While I was trying to write an introduction to this post about some of my favorite movie soundtracks, I kept thinking about the guy from Pitch Perfect. Do you remember Anna Kendrick’s love interest in the movies? He was Ben Platt’s roommate and was really into movie soundtracks? I bet he would have plenty of opinions and input on this topic, but he’s not here right now.
I’m honestly not a movie buff. I enjoy a good movie and I’ve got plenty of opinions on the ones I see, but in the world of film you can’t count me as an expert. But I love a good soundtrack, and not just the atmospheric music or a theme song (i.e. Jaws or James Bond), but I’m talking about the curated playlist of songs that movies add to the story, like an extended music video.
There are plenty of good movies out there with excellent soundtracks. For now, I’m picking and choosing some of my favorites from recent years, but let me know in the comments what your favorite movie soundtracks are.
The first movie soundtrack I really paid attention to was the first Twilight movie. Wait, wait, before you leave the page, hear me out. Coming from an ex-Twihard (yes, that is what the fans were called) I know all the facts. I read all the books, owned the movies, hung an Edward poster on my wall, I’ve got the credibility. Listen when I tell you that the soundtrack goes hard. Supermassive Black Hole by Muse? Decode by Paramore launched them into fame. An Iron and Wine slow-dance song? You can’t tell me the music of this movie was excellent, deliciously angsty and not at all what you would expect from a movie aimed at teenage girls.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Although I only vaguely remember the plot of the book or the movie (which means that I need to experience both again), the soundtrack sticks with you. Think of indie music before “liking something before it was cool” was a trend. Infinite Playlist is full of alternative, otherworldly, pre-indie songs that are entrancing and utterly invigorating. This soundtrack evokes the feeling of being awake for almost 24 hours or staying out until 3 am, so that you reach a curious state where you’re awake but nearly sleepwalking.
The Great Gatsby
If you’re going to adapt a book into a movie, there will always be details major and minor that are left behind. But one thing that Gatsby does really well is take the essence of the roaring twenties and transpose it with a modern twist. Jay-Z produced this work, and along with Fergie, Will.I.Am, and a host of other musicians you’ll recognize, display an incredible ensemble of songs that take on Jazz and nightclub music. This soundtrack is filled with glitz, glam, and plenty of decadence.
O Brother Where Art Thou?
I’m a bit hesitant to write strongly about country or rap, because even though I enjoy music from both genres I’m not sure I could communicate the music from a place of understanding. That said, I adore bluegrass, and O Brother is filled with wonderful, classic folk music. It’s a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey in a southern, Appalachian setting. The soundtrack has plenty of gems and good road-trip music, but my favorites all have strong vocal harmonies.
Frozen gets an honorable mention because of Demi Lovato’s cover of “Let it Go” and the captivating opening number of Norwegian a capella singers. Personally, I think they could have taken a page from Moana‘s book and incorporated more traditional music into the soundtrack than they did. I think it’s smart if I cut this description short, or else I’ll burst into song.
If you could have any song in the soundtrack of your life, what would it be? Let me know in the comments!