Wednesday, December 16, 2020

My Top 10 Movie Soundtracks

This is a difficult topic, but I decided to talk about music a little bit because it has been a while since I made a list of any kind. I find that a good soundtrack can elevate any movie, but putting this list together was actually quite easy for me: I only listed the soundtracks that I have been listening to ever since I have seen that given movie. I still have many of them on actual CDs (that's right kids, I am old), and sometimes I pop them into my Xbox and listen to them loud enough to make sure that my neighbors know what WE are listening to. 

Before we head into the list, allow me to add a couple of honorable mentions:

  • The Greatest Showman (2017): This has an original score, but it is a musical movie, and not a score or a collection of songs from various artists. And since it is a good musical (read my review here!), I am sure that someone will try and bring it to the big stage, in which case it is no longer a movide soundtrack. Finally, as I do admit that it was a very well made score, I personally only love a couple of the songs. 
  • Mamma Mia (2008) & Here We Go Again (2018): This would be a cheat, as it is not only rewritten for a musical, but they are all ABBA songs. ABBA is outstanding, years later, they built a legacy that will live on for ages past even my time, I am sure. But it is not so much a soundtrack, but a big cover CD with great actors doing them, but cannot be considered original.
  • Across the Universe (2007): This has the same problem, as the one before it, as it is a musical movie, but The Beatles have built a legacy. I would not be surprised if more people got inspired to use their songs to write stories, as they did with Yesterday (2019)
  • Hamlet 2 (2008): One my favorite comedy movies, it has a mix of original songs and various artists as well. I do not listen to every song, but some of them have been on repeat and the original score here is fantastic and funny. Highly recommended to musical lovers!
  • Billy Elliot (2000): Of all the movies I have seen in my time, this one uses the soundtrack better than any to position the viewer in the time period in which the story is set. This is quite a sad movie, and the soundtrack too sometimes takes me with it, so I do not listen to it as much, but I learned about The Clash and T. Rex and for that I am extremely grateful. 
  • Teen Titans GO! To the Movies (2008): I did not include any cartoons on this list, because they are a whole other category. Disney likes to go for a musical interpretation while all the other cartoons and animations like to mimic them. However, there is one movie out there that only has only a couple of songs, but they are just out of this world, and that is Teen Titans GO!. I have had those couple of songs on repeat every since I first heard them. 

I will now dissect that top 10 list into two separate lists, one containing original music score, and the other, the soundtracks with a selection of songs. I had to do this, because I did not really have 10 for each... also, I find that when it comes to the quality of music they complete each other. The collection of songs sometimes is indeed as good as the original score, and the original score makes me want to listen to it the same way I consume pop music. However, to help you reader when you are looking for music to listen to, it was easier to collect them into two groups. So enjoy!

Original Music Score

Music by Tom Howe. I remember waiting for this movie to come out and I was going insane, as they decided not to have in the theaters here in Hungary. So as I was *coughs* looking at pirating websites, I came across the soundtrack, which was also available on Youtube already. I put it in after watching the trailer for the 100th time and I just loved it. It took me on an emotional adventure that I was enjoying very much. When I did see the movie, it felt familiar to me, it felt like a piece of my heart already, because of that beautiful score. (Read my review of the movie here!)

Music by Daft Punk. This is just one of those soundtracks that I like to put on when I am working. It gets my blood going and pumping just at the right speed. It is a shame I did not see this movie on the big screen, but if they ever bring it back, I gonna be among the first to by a ticket because I want to hear it the way it was meant to be heard. 

Hanna (2011)
Original motion picture soundtrack music by The Chemical Brothers. Not a lot of things stayed with me from this movie, but what did was the score that I went and got the minute the movie was over. It is my number one background music when I am reading any academic texts for university. It hits a variety of notes and I think that is why I love it so much. It is one of those that is hard to talk about unless you check it out yourself. (Read my review of the movie here!) 

Music by Hans Zimmer. I do not think I need to introduce this fantastic composer to you. It goes without saying that its hard to choose one original score by Zimmer, but looking at my playlists this is number one. What I love about it is that it has that holiday season undertone that I need when it is Christmas season and I need to work/read and cannot have songs with lyrics. However, it is not just christmassy, actually, I have found myself listening to this at different times during the year too. It is just a delightful soundtrack to any time of the day and it adds a nice strength to anything you are doing, and reminding you of this great movie too.

