I’m visiting my dad at the moment, & he lives for music. He grew up in Liverpool in the fifties & sixties & his first ever gig was to see the The Beatles – playing on his street in the local hall. Which is pretty amazing. And yes, my Dad is an ageing hippy.
So today, sat in his flat surrounded by proof of a lifetime love for music (I mean, look at his cd collection), I’ve been inspired to write about the best film soundtracks out there. I’m not including musicals because that would make the list about three hundred times longer so here’s a compilation of films that are set to, or revolve around really excellent music.
I don’t have to tell you that any song featured in Shrek will forever be a Shrek song. Not only is it the best film of our generation, but it has an excellent soundtrack featuring greats like I’m a Believer, Hallelujah & of course All Star by Smash Mouth. It’s been fifteen years since the film was released & still those songs are connected to that big green giant. I’m also going to have to give a special mention to the sequel, for again featuring some amazing songs but mostly for the Fairy Godmother’s rendition of I Need a Hero by Bonnie Tyler. Truly historic cinema.
This film by the Coan Brothers has a soundtrack so good they held a concert in New York City Hall to celebrate the music. Oscar Isaac stars as the title character, a struggling musician in Greenwich Village 60s & his voice is so gorgeous, with other amazing music from the era as well as performances from Carey Mulligan & Justin Timberlake. The concert held was all filmed & is available to watch on a separate DVD that is a little rarer & a little more expensive but I really can’t recommend to you enough, just to watch the team have so much fun enjoying the music that inspired them to make the film in the first place.
Though the whole soundtrack is brilliant, it’s Brie Larson as Envy Adams singing the original song Black Sheep. It’s actually such a good song I want to play it every morning when I wake up to make me feel like I can do anything. Scott Pilgrim is in his band Sex Bobom & their music (& band battles) throughout are excellent too.
This soundtrack is so excellent because it is so central to the story too. Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, a human who was taken from Earth when he was younger with only a mixtape from his mother in his possession. That tape – names Awesome Mix Volume 1 has stayed with him his whole life & guides us trough the story & it is amazing. Really brilliant way of incorporating a brilliant soundtrack into a film.
This is iconic British cinema. Richard E Curtis made the perfect Christmas film that gets me so excited for the season, & it perfectly incapsulates the mad era that was the start of the 2000s through a whole variety of different people’s lives all going through something big. It’s the soundtrack that makes it though, from The Beatles, Dido, Joni Mitchell (who presents the most heartbreaking scene of the film) & the Queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey. But the best song in this comes from Bill Nighy as ageing returning post parade, with the best Christmas song of all time: Christmas is All Around. If you don’t love it I can’t be friends with you.
My mum & I watched this on Netflix last year & sat in silence the entire way through. We loved it so much we’d ordered the cd of the soundtrack from Amazon before the credits had finished. It’s written by the amazing John Carney & has music at the absolute heart of the film which is what makes it so great – & Keira Knightly as the star has such an amazing voice that really surprised me. Hailee Steinfeld also features briefly in it showing off her pretty amazing guitar skills, & then there’s Mark Ruffalo as her father the music producer who despite his troubles, really gets music.
My last blog post was a review of this & if you read it you’ll know how much I love it. Set in the 1980s, not only does it feature amazing songs from the decade but also has a number of original songs that just blend in so seamlessly it’s hard to remember that they weren’t a real band. The film & songs were written by the same guy as Begin Again too, who also did the same for the Oscar winning 2007 film Once. He’s the guy for music related films.
Baz Luhrman directed this remake of the classic F Scott Fitzgerald book & one of the highlights of his take on the novella was the soundtrack. He took modern music from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Will.I.Am, Florence & The Machine & Beyonce & put it to the scenes of 1920s America to show how exciting & fresh the era felt to everyone at the time. It also features the amazing Young & Beautiful, written & performed by Lana Del Rey for the film which is one of my favourite songs & is just perfect for Gatsby.
I don’t care if you hate Twilight with a burning passion, you cannot deny how good the first soundtrack is. Honestly, the infamous baseball scene to Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole is enough to tell you that, but the ready of the soundtrack is a perfect mix of amazing music from not always well known artists, & even has a song that Paramore wrote specifically for the film – Decode, which is any Twilight obsessed kid’s favourite. My favourite song is Spotlight by Mute Math, but honourable mentions go to two songs written & performed by Edward himself, Robert Pattinson. How lovely.
So that’s my definitive guide to best film soundtracks. What are your favourite film soundtracks? Even if you don’t like the ones I’ve listed I reckon you should give the soundtracks a listen, because they really are just glorified playlists when you think about it. But music plays a massive part in a film, & can totally alter the feel of a story. It’s a really intricate & wonderful thing to do, & I can really see why so many people live for music just like my dad does.