Top Five Favorite Movie Soundtracks


top 5

Music is a critical part of movies. Music creates the mood of a scene and, great care is taken into choosing the music that will be included in films. Quentin Tarantino, for example, has always claimed that music is an essential part of creating moods in his movies, even going to far as to not film the infamous scene where Uma Thurman dances (barefoot, of course, because Tarantino loves him some feet) in her living room to Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” right before she overdoses on heroin. For him, that scene would not have been right without that song. Some songs written specifically for movies have become a part of our pop culture, like songs from Grease and “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion for Titanic. The Oscars always includes categories for music, and this year Adele won an Oscar for the James Bond theme, “Skyfall.” Below, I have compiled a list of my five favorite movie soundtracks. 

5. Now and Then: A mid-nineties girl flick starring Christina Ricci, Demi Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, and Thora Birch, the main plot of the movie took place in the early 1970s and the soundtrack reflects this. Songs like “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies and “Hitchin’ a Ride” by Vanity Fare, the soundtrack is a great collection of early-70s pop music. To this day, I can’t hear many of those songs without being taken back to watching the movie with my best friends and talking about which of us resembled the characters in the movie the most (I was always Chrissy because she was also a redhead). This soundtrack makes my list because my childhood would not have been the same without this movie or this soundtrack.

now and then

4. Romeo + Juliet: Director Baz Lurhmann is known for meticulously scoring his movies, and the soundtrack for Romeo + Juliet is the movie that gave him that reputation. The movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and is a modern adaptation of the Shakespeare classic. The songs on this soundtrack, like “Talk Show Host” by Radiohead, “Whatever (I Had a Dream),” by Butthole Surfers and “Lovefool” by The Cardigans are songs that I still enjoy listening to, and “Lovefool” is still played on the radio. “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” is a beautiful song, and  Baz Lurhmann’s  even included the chorus in his song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” The Romeo + Juliet soundtrack was a huge success, reaching Number Two on the Billboard 200 charts, and according to Wikipedia, it even reached Platinum status five times in Australia. 

Romeo_+_Juliet_Soundtrack_Vol._1

3. Pulp Fiction: As I mentioned earlier, director Quentin Tarantino is another director known for the music he uses in his films, and the Pulp Fiction soundtrack is no exception. “Jungle Boogie” by Kool and the Gang and “Flowers on the Wall” by The Statler Brothers are two of my favorite songs for this album. The latter is used at a crucial point in the film, when Butch Coolidge (played by Bruce Willis) is singing to the song while on his way back to his hotel room after retrieving a sentimental watch from his apartment and sees mob boss Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) who is after him crossing the street right in front of his car. Butch Coolidge sings, “It’s good to see you” right when he locks eyes with Marcellus Wallace- a sly use of a song in a movie. The soundtrack was a commercial success, and I can’t hear any of the songs on this soundtrack without being instantly reminded of this film.

pulp fiction

2. Moulin Rouge! Baz Lurhmann makes my list again with this 2001 musical starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. This soundtrack is particularly notable for using covers of famous songs and stringing them together to make epic love song medleys, such as “Elephant Love Medley.” The only original song on the soundtrack, “Come What May,” is a beautiful love song and Ewan McGregor does a great job singing it. “Lady Marmalade,” sung by a bevy of early-00’s singers that consisted of Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Pink, and Maya, was by far the most popular song from the soundtrack, where it spend five weeks at the #1 spot of the Billboard charts and even earning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The Moulin Rouge! soundtrack ultimately reached the #3 spot on the Billboard charts in 2001.

moulin rouge!

1. O Brother Where Art Thou? When this film was released, the music featured in the film struck a deep chord in popular music. The film takes place during the Great Depression in Georgia, and thus the songs are mainly bluegrass or old gospel songs. With songs performed by artists like Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Stanley Brothers, Emmylou Harris, and Henry McClintock, the soundtrack is a veritable who’s who of bluegrass and country. Ralph Stanley of the Stanely brothers is widely known by bluegrass fans as one of the grandfathers of  banjo playing, and his voice on the song “O Death” sticks with you for days after listening to it, as he pleads for “death to spare me o’er for a couple more years.” The film released in 2000 and was directed and produced by the Coen Brothers and starred George Clooney, and is a Depression-era telling of Homer’s “The Odyssey.” The soundtrack is #1 on my list because the soundtrack stands the test of time, with songs that one never tires of hearing. It is also #1 on my list because it introduced me to the wonderful world of bluegrass music. The soundtrack won three Grammy Awards, and as of 2012, has sold over seven million copies. This is a soundtrack that I still enjoy listening to.

o+brother+where+art+thou+obrotherwhereartthou_lg1

If you like my article, you’ll love my radio show Tales from the Trail! Check it out on Thursdays 10 am- 12 pm. My co-host DJ Little K and I play country and bluegrass, and we also talk about current events. Listen live on kssu.com or listen on a smartphone with the Tune In radio app! This article has been brought to you by DJ Kally. 

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