Chocolat (2000)
Music by Rachel Portman. This is a peculiar little movie, that has a music that enhances its fantastic and magical tale. This is my spring score, I love to clean and be productive around the house while imagining Vianne next to me setting up shop. I even got tracks from this album to my dad, and he is a complete different generation and these soundtracks always bring us together. A lot of times original score goes unnoticed in the background of the movie -- this is also a testament to the fact that they do work perfectly. But in my opinion, the best soundtrack is the type that not only goes noticed but elevates the scene/moment/movie to a whole other level. The original score of Chocolat is a perfect example of how music can make everything better, even sweets!

Movie Soundtrack

Sister Act (1992)
Original Music and Adaptations by Marc Shaiman. Of all the movies that I have ever seen, I do believe that this is the one that stuck with me the most. It has original score, pop songs as well as gospel covers. The music is an essential part of the story and as a result it sticks with you. Of all the movie soundtracks I ever wanted to know (pre-youtube era) this was definitely number one. I recommend it highly!

Music by Miles Goodman
. For years, me and my brother, looked for tapes, recordings, the original album of this movie's music because there was one particular song that we just needed to get our hands on. When everyone goes to the dance, Scott goes onto the dancefloor and there was a song playing in the background and he and Boof start dancing too. This, of course, turned out ot be the first track on the album, but it took us years, literally after Youtube came into the picture that we finally found it. It was "Flesh On Fire" by James House, and if there is any song I can think of that defines my childhood (and the 80s) it is definitely this one. Every song, and the original score is a knockout on this one. (Read my review of the movie here!)

Music by Blake NeelyTears For Fears, The Cure, The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs, Buzzcocks and Echo & The Bunnymen... do I need to say more? This soundtrack is every hipsters wet dream. Not to mention, that if you did not know any of these bands and musicians, you are in for a treat. All my life, aside from the time when I still listened to the radio, my playlist was composed of artists I learned about from movies and TV shows. Of course, these big names needed to introduction to me, but these bands have a LOT of songs, and it is very fun to see which make the cut to be in the movie. Even if you do not watch this movie -- although you should -- the soundtrack should definitely be on your Spotify list. (Read my review of the movie here!)

Music by James Newton Howard. The movie has a beautiful original score too, but as you can see, that is not where I listed this album. The songs are not in the movie, but where either written for it or chosen for it. There are a lot of albums like this, and I remember listening to it for months before the movie finally came out. It perfectly encompassed the sadness and excitement of Catching Fire, and I even reread a couple of chapters in the book while listening to the tracks. Just looking at the list of artists... Coldplay, Of Monsters and Men, Sia, Christina Aguilera, Lorde, Imagine Dragons, The Weeknd... not to mention Ellie Goulding's "Mirror" which is just the most beautiful song I have ever heard on a soundtrack album. This is just a wet dream when it comes to contemporary artists. However, this is not my number one album simply because it evokes very specific feelings in me. The dread, scare and hopelessness of the movie comes with it for me, and although I sometimes do feel that way, it is not one of those albums that I can just pop in whenever. (Read my review of the movie here!)

Music by John Frizzell. A lot of the songs are covers, but it does not matter. The story is about a small band that wants to make it big and they are abused by a larger company and are elevated to fame very quickly and things fall apart once up there. Now, being a small time band, they do have a lot of cover songs, but oh-my-god... they are the best covers. I have mentioned this at the very beginning, when I talked about musical movies, that covers can help you learn about famous bands (because, in a way, a cover is a tribute); but what really makes the movie great is the original songs, and from the point of view of the story, the difference between the two is highlighted perfectly. I loved the covers and discovering the originals too. This album is a number one for me, because I can literally listen to it anytime, anywhere, and whenever. (Read my review of the movie here!)

What are some of your favorite soundtracks? I am always looking to expand my list. Funnily enough I only listen to ones after I have seen the movie, and when it comes to video games, I usually check out the scores even before playing the games. I am a big music lover, so I am always looking for more: if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments section below!

Until the next item on my list!

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