graduate – Ku Ku Kachoo Mrs. Robinson! This classic soundtrack with pivotal songs by Simon and Garfunkel leaves you wanting for anything but the sound of silence.
4. The Big Chill – Produced by Motown Records, the soundtrack features some of the best of 60’s do-wop and soul. From Smokey Robinson’s soft sounds to Rudy Clark’s Good Lovin’, its sure to have you twisting and shouting in your seat.
3. Garden State – The perfect songs to accompany a film about post-college apathy. Zach Braff, the film’s star and director, picks soothing acoustic tunes that will be played in college dorm rooms for years to come.
2. A Hard Day’s Night– The Beatles first film was a precursor to the modern music video, and features the Fab Four getting up to crazy hjinks with a terrific soundtrack to match, from the famous title track “Hard Day’s Night” to “If I Fell,” possibly their most beautiful song ever, and one of my personal favorites.
1. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet – Baz Luhrmann’s modern re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic love story was updated with a 90’s soundtrack featuring artists like Radiohead, Everclear, and one hit wonder The Cardigans (“Lovefool”). It’ll have you shouting up at balcony windows, “Wherefore is this soundtrack so freakin’ good?!”
Those Albums that Didn’t Make The Cut:
Dazed and Confused- Various Artists
About A Boy- Badly Drawn Boy
The Who’s Tommy- The Who
And For Your Consideration:
ALL soundtracks for movies written/directed by:
Wes Anderson, Quinton Tarintino, AND Cameron Crowe