No matter how many years after their release, these soundtracks have found their way onto playlist after playlist. Some are newer but hit all the right notes. Some are nearing 20 years old and still have so much life in them that I can’t bear to take them out of my rotation. And why would I? In my last blog, I covered just half of my go-to movie soundtracks. Here are the rest of the soundtracks that put a smile on my face every single time I hear them.
A movie about a record store had better have some of the best music I’m ever going to find on a soundtrack. High Fidelity does. Oh, certainly does. It doles out track after incredible track, creating a completely unskippable album in the process. Even Jack Black’s version of Marvin Gay’s Let’s Get It On is a genuine delight. From classic rock bands like The Kinks to trippy techno to the pitch-perfect piano bar rendition of Soaring and Boring by Plush’s Liam Hayes, High Fidelity is packed with outstanding and ever-playable tunes.
Faves: Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy (The Kinks), Lo Boob Oscillator (Stereolab), Oh! Sweet Nothing (Velvet Underground), I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) (Stevie Wonder)
There is nothing about the film Moonlight that is not gorgeous, so it should be no surprise that the soundtrack is equally striking. While classical music doesn’t generally make my playlists, Nicholas Britell’s compositions are dynamic, exciting, and gut-wrenching in all the right ways, even outside of the film. Add on some perfect accent songs like Hello, Stranger and you have a soundtrack that will continue to impress no matter how many times you listen.
Faves: Hello, Stranger (Barbara Lewis), Cell Therapy (Goodie Mob), Every N****r Is a Star (Boris Gardiner), Who Is You, Middle of the World, Sweet Dreams, Chef’s Special (Nicholas Britell)
The Life Aquatic
If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, you have a favorite Wes Anderson movie and a favorite Wes Anderson soundtrack. While the two are often not one in the same, no one can argue that the David Bowie-inspired, Mark Mothersbaugh composed soundtrack of The Life Aquatic is anything short of brilliant. Not only do we get some of the catchiest Casio-created beats in tracks like Ping Island, but we also get Portuguese singer Seu Jorge dominating David Bowie songs and doing them the justice they deserve. Pepper in some heavy hitters like Iggy & the Stooges for the occasional kick in the teeth and you’ve got an album worth its weight in gold.
Faves: Life On Mars? (Bowie), Gut Feeling (Devo), Rock N’ Roll Suicide (Seu Jorge), 30th Century Man (Scott Walker), Search and Destroy (Iggy & the Stooges), Ping Island/Lightning Strike (Mark Mothersbaugh)
Velvet Goldmine explores the twisted relationships, rocky beginnings, and raw passion for creating music in a time of massive cultural and personal upheaval. No single song in Velvet Goldmine exists in the background. Music is their world, their everything, and whether it’s boisterous and braggadocios like 20th Century Boy or silky and smooth like The Venus in Furs’ 2HB, the songs breathe life into every single scene.
Outside of the film, the soundtrack remains entrancing. It’s the kind of song list that gets you through a dull Saturday night with a smile on your face. Full of surprises like the vocally-altered voice of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack is a literal goldmine that pays respect to the era and the real-life singers the movie is based.
Faves: The Whole Shebang (Grant Buffalo), 20th Century Boy (Placebo), Baby’s On Fire (The Venus in Furs), Virginia Plain (Roxy Music), Needle in the Camel’s Eye (Brian Eno), Satellite of Love (Lou Reed)
The Baby Driver soundtrack and I are getting to know one another. I don’t take soundtracks lightly and I certainly won’t rush to call one a favorite without giving myself enough time to truly love it. I have a feeling that Baby Driver will make it on my favorites list at some point, and I’m already giving it plenty of time to win me over.
Long before I wrote for Bookmans, I found many of my favorite soundtracks there, usually in record form. If you’re on the lookout for a soundtrack that will let your heart soar, fill you with joy, and make you sing along to every song, stop by Bookmans and browse, browse, browse. You never know what you might find!
